It’s a song that has plagued our heads with that catchy hook, and whether you’re tired of it or not, “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore will be stuck in your head the rest of the day after reading this. And I will go ahead and apologize (or say “You’re welcome.”) for that. When I heard this song for the first time, my first thought — make that verbal outburst — was, “Nooo! Thrifting is now mainstream. This is the death of thrifting as we know it!” Then I got a little angry, went for a run (still angry and confused), and finally, later that day while sitting in my office, had an epiphany: maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is what we OG thrift shoppers really wanted all along: everyone shopping recycled duds and spending little of nothing doing so. So I listened to the song again, and it started to grow on me.
When I was younger, I could count on one hand the amount of people I knew who went thrifting (Note: This was before it was even called “thrifting”), and those people included my mom and grandmother. Always having a unique outfit that was virtually impossible to replicate by others gave me this feeling of exclusivity, like I had this secret wardrobe warehouse. Essentially, thrift stores back in the day felt like extensions of my bedroom closet. And the price was always right. I remember people thinking I was rich (I wasn’t) because I hardly ever wore the same thing twice. In reality, I was wearing things once or twice, giving them back to charity and thrifting new pieces.
Thinking about this made me realize why I reacted to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” with utter disdain the first time; Once the thing you’ve always loved doing — that made you feel special — becomes trendy, you yourself feel like you’re a sell-out, or maybe old news. But here’s the thing: thrift stores have endless supply, and if every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to partake in the rummaging of used clothing with you, bring them on! There’s plenty to go around. While thrifting may no longer have that exclusive feel, saving money and looking fly has to be a good thing no matter who’s doing it, right? And if you’re not finding the pieces you used to at thrift stores, you can find knock-offs of practically every vintage garment ever made online now; cheaply made most likely, but we have to take what we can get these days.
I know that in my town, it’s easy to find a stellar thrifted outfit when I’ve got “$20 in my pocket”, so I wanted to see if that’s true outside my nook in the world. I challenged Chictopians to go out and thrift an outfit for $20. Check out just how stylish you can be with chump change:
Rita Myers of A Doll Without Style
A VERY warm sweater (mostly angora, wool and acrylic) $3.50
A midi leather skirt $2.50
A bowler hat, wool $2.15
Faux leather boots $2.50
And a small vintage bag $2.99
“I am pretty sure I came well under budget even after tax. That’s why I love thrifting, it’s awesome getting great items for just a couple bucks.
And what’s even more rewarding is finding that unique vintage piece that no one else has and that tells a story.” -Rita
Sheree Morrison of It’s Not That Deep
Shirt – thrifted F21 and was $5
Pants- Vintage, $10
Bag- vintage, $5
“The reason I love thrifting is because I always find pieces that are so unique. I mainly scour for vintage more than current thrifted items. My favorite things to find (these pants are an example) are vintage pieces that look so current and modern. I love putting a modern twist on vintage pieces.” -Sheree
Gabrielle Pedriani of Look Sharp, Sconnie
Jacket: thrifted from a store named “Savers” for $4
Shoes: thrifted from the same “Savers” for $3
Pants: a Goodwill find for $5
Gloves: My grandma’s old gloves
“I love thrifting, because it’s an adventure. It’s a scavenger hunt for treasure, and I love that the result is always unpredictable. “Shopping” doesn’t describe the incredibly exciting process of digging for and finding invaluable vintage goods. The clothes have personality too – remnants of a former life – something that brand new goods lack." -Gabrielle
Ashley Randall of The Photo Gramps
Floral Shift Dress $8
Green Suede Shoes $6 (Mens Shoes)
Eel Skin Clutch $4
Men’s Watch $1.50
“I love thrifting for the hunt. Once you find that unique piece after digging it is SO rewarding. You don’t get that kind of satisfaction in a retail store where everything is laid out for you, and it’s almost as if those retailer are telling you what you should like. Thrifting really requires you to think for yourself and re-imagine pieces in more modern terms. Secondly, thrifting is a kind of shopping that strips you of any sort of expectation, because as a shopper you have no clue what you’ll find from accessories to dresses. Also it’s a great way save money, recycle and reuse!” -Ashley
My look (main photo, all vintage)
Blue Lace Cardi $1.00
1960s Flower Power Tank $1.00
Denim Color-Pocket Shorts $2.00
Straw Hat $1.00
White Sunglasses $2.00
Converse (not pictured) $2.00
…and that comes to a whopping total of $13.00!
Thrifty bitches, rejoice! What we’ve been doing for years is now cool with the masses. Now, let’s figure out how to be underground again with our duds. I’m thinking looming our own fabrics and screenprinting is in our future.
By Whitney S. Williams
Cover Photo by Whitney
Other photos courtesy of bloggers