Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thrift store shopping

My friend and I got together today for a girls time together, and she wanted to hit a few places to look for jeans. She specifically wanted to go to two thrift stores in town.

Me personally? I go to thrift stores to look for all kinds of things. Household goods, books on occasions, sometimes clothes for the kids, but I rarely look for clothes for myself there. The reason why? I shop clearance sales hard-core. Shopping at thrift stores requires a more careful mindset than in regular stores. And you have to be willing to shop out of season.

But, I figured, I want to hang out with my friend, and it's been a LONG time since I've gone clothes shopping in a thrift store, so I may as well see what deals they have.

I was happy with the deals I found for myself. Three pair of pants for just over $10. One pair of fleece-lined pants, perfect for the cold weather that we are having right now, and a pair of light-weight canvas Capri pants for late spring and summer, plus a pair of loose canvas pants for just casual living in.

All three are household names that are easily known. Two of them have great detailing, those little things that make you happy.

Shopping at a thrift store DOES require a different mind-set. For one, you need to look at the size. Don't trust the tag that the price label says that it is. Always try it on if you can.

Next, be looking for wear. Are there any obvious stains? How do the seams look? Is there pulling or loose threads? Check the cuffs of the pants or the cuffs of sleeves/bottoms of the shirts. Look for worn places, ground in stains, etc. Is there pilling in the fabric? Some pilling is acceptable, but how much are you willing to accept? If you are buying for a small child, it may not matter, but if it is for a teen, picky girl or for yourself, this could be a deal-breaker.

Lastly, would you buy it if it wasn't such a "good deal"? Kinda like the concept of "I bought it on clearance" but only wore it twice so it isn't such a good deal. You want to be buying things that you will love, that aren't just taking up space in your closet.

For me, it is about knowing my prices and what I am willing to pay. I am one of those shoppers with a "price point" in my head for nearly everything. And today, I was happily surprised with what I found. Yeah, I will go back in the future and look for more good deals.

One other reminder, you may need to adjust (tailor) clothes from the thrift store so it fits you better. The fleece-lined pants that I purchased were a "tall" and needed hemming. But at $3.68 a pair, I can handle hemming! Sadly, the fabric was too thick for my sewing machine to handle, so I ended up doing it by hand (isn't that what movies on TV are for?), but it's a good project for the evening. And now I have nice, warm pants to put on tomorrow morning. I am excited!

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