Monday, April 16, 2012

A Tribute to Earth Week... And a Serial Thrifter's Guide to Shopping

I have an unrelenting passion for thrift stores. And a recent cleaning of my room (or Archaeological dig, whichever one might call it) led me to the creation of this blog post.

If you see me on any given day, chances that I'm wearing a piece of thrifted clothing are 98%. In fact, I can only think of four days in March where I wore an entire outfit free of 'thrift'.

In honor of Earth Week, I am going to show you how I shop green as an extremely frugal (and college attending) lady who loves clothes.

Welcome to my thrift closet.

To start we have dresses (deepest apologies, but a lack of AA batteries for my digital camera contributed to these cell phone pictures.) (Percentages are definitely total guesstimations... I did not count all the clothes in my room, I just eyeballed it... I'm a History major, cut me a break.)

Thirteen in total, 85% of dresses I own
Least expensive: Blue and white striped with front ruffle (originally a men's shirt), $0.25
Most expensive: Olive Green hippie dress, yet to be worn, $5.00 
Favorite Find: The blue and white navy stripes (Actually a cut up men's polo worn backwards), $0.25

Then we have the skirts:
Seventeen in total, 98% of the skirts I own (I own one from Walmart)
Least expensive: Yellow Floral (once a sheet), $0.50
Most expensive skirt: Brown Floral, $4.00
Favorite Find: The green patterned skirt's past life was as an old man sweater, $0.47

Now we have blouses/shirts in general:
Eighteen in total, 75% of the shirts I own
Least expensive: Fringe tank, $0.25
Most expensive: Floral Tank, $5.00
Favorite Find: One of my favorite summer tanks, with an Native American design and fringe,was once a XXL Women's Tee)

The Sweaters
Nine in total, 90% of sweaters
Least expensive: Red and White striped pullover, $0.99
Most expensive: Purple cardigan, $4.00
Favorite Find: The red and white striped pullover came from a store Lewistown, Montana where they had a $0.99 Aisle! Needless to say, I was a big fan of this... 

How about some jackets?
Eight in total, 95% of the jackets I own
Least expensive: Brown Corduroy, $1.69
Most expensive: Leather Jacket: $10.00 
Favorite Find: $10.00 for a real leather jacket? I'll take it.
Accessories, Etc.
Scarves: Four (Only about 25% of my scarves. I'm an addict...); Belts: Eight (75% of belts owned) Clutches:Three (98%) Purse: One, but it is the only one I use, so 100%? Shoes (Only right shoes shown): Seven (About 25% as well, as I am also addicted to shoes. Who isn't? They're so magical!) 
Most expensive item in this group: The far right pair of shoes, $8.00
Least expensive item: Second scarf in from right, $0.65
Favorite Find: The second scarf in from the right is a Liberty Scarf that I bought for 65 cents, and I would never have grasped the seriousness of this situation if my extremely fashionable friend Kat had not seen the label, gasped, and then explained the fanciness of Liberty scarves to me. I had no idea. I just thought it was pretty... Later, looked it up and found out it's selling price online is $95.00. Must be some scarf...

Jewelry? Sure thing!
Nine in total, Perhaps 15% of necklaces (Again, addicted)
Least expensive and most expensive: Honestly, I'm fairly sure I paid around a dollar for each of these...
Favorite Find: Found the skeleton keyhole in a home improvement parts bin at a thrift store. 

Eight in Total, 65% of rings
Least expensive: The far left and third one in from the right were clip on earrings without matches that came in a junk jar I bought on a whim. Some friendly advice: Don't do that. Don't buy that jar of junk jewelry. There is a reason they put all of those things in there you can't quite see through the layers of packing tape. The air of mystery is quite misleading, once opened, one is bound to realize that they are now the proud owner of a large amount of rejected kid jewelry. 
Favorite Find: Marie Antoinette ring, $3.00 (I could not live without it once I laid eyes upon it's uniqueness!)

Whew! Well, if you've made it clear down here: Firstly, I'm awfully flattered; and secondly, I'm going to tell you what the point of all this was.


In college, it's easy to shop when one is sad. Or when one is lonely. Or angry. Or hungry. But mostly when one is bored.... I know that one well. But in college, it is also easy to run out of money faster than you can say: "Debit." Thus, I propose a different option for days when one is sad, lonely, hungry, angry, bored, and has the itch to shop.

Thrift stores! Guys, about 85% of my entire wardrobe is from thrift stores (this actually surprised me... I feel so frugal!) and the most I have ever spent on an item was $10.00. Thrift stores are overflowing with lovely items waiting to be bought. I won't lie, it takes some sifting and some definite disappointment, but mostly, my travels have been rewarded by an item or two that I will want to wear every day for an entire week (I haven't done this yet, tempting as it is). 

Despite the patience it might take, thrift storing is worth it. So worth it. And even if frugality is not an issue, it is also extremely eco-friendly! (Earth Week plug) The clothes you don't buy brand new, although they may be lightly used, are that many less that might end up in a landfill.

This goes for donating clothes as well. Do it! If something doesn't quite suit your tastes anymore, but you're still hanging on for that moment when you 'might' wear it (this definitely used to be my thing) think of this: Someone else might love that shirt/skirt/jacket/scarf/etc. And they may not be able to afford the real thing in stores. Donating gives people an opportunity to enjoy the nice things we hold on to out of, well, greed.

Some tips for thrift storing: I look at patterns above all else, but this is definitely a result of having a sewing machine at my disposal (I will alter anything and everything to my tastes); I also check the 'discount aisle' if a store has one. Oftentimes, something of great uniqueness or possibility gets place back here; I don't often go looking for something specific and always keep and open mind. Thrift stores are abound with possibilities, but they are definitely not your average department store. And mostly, I act like a kid on a treasure hunt. I go in with the idea that I will scour every clothes rack and shelf until I find "The Item". Don't know what it is, haven't found it yet, but I've found some neato things in the process!

Ramble Ramble Ramble. Sorry about that! This is just something I get so excited about. In summation, I suppose it sounds like a lot of work, but truly, I hope this has convinced you to give thrift storing a try!

And if you are already a thrift store adventurer, I applaud thee.

Coming to you from a room that never really got cleaned thanks to this extensive tangent, 


PS: Just to show how much I really, really do not like spending money, here is a picture of a pincushion I made out of a tea cup for fifty cents:
And here is the link for the tutorial by Sincerely, Kinsey:

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