Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Love of Thrifting

"Would you like to go to a thrift store with me?" This is the text I sneaked a peek at during chapel yesterday. How did my friend Katherine know that was exactly what I had been craving? Thrifting is one of my favourite things to do when I feel down and after our hard Sunday I had been feeling the need to drown my sorrows in other people's old clothes. 

Katherine and I scoured that Salvation army top to bottom. We systematically rummaged through every pair of weird old-lady shoes, scary prom dresses and pilled T-shirts. Not one old-fashioned secretary blouse or sequinned spaghetti strap was left unturned. 

What is the appeal of thrifting? Why am I addicted to it? Well, for one thing it is cheap. I spend less on an entire bag full of clothes than I would for a single full-price garment at a "real store" like Gap. I sometimes feel guilty about the volume of things I accumulate at thrift stores, but then I am like, "Wait, this cost like a fraction of what other folk spend on new stuff." I actually feel like a social justice activist. I mean, I am actually helping, like, so many people. For instance the young man on the poster with Down Syndrome in the changing room. By shopping I am giving him a job! I am basically the Mother Theresa of Goodwill. 

I love the creativity that goes into thrifting. You have to have a special type of vision in order to thrift well. You have to have The Eyes of Thrifting Potential. That means you can look at a strange garment with indeterminate armholes and you can see how it could potentially be awesome. You do not reject it just because you don't know if it would look as terrible on your body as it does on the rack. You try it on. People who don't have Eyes of Thrifting Potential never give stuff a chance. You also need to be able to picture the garment as it would be if you didn't happen to be wearing jeans underneath it. 

Trying things on was a bit of a struggle at the Salvation Army we visited. There aren't any stalls for trying on. There is a big mirror near the sketchy toilets. Underneath the big mirror is a plastic car and a beheaded GI Joe type doll. Katherine and I are not daunted. Katherine matter-of-factly strips down to her leggings and sports bra and begins to try things on, unperturbed by middle-aged Latino gentlemen wandering the aisles. I get down to my tank top and we begin weeding out our finds. Floaty Jane Austin top? No. Makes me look waif-ish. Extremely long, form-fitting blue dress? No. Looks bad over jeans (so much for my Eyes of Thrifting Potential). Red, pointy sling-back heels? No. Too Cruella DeVille. And so it goes until we finally narrow our choices down to a few solid items and check out, tired, but happy to have continued doing our part to save the planet. 

PS Remember this post about helping Sheldon find clothes at the thrift store? 

1 comment:

  1. I love thrifting, but I don't think I have the eye. I need to go with someone like you.