Friday, April 11, 2014

Thrifting... The WHY!

Tomorrow I have a HUGE Thrifting trip planned - 3 Goodwill Stores, and a St. Vincent DePaul is calling my name.

I am not an expert, but 65 pounds, 4 clothing sizes down, I consider myself a bit of an aficionado.

I have worked in finance for 8 years, and even though Seattle has a very laid back attitude about what 'Business Professional' dress is, it took me a good 6 years to build a solid work wardrobe with lots of baseline essentials and a few pop pieces. I had finally built my clothing empire into something I could add to but in a pinch I usually had just the right piece for the occasion. 

Like I said, that was 65 pounds ago. My XXL tops and size 20 bottoms quickly became obsolete as I tried desperately to keep them on my body using safety pins and belts. The reality had come, I needed new clothes. 

I purchased my first size 14 jeans and Large top at retail, Old Navy none-the-less! The bill came to $38, and it was just two items, one single outfit, without accessories. I realized at that moment we didn't have the funds to replace my entire work wardrobe. I had just bought jeans, and cheap ones, dress pants often start at $38! So, I did what any (in)sane person would do, I continued to try and wear my 18-20 and XXL clothing.

Finally, my coworkers and spouse had a "Come to Jesus" moment with me after a couple months of ill-fitting work clothes an eternity of yoga pants anywhere else.  It helped me realize (and admit) I looked awful!  I had worked so hard for my new body, but no one could tell Because I was hidden in bolts of fabric!

So, I went to Target, thinking, I could find some cheaper dress clothes there, I came up empty handed, then, Wal-Mart and didn't find anything I liked. I knew the stores I liked but I was determined NOT to pay top dollar for my wardrobe. I simply could not afford to after knowing how much I had spent to get there in the first place! It was no abnormality to drop $200 each season in Lane Bryant (back when I had to shop at Lane Bryant) and get a few classic pieces. A few meaning maybe 4. Maybe.

A little disheartened, I walked into Goodwill. I never had any luck thrifting in the past at major chains, so I wasn't very optimistic about it. I did thrift when I was bigger, but the thrift store was called "Two Big Blondes" which is a consignment shop for large ladies not your average Goodwill or Value Village.

All that aside, I made an agreement with myself I needed to come home with at least one pair of dress pants that fit me before my boss had a talk with me about my failed attempts at Business Professional! I spent 2 and a half hours in Goodwill that afternoon and walked out having paid the cashier $40. I had 4 decent fitting pairs of dress pants of varying colors and 5 tops! It was an investment of time, but I got 90% more for my money! 

I went back the next weekend, and the one after that, and the next one after that and ... In six months I had built a decent wardrobe, and all from mostly, the Tukwila Goodwill.

Prior to the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore hitting the top songs on the Billboard, thrift stores had a stigma that only “poor” people shop there. It’s simply not true, you’ll see people from all walks of life in a thrift store on any given Saturday. I used to feel bad going into a thrift store thinking I had perfectly good money in my purse (and plenty) so I shouldn’t be taking items at a lower price because I could afford retail, I was just too cheap for retail. I guess I got over that.

So, after my adventure tomorrow, I plan to show you step by step exactly how I thrift. In case, you want to give it a shot yourself. I am also open to doing on-the-thrift-training. Come with! I find it cathartic to go thrifting...  I'm really looking forward to it!

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