Thrift Myths Debunked

Secondhand Savvy

|| by Robin Martin, ||

Hello and welcome!  I am so happy to be collaborating with Denver Style Magazine in my new series--Secondhand Savvy!   I hope to share with you my love for thrifting in various posts with tips and tricks relating to the same.  My name is Robin and I have run the style blog Frannie Pantz for nearly five years.  It is my most treasured hobby.
I love clothes (obvi).  And I love shopping . . . for clothes.  But I have four kids.  And a limited budget for clothing shopping.  So I thrift.  If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I thrift at least half of my clothes (the other half I can thank clearance racks).  A lot of people are put off of thrifting because they have a preconceived notion of what thrifting actually is.   I have taken the liberty of debunking the Top Five Thrift Myths.
Thrift stores are where people put clothes that they don't want.  So why would anyone else want them? 
Here's the deal: it is inevitable that you will come across some questionable material when you thrift.  You're bound to come across the stained, the ragged, the ripped.  But that is, by far, the minority.  Thrift stores sift through their intake just like any other store and there are a lot of pieces that don't make the salesfloor.  Usually, those that are too far gone never see the bright florescent light of the clothes racks and instead get sent to another warehouse to be used otherwise or sent somewhere else.  And as far as "unwanted" goes--it is the age old adage of "one woman's trash is another one's treasure".  Vintage pieces, designer pieces, on trend pieces, work pieces--I've found them all at thrift stores.  In fact, the Calvin Klein skirt and Ralph Lauren booties in this outfit--thrifted!
Thrift stores are overwhelming and disorganized.  I will never find anything in there!
Again, there's no denying that there will be some digging involved.  It is not as mind-droning as a department store where you can directly hone in location of a grey tutleneck or floral print dress.  I personally find that part of the fun!  But for beginners, I would like to clear something up--there is no successful thrift store that does not have some element of organization involved.  Typically, clothing is divided three-fold, in fact.  First, it is divided by type (shirt, dress, skirt, pants, etc.) and then even sub-types (short sleeved, long sleeved, etc.).  Then, of course, they are divided by sizes--usually the typical small, medium, large.  Then, often times, they are divided by color as well.  Think about it--would any thrift store that brings in a decent amount of traffic be able to sustain in our present immediate gratification society without some form of organization?  I don't think so.
Thrift stores are bad for the environment.  They send so much waste to landfills!
I am always totally surprised to hear this.  Of course, there are going to be pieces that don't get bought and have to meet their doom somewhere other than a closet.  But this is true for department stores just as much as thrift stores.  Department stores don't always get this bad rep because they give their unwanted clothes to the thrift stores (I will be covering thrift tips in my next Denver Style Magazine post, but here's a preview--talk to major chain thrift stores such as Goodwill about when they get their shipments from department stores like Target).  Items can stay on the sales floor for quite a while before being circulated to the "ok, no one is going to buy this" pile.  From that point, they are often shipped to another warehouse where people, if they chose, can sift through them yet again.  From there, they are often recycled and/or sent to other countries as donations.
Thrift stores are often non-profit and benefit various organizations.  For example, ARC benefits adults with special needs, Goodwill helps veterans, disabled, seniors, youth and people with criminal backgrounds find jobs.  And you would be hard pressed to find a non-chain thrift store that was not run by a family that would be happy to take your business!  Thrifting is a form of recycling and also a way to promote sales and production of clothing here in the U.S.
Thrift stores are only for costumes or theme parties.  There is nothing in style there.
Well, it is true.  There is no better place for costume or theme party shopping than at the thrift store (as someone who used to be queen of theme parties, I should know).  But aside from the amazing vintage you can score via thrift stores, there are plenty of on trend pieces just waiting for you to give them a good home.  And there have been several times in which I have seriously put a mental note in my mind to look for a piece that POOF! I end up finding at the thrift store (i.e. the plaid pants I scored and wore in Monday's post).  Not to mention--you know what they say about fashion--it always comes back full circle.  I cannot tell you how many pairs of culottes I have scored from the legit 80s and 70s in thrift stores lately that are now totally on trend.
Thrift stores are fine for funky clothes, but I need stuff for my office job.  And I'm not a fourth grade math teacher.

While you will be sure to run across the denim jumper with sewn on cats and high-waisted mom cords, you will also see that the majority of clothes could very well be incorporated into an office job.  I have held an office job (in a law office no less!) for 7 years and I have sported more than my fair share of thrift finds to the office.  Office dresses, button down blouses, blazers, dress pants, pencil skirts, heels, bags--this and more I guar-an-tee you can find at the thrift store.

Red and Navy Striped Shirt-Target
Cropped Plaid Jacket-Forever 21, thrifted
Skirt-Calvin Klein, thrifted
Booties-Ralph Lauren, thrifted