Thrift Store Fashion Challenge

May 10, 2018

Thrift Store Shirts

So I've been talking a lot about thrift stores and my fun finds lately. Hunting for treasure and then displaying it in my home or transforming it into something new has become somewhat of a passion. I enjoy browsing and I love every square inch of my thrift store. I dig deep into each and every corner.

Well, almost every corner. True confession? I stay far, far away from the fashion.I just cannot go there. 

I know it's a little left of center. They're just used clothes, but I'm sorry. Nope. Not for me. 

Yes, I'm aware that there's a booming industry in vintage apparel and accessories. When we went away last weekend we wandered into a shop that sold nothing but high end Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Gucci. 

High End Thrift Store

I looked at a Harley Davidson t-shirt for $350 and that was the least expensive item in the place. My daughter fell in love with a Vuitton bag that cost more than the car we just bought her and the Chanel leather jacket that caught my eye was worn by a 60's movie queen. But still. It was used. 

And even if it weren't five figures, I would've passed. 

You know how I feel about used kitchen items? Well, magnify that times ten when it comes to wardrobe pieces. It's not like someone I knew had worn these clothes...and that smell. Why do all thrift store clothes have that smell? Even in the high end shop, where the saleswoman spoke with a British accent and apparently Drake (the rapper) shopped often for his girlfriend, everything had that same stale smell. 

It's not for me. 

However, when my Ten On The Tenth friends decided to share fashion finds this month, I pondered. Hmmm. Perhaps I'm being prejudice. Maybe there are some fabulous finds at the thrift store, I'm just not looking hard enough and I can surely find something for under ten dollars. So I gave it a shot. I went. I saw. I shopped. 

And then I left. Totally empty handed. Yup. 

First of all, I was shocked ~ shocked ~ at the prices. I could not believe that these items were not a dollar. Or less! I mean, this shirt, this used, worn, stretched out, no name shirt, was $11.99. Have you been to TJ Maxx or Marshall's? Everything in there is like $11.99. And it's new! 

Overpriced Thrift Store Shirt

I bought a beautiful faux Persian Lamb full length coat at Lord & Taylor a few seasons ago for fifteen bucks. Again, brand new. I'm a huge bargain shopper, just about everything in my closet was less than $11.99. 

So right off the bat I was unimpressed. 

I kept peeking, but when I realized the lowest price point in apparel was $5.99, I moved on to shoes. 

They grossed me out a little bit less and I figured I could use a pair in my garden. I saw a gorgeous pair of rubber boots that would be stunning in my yard, but they were $17.99. What?? Over priced, over valued and over my ten dollar budget. And again, they were some no name brand. Not vintage, not Hunter. 

Rain Boots

In an old post, I shared about the time I was in Marshall's and considered buying a pair for my garden and they were Ralph Lauren, well made, new and under twenty bucks. And I would actually stick my foot in those, to boot. No pun intended. 

Sensing a pattern here? 

I was running out of options so I hit the purse aisle. Right away I knew that it was a bust as well. I love Vera Bradley bags and I have a ton of them. I spotted a few, but my hopes were quickly dashed when I realized they were all faded and torn in spots. Why would I buy these? And more importantly, would I really put my own lipsticks and hairbrush in a used purse. Um...no. Don't judge. 

Used Vera Bradley Bags

Totally frustrated, I left, but  I have to admit, I felt a little validated. There wasn't anything great in those walls. Turns out I wasn't really missing out on anything. BUT...not one to give up, I decided to hit my local shop. It's smaller and a little more high end, but I still didn't have high hopes.

I was right. The clothes were still overpriced and had that smell, the purses weren't anything to write home about, the rubber boots were $20 here and the one accessory piece I actually might've used, a white umbrella, had a stain on it. 

Rubber Garden Boots

I had just about given up all hope, when I saw a very dainty pair of pearl bracelets. They were $4.00 each and then 50% off, so $4.00 for the pair. There were obviously not real, not even real good costume pieces, but finally, some success.

Pearl Bracelets

They were clean, they didn't smell and they were under budget. They were also very lightweight and the elastic was comfortably tight. And I do wear pearls, a lot. I figured I could wear them on their own or tie a ribbon around them for a little flair. 

Were they worth the money, time and gas I spent looking for them? 

Probably not, but it was a super fun experiment.

But from now on, I think I'll stay on the housewares side of the shop. Nothing smells over there. 

Are you a thrift store fashion shopper? 

Hey don't go!! It's time to hop!

Ten On The Tenth

I know my Ten On The 10th friends fared much better than I did. Go check out what they came up with and let me know what you think! 


More fashion fun?

Why I Will Never Be A Fashion Blogger

I Will Never Be A Fashion Blogger

66 comments:

  1. I am so with you on the smell!!! Of course I won't even eat at a Lubby's ( buffet) for that same reason. Too many weird smells in one area. I do hit the resale places for furniture to repaint but that's about it. I know some find the BEST stuff at resale, just not me. I'm more of a find new on sale girl too!

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    1. I say no to buffets, too. New clothes on sale and I am happy! Resale for furniture and I'm super happy, Tammy!! Sounds like we are cut from the same mold.

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  2. Now you are just describing the luck I've had too but apparently we don't go to the right stores! I'm sure you've seen some of the things others find at their thrift stores. Makes me a little green with envy. Since I haven't had good luck, I use the same method you use...I hit the stores and find the super sales!

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    1. Maybe someday our luck with change, Stacey!! In the meantime, I'm happy with a super sale!

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  3. This post is why I love the hunt. I would be in heaven in that handbag and designer shop. The pearls are adorable.

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    1. Thanks Katie! I feel that way in the housewares department! Fun, fun, fun.

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  4. Hi Kim,
    I love a good trip through Goodwill or the like but I usually am looking for unique dishes or a piece of furniture to relove. I am not a clothes shopper there. I love my TJMaxx or Marshalls for a good priced "new" top or capri's etc. I too get that some peeps find great clothes but I just am not a clothes shopper in these places. Never Never shoes!!!! With that said I did buy some great fun sparkly high heels shoes for the girls to play dress up in. They were decent and not looking to worn or smelly lol! I like your pearl bracelet. Happy Thursday.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Dress up is a different story, Kris! I used to get clothes and shoes for my classroom's dress up corner at goodwill and I did get a few pieces for Halloween there, too. It's funny, I don't remember them smelling at all though. Maybe they did, but I was younger then so it didn't bother me? I don't know, but now? No way!!

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  5. I don’t buy thrift shop clothes either. Like you said it’s stretched, stained, smells funny and is over priced. Plus it doesn’t fit right anyhow. Never even look at shoes. It’s gross and everyone walks differently thus they wear differently which isn’t good for my feet. One exception are coats. If I find a nice coat I will buy it and take to the cleaners. Other than that I’m wasting my time.

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    1. Right there with you, Barbara. I would buy a pair of boot for garden decor, but other than that, nope. And maybe a coat..but it'd have to be something super unusual and super cheap!!

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  6. Totally, completely agree! I've looked at the "fashion" racks since so many others crowd in there and seem to find good stuff, but nothing has appealed to me. I have better luck browsing the stacks of home items and miscellaneous things. Of course, they all get a good scrubbin' when I get home to keep that smell at bay! Yes, that pearl bracelet was worth it and a great find!

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    1. Thanks Kathy! The bracelets were fun and a decent price, but as far as the clothes go, nope. I'm with you, housewares are my thing!

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  7. I have bought clothes at thrift stores in the past, but for me, I just don't take the time anymore. Thrifts are so over-priced these days, it's outlandish. I agree, there's a smell. I don't mind having a jacket if I find one that's reasonable. I have bought Vera Bradley purses in stores, but they're overpriced too. I have enough VB now. My husband crowed about finding a nice pair of shoes in one for $4, so he was happy. When I go to a thrift store though, I'm not looking at clothes. I'm looking for vintage items I can resell, and those are usually overpriced too.

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    1. Florence, honestly, I am with you...everything just seems so overpriced. It's crazy.

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  8. I buy lots of thrift store clothes and have found MANY designer clothes at great prices. Savers is higher end but Monday's everything half off and Tuesday is Senior days and save 20% off. Savers I shop for dishes and linens. At soon as things come out of the bag they are put in the washing machine with 30 drops of Eucalyptous essential oil...I love thrifing and it a rush for me to see what I'll find. You don't always score every time you visit one...

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    1. I wish I could find some vintage linens like you, Cathy. I would put up with the smell for a treasure like that!!

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  9. I have an issue with thrift store clothes as well....and shoes. Our local thrift store is amazing, everything in it is $2 - my daughter bought a brand new with tags Eddie Bauer long down coat in there for $2 - whattttt???????????? See, I didn't see it because I don't even head over to the clothing section!

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    1. Two dollars?? Wow! That's the best thrift store I've ever heard of...and that coat? What a score!!!

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  10. I am 100% with you on the clothing side of a thrift store....NO THANKS!! The clothes don't fit in your normal size because they have been washed and shrunk, or are so old, the size is not current. Shoes gross me out. I have enough problem avoiding foot fungus in my own home, let alone a strangers! Jewelry I will buy and I have found some gorgeous pieces. Housewares is my sweet spot!

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    1. Perfect said, AnnMarie…I feel the exact same way. Housewares are my sweet spot, too!

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  11. Well, I have had good luck in our thrift store....AND in the bargain aisle's of regular stores, so I can't comment.
    I do love your pearl bracelets though!!
    Yes, some stores do smell, but so do the antique shops. Hubby hates the smell, but if the junque is interesting enough I don't notice :^0
    Happy hunting everyone, and blessings to you,
    J

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    1. It’s funny, J, I don’t mind the smell when it comes to things, but on clothes it’s a big no for me. I do like peeking though, always a fun way to pass the time!

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  12. I go to our local mission store off and on ...haven't been there in ages, though. The last time I was looking for a good skillet ( found it ) and in the clothes department, I once bought a nice heavy sweatshirt type thing to wear around the house, but mostly I was there to get old sheets, nurses smocks etc to use to make a rag rug lol! :) So I only went with the very cheapest stuff. This store benefits the local City Mission so they DO sell stuff but cheaply and at the end of the month it's all 50 percent off. I got a beautiful heirloom quilt there a few years ago that way....kept it here for awhile and then gave it to my oldest son :)

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    1. My girlfriend found THE BEST sweater at a thrift store and I swear it's handmade. Every time I see her in it I ask her, did someone make that for you? If I could find something like that, I might be persuaded to buy it...

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  13. I don't buy things in the clothing department at the thrift shops---but I will buy linens if I can find nice ones....and I like to look in the housewares aisle when I go. I seldom go anymore because I just don't have the time. Also, I have such good luck ordering clothes online. When I go to my daughter's house in IN we go to a couple of high-end discount houses and have found a few bargains there (all new thank you).

    I like the pearl bracelets. I wear pearls just about everyday now that I am working full-time again. Maybe it will be my "Barbara Bush" signature look by the time I die. lol

    Have a wonderful weekend, Kim! xo Diana

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    1. I am a huge pearl fan too, Diana! They are classic and elegant…even when you only pay a few bucks for them! Ha! 😉

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  14. I have never met a thrift store I didn't like except for Savers.
    They are by far the most expensive thrift store around.
    I understand your frustration!
    I feel the same way when I shop there:)

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    1. Savers is the worst, Laura, I agree. I love my teeny little mom and pop thrift shops so much better. Although I have to say, in my area, everything is expensive. Boo!

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  15. This had me at the “first giggle!”
    Not only am I NOT a fan of the smell . . .
    I cannot TOUCH . . . aisle after aisle, rack after rack, of used . . .
    And immediately I have a “no go there” stance . . .

    (I wonder why, I donate clothing often . . . with sweet clean fragrance too . . . )
    giggle, giggle . . .
    Love reading the comments . . .

    My thrifting is looking for old silver spoons . . .

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    1. That is so funny, Lynne...I really cannot touch either!! I just feel icky afterwards. Old silver spoons are way more my speed, too...

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  16. Hi Kim, oh when I was a teen I would love shopping for clothes at the thrift stores but not anymore. My teen love shopping at the thrift stores in the city with her friends. I think you did great with the bracelets. It's too bad about the VB bags. The vintage clothing stores charge way too much for clothes, shoes and bags I guess because it's so popular?
    I too love shopping for dishes, baskets and items like that at thrift stores and yard and garage sales.
    Hope you have a nice day and weekend.
    Julie xo

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    1. There must be a ton of really cool thrift stores in the city, Julie. I can see how the kids could have a ball. I didn't grow up shopping at thrift stores, but I bet it was fun. I enjoy it now, but for home decor. That's where my comfort zone is. Enjoy the weekend!! xo

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  17. I shop department store sales, outlet stores, and stores like TJMaxx for clothing. I never pay full price. I always buy new. I simply cannot bear the thought of buying used apparel, shoes, handbags or dishes (unless it is purely for decoration). I do have a sister-in-law who has been dressing herself and her family with used clothing for years. She claims she saves money but I cannot do that...ever! A co-worker purchased lots of baby clothes and toys for her assistant, a single mom, at yard sales. Nice gesture, but not my style. Maybe I'm a snob or xenophobic, but there are some things must be purchased new.

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    1. Cindy, you are singing my song! I, like you, will buy kitchen items if I can repurpose them as decor pieces, but that's where I draw the line. There's just something inside me that says no way, and I listen! New, new, new...and on sale. That's much more my style, too. Thanks for weighing in!!

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  18. Kim, if I have ever agreed with you on anything, this one thing is the best! I love the thrift stores but the clothes, I won't touch with a ten foot pole. I could smell them while you were typing and when I see someone sit down and try a pair of shoes on with no socks, I cringe! I only buy sweaters to make pumpkins..Happy Weekend..xxoJudy

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    1. I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone, Judy! Honestly, with so many bargain stores out there today, I can do better with new. And there is no “ick factor” involved!! Enjoy the weekend! xo

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  19. In the past, most of my wardrobe came from Goodwill - and my husband's, too. You wouldn't believe the bargains we got on designer clothes - Jones NY, Coldwater Creek, LL Bean, Ralph Lauren, etc. We had no problems with the clothing have "that smell", especially after I washed it and rinsed in vinegar. But now - I can't buy clothes from GW anymore. The stores smell differently than they used to. They stink! And I cannot get that smell out of the clothes. I have tried everything - hanging them outside to air out for an entire day, soaking in vinegar water then washing, washing with baking soda. Nope, the smell would still be there. There's only one Savers about 20 min away from me that I rarely go to but their clothes do not smell at all. BUT - they never have anything "good". I've checked several times and have given up. My mom and aunt both still shop at GW and Savers and find many good bargains on beautiful clothes and they say they get the smell out (from the GW) clothes. I have allergies, so maybe I'm just more sensitive to "that smell". Sooo...each to their own. As for shoes, I would never wear used shoes, but I have found brand-new ones at GW in the past. Dishes and housewares and tchotckes, I have no problem with buying used. Of course, I just put the dishes in the dishwasher before using them. I also have no problem buying purses at thrift stores if they're in good condition. I have gotten Coach purses and a Dooney & Bourke wristlet at fantastic prices.

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    1. I have allergies, too, Melanie and smells do trigger me sometimes, so maybe that's why I can't take it. I used to go to thrift stores to shop for Halloween pieces and never remember the odor being so strong. And for some reason, I can deal with it on housewares...they don't absorb it the same way. There are some shops I just can't even enter, maybe that's why I like the yard sales so much. And I believe that you found beautiful items, because I see them at my tiny shop...and I myself donate tons of clothes regularly (teenage girls don't hold on to things long), some with the tags still on them. And none of them smell~ well, at least not until they get to the store!! 😉

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  20. Kim that smell! It never goes away. I used to shop for clothes in thrift stores when I was in college. But now I prefer Marshall's too. Great prices and the clothes actually fit. I went with my girls to Forever 21 the other day and we were so disappointed by the fit of the clothing. Anyway I have gotten off topic, but you get my drift. Marshall's and TJ Maxx for me!

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    1. Oh Mary, Forever 21...I hear you! I have come to the conclusion that don't really mean that Forever part, just the 21, which I am most definitely not anymore!! Ha!

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  21. Hahaha Ok I will admit I know that smell! I have bought clothes at the thrift store I will admit. I bought one of my favorite dresses with a good label and I did pay more than I wanted to but I love it. I walk straight to the basement with the bag, toss everything into the washer tags and all. The boots??? Um no!!! Disgusting! I would never even buy them for decor in fear that I would forget where they came from and stick my foot in them!!! We have got to go thrifting together this summer!

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    1. I would love to go thrifting, Susan! Sign me up, I'm sure you know all the good secret places to shop!!

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  22. lol I’m with you Liz. That smell seems to be universal to every thirft store in the country, and for me it’s a huge turn off.

    Now, high end consignment stores are a different matter altogether, and sometimes I enjoy shopping at those. I recently bought a Calvin Klein jacket for $20 that I wore a LOT and got tons of compliments on. Yes, I might have been able to find a jacket in Marshall’s for about the same amount, but the quality wouldn’t be up to par. Given the choice between used/good quality vs new/poor quality I’ll take the former. But not shoes! Yuk!

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    1. That's true, Doreen, they don't make things like they used to. There used to be a Lord & Taylor clearance center near my home years ago (like in the 90's) and I have Jones NY and Calvin items from there that I still have today....the same brands would not hold up like that now, no matter what I paid.

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  23. I'm not big on thrift shops although I donate to them and I don't give gross stuff.

    I found the cutest tea cups to use for decor for a Mad Hatter tea party I was hosting. The cup said $4.95 which I thought was a bit much, but I really liked it. It turned out that I got 12 cups and 12 saucers for $4.95. After that, I started checking out that shop when I need old cups, teapots, etc. for flower arrangements.

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    1. I donate a lot, too, Carol...and like you, I only give them my very best. I also like the housewares section. You can find some really good deals and very unique items. The best are the 50% off days. Sales are my favorite!

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  24. Hi,
    I have found a few clothing items at Goodwill and other thrift shops. I do not usually look at clothes at thrift stores. I do enjoy looking at dishes and other items.
    Carla

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    1. Dishes are my favorite, too, Carla! 🙂

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  25. I am so relieved, Kim. I thought I was the only one who felt like that about the clothes. I did buy a sweater at Good Will a couple of years ago to make some candle holders for the holidays. It looked brand new, was a very nice brand, in my size...but, nope, could not even try it on. It was very nice to work with for my candle holders! The pearls you found are cute, and I could do something like that...maybe?

    Have a great week!
    Carol

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    1. Carol, I just can't get over the ick factor. I know that many people find great things, I guess it's just not my thing. Glad to hear I'm not alone!!

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  26. I love thrift shopping. The smell is something they spray on the clothing to sanitize it. I could smell it as soon as I walked into GW. Not sure my GW uses it anymore. Three times I bought what I thought were new brand name shoes that came unglued. No more. Who knows how long they were in someone's storage unit or garage. The heat and humidity here is awful. Ify on used clothing because you can get all sorts of diseases/skin conditions from used clothing like scabies. My favorite thing is glassware and china. Today I couldn't believe my good luck-4 cut glass salad plates. I agree, for donated items, the price is way too high and I think greed plays a big factor. Managers at GW earn six figures.
    Myrna

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    1. Glassware and dishes are my favorite, Myrna. That's what keeps me coming back. Clothes, no. And yes, I know about those very large salaries and administrative costs. I am all for charity and people deserve their salaries for hard work, but I always check out how much actually goes to charity before I donate and make my decisions to give from there...good point!

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  27. I remember when my kids were little a new thrift store in our area opened and on Mondays everything was half off. The first time I went, I couldn't believe the line outside the store before the doors were even opened. I was confused and figured it was worth it to look inside. I did notice a smell, but I enjoyed looking through the racks in hopes of finding a good deal. Now that my daughter is older, she still enjoys shopping for clothing at thrift stores, but she enjoys Old Navy and The Gap too! Ha!!

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    1. My kids are much more willing than I am to poke around the thrift store. I think it's very vogue now...but like your daughter, they're pretty happy at the mall, too!

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  28. I feel the same way. I just can't wear something from the thrift shop. You did great with the pearls though! Good call!

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    1. Thanks! It was really tough to find something. I kept wandering over to housewares. It's much more fun in that department!

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  29. I have never bought clothes at a thrift shop so I can't really state an opinion. However, I do donate (nice) clothes to a local place called Bro. Charlie's. The proceeds are used for a charitable organization. I have been in and seen some really needy-looking people buy nice clothes at very reasonable prices...like $5 or under. I feel it is a wonderful thing for these people to be able to have some nicer clothes that they might not could afford otherwise. But then again...I used to have a friend (who could afford to shop most any place) who loved to find fashion bargains at a thrift store.

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    1. I donate tons of clothes to the thrift store, too, Cheri. I have teenagers and they outgrow and lose interest in their wardrobe pieces much quicker than they wear out. I like the feeling of giving...but I often wonder if what I donate gets that smell when it enters the shop!! 😉

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  30. We have bought clothes at thrift stores and a local consignment store. I found a pair of leather paddock boots for one of my daughters for $3.98 at GW one time. I want inexpensive if its used. I buy a lot of used books, though! A local thrift store has books for .99 cents for a hardcover and .49 cents for a paperback! Yes!

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    1. Books are always a bargain and we buy a lot of them at the thrift store. They have a smell, too, but for some reason, I love it on books!!

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  31. HAHAHA!!!! This cracked me up because I rarely buy anything new, as you know. All my clothes, except for a few modern things like jeans and t-shirts, are over 70 years old and I love that smell. Isn't that funny! I'm such a weirdo! I totally agree with you on the prices... over 100 bucks for a worn dress from 1950... ugh. I blame Mad Men for that.

    xoxo

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    1. The prices were insane in that one shop I was in...yikes. Some of those items were five digits and they still had that smell. I honestly don't know where it comes from and why it's so uniform when the pieces all come from different homes, in different parts of the country and some of them are pretty new. I mean I expect it from old items, vintage and antique things, but new? It's a mystery. And wherever you get your clothes, my friend, you always wear them well. Great to see you in the comments. xoxo

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  32. I realize many people have a stigma about thrift store clothing, but I don't. Well, I don't buy shoes or handbags, but any article of clothing that can be washed? I have no problem buying it. It's funny to me how people think nothing of buying clothes off a rack in a retail store that has been tried on by who knows how many people, yet the thought of wearing an article of clothing from a thrift store is "gross". Or how about wearing something handed down from a friend or relative? Is that gross? Sorry, but I'm on the wrong side of the fence on this one. I buy a lot of used clothing and I'm darn glad hose shops are out there so I can afford to look stylish at cheap prices. I recently bought two lovely like-new articles of brand name/designer clothing at the Women's Shelter Resale Shop here where I live for $5 each. They would have cost at least 20 x that at a department store. So for $10 I had a beautiful outfit. When I lived near a TJ Maxx or Marshalls, I bought my clothes there. But it's been years since I've lived near such stores and so good quality clothing sold at a resale/thrift store has been a blessing. Oh yeah, and the clothes I buy don't smell. Having said all that, I wouldn't dream of paying more than $5 for any piece of clothing I buy at a thrift or resale shop, no matter how expensive it may have been when it was new.So my rule is no more than $5, no matter what. I refuse to support the rising cost of thrift store items. It's crazy what GW and others are charging now. Especially when as you said I can buy it new for the same price. Okay, that's it. I'm off my soapbox. Hugs.

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    1. One of my dearest friends has the greatest style and a good many of her clothes come from thrift stores and my own daughter is a vintage girl, loves anything old, preowned and did I mention old? 😉 It’s definitely not my thing, but that’s what makes the world go round. And by the way, yes, I am with you. I don’t think department stores are any better. Now I’m going to climb up on that soapbox with you and I know you’re going to think I’m really crazy, but I do wash most of my new things before I wear them. First of all, I can’t breathe around strong odors and department stores and even Marshall’s sell perfumes and the clothes come home with a fragrance and I can’t wear them. Secondly, yeah, people put them on and on and on. Ick. Hugs to you my friend, no matter what you’re wearing!! xo

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  33. Glad you didn't give up! Some thrift stores are ridiculously over-priced. I've even seen Dollar Tree items in the seasonal area priced slightly higher than they were when brand new! You know you're a bargain shopper when...right? I avoid Good Will due to high prices...although the selection is nicer. Some of the "non-chain" thrift stores do have more competitive pricing. I have noticed that those stores have an abundance of grandma-style clothes so not much clothes shopping to do there. Furniture is a steal, though!
    Always an adventure when walking thru those doors!

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    1. I didn't give up Audra, but trust me the pull of the home department was very strong. I really wanted to be over there instead!! And yes, love the little shops. I don't do big Good Will stores. I think that was my first time in a Savers!

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