She lived with her mom, dad, and little brother in an apartment in Queens, NY. Money was tight, so they lived very frugally. Sometimes they went on food stamps. But the girl didn't mind. She always had nice things to wear, and friends to play with, and family who loved her.
This girl eventually grew up, and became a teenager...
...who left middle school, went to a performing arts high school in Manhattan, and discovered thrift stores.
Thrifting was her passion. It was also her secret. You see, when she was growing up, thrifting wasn't something you bragged about (or blogged about.) Thrifting was an activity you did strictly out of necessity. Going to a thrift store was shameful and embarrassing - an admission of financial desperation. To visit a thrift store not only meant you were too poor for the mall, but also that you were perfectly fine wearing someone else's used clothes. These were two things teenagers generally frowned about in the nineties. So this girl kept her after-school activity hidden.
She thrifted throughout high school and college, learning how to identify vintage, when the best days to thrift were, and where the best stores could be found. She thrifted for vintage Levis, and concert tees, and leather belts, and wool plaid skirts, and seventies men's suede jackets. Thrifting was both a way for her to develop her personal sense of style and stretch her dollar. And it was fun.
Eventually, though, this girl grew up. She got married and moved to the Texas suburbs and had a few kids. She forgot about thrifting, and started buying her clothes at the mall. But something was missing. She found herself wistful for those afternoons she spent at the Goodwill. She tenderly remembered the thrill she'd had after digging out something wonderful from a thrift store rack. So she returned to the thrift stores, and hasn't looked back since.
|Blazer? Blouse? Pants? Shoes? Thrifted.|
It's hard to believe that I've been thrifting for twenty-five years. I've battled against allergies, staples impaled into my thumb (why thrift store insist on stapling price tags into clothes, I'll never know), creepy men trying to hit on me, other shoppers attempting to steal things out of my cart. There have been highs - such as the Christan Dior sweater I thrifted for $3 a few weeks ago - and lows. Blessedly, the lows are few and far between. I am addicted to the thrill of the unknown, the possibilities that exist when I enter a thrift store, and the knowledge that I'm saving hundreds of dollars a year on clothes for both myself and my family.
So what's your thrift story? When did you get started thrifting? What first brought you into a thrift store?