Thrifting was never anything I was accustomed to, nor was it anything anyone in my family was accustomed to. Growing up in a conservative Asian family, using other people's used and old stuffs was generally not tolerated. So I've grew up splurging my allowance and paycheque (when I started working in ninth grade) on overly priced clothes and other stuffs. I still do now, I admit, but only for the items that are actually worth it, such as an everlasting designer sweater that will never go out of style.
I don't really remember how it happened, but one day, I just decided to take my first step into a Salvation Army. I have to admit, when I was younger (and more naive) I thought that thrifting was only for the people that were struggling economically, and I also thought that only junks, like really crappy stuffs are available in thrift stores. And boy, I was wrong. On my first trip into the Salvation Army, I found a United Colors of Benetton plaid blazer for only $7. I was overwhelmed. Before this, all my blazers costed at least $70 and they went up to $200. So naturally, I did not own a lot of blazers. From that point on, I popped into the thrift stores occassionally hoping to score up some designer items. And on another trip to the Salvation Army again, I found a Oscar de la Renta tie and a Yves Saint Laurent tie, they were both like new, and look a million times better than the ones I see at Holt Renfrew for $125 each. I got those two for $6 altogether. Like seriously, the only difference is that there is no tag on the ones I bought, but so what? I cut it off before I wear them anyways.
So over the past 3 months, I've been hitting up local thrift stores, more specifically Salvation Army and Value Village. There are not a lot of independently owned thrift stores in Vancouver. I also went to a couple antique barns but found that their prices are usually really high. It is really strange. I have this "price limit" for items in thrift stores. Under $15 for a blazer, unless it is really nice, under $10 for a shirt, under $5 for small accesories, and under $5 for other knick-knacks. That's pretty much what I buy at thrift stores. Clothes, accesories, some prints and pictures, occasional vintage suitcase and dining wares. And over all these times, I have broadened my closet a lot, I mean, a lot.
I've bought Givenchy, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene, Emanuel Ungaro, and Balmain shirts for under $10 each. Normally, these would cost over $100 at least when they are brand new, and even if I had the money, I can't buy them in Vancouver, because there are no places that sell these brands here in Vancouver, it is pathetic. I've bought blazers and jackets from Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, United Colors of Benetton, Emporio Armani, and other brands for under $15 each. My best finds are definitely the ties, I've got YSL, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Balmain, and Nina Ricci for all under $5 each. I also found a whole bunch of sweaters and cardigans of all sorts of colors and some of them are even pure cashmere, and none of them were over the price of $10. Also found some brooches and pins that are totally unique and make a bold statement for $5 each. It is really amazing how I can get these designer items that are pretty much brand new after a round of dry-cleaning for the price of probably not even ONE brand-new designer shirt which is usually around $400-$600.
However, there are some exceptions as to what I get at the thrift stores, I will never get personal products at thrift stores. Underwears and pajamas are off limits to me. Also, I am kind of afraid to purchase pants/trousers/shorts at thrift stores because I don't know if they are dirty and I can't just dry-clean them and forget that someone might've peed in it.
Recently, I bought a few pieces of framed artworks and prints from Value Village that I completely adore. I cleared one wall in my tiny room and filled that wall with frames. I am loving it so far, I found a framed artwork of sailor's knots, some shells and The Beatle's album art print. There was also this vintage black and white photograph print that I found today. I adore the "c'est la vie" in the print. I bought frames for some of my favorite Takashi Murakami prints that I've bought in Japan.
The framed sailor's knots art piece - $4.99
Framed The Beatles "Let it Be...Naked. Fly on the Wall" print - $1.99
Black and White Photography Print - $1.99
Framed artwork of shells and a poem - $1.99
A vintage plate with a gorgeous fashionable lady ala 1920s - $8.00
These are the "decor" items that I've bought lately, and I am planning to purchase more. I will also take pictures of all the garments and accesories that I've purchased all along eventually, when I stop procastinating. I am proud to say that thrifting is my new hobby. It is retail therapy, and I will not be spending too much money, therefore, I can save money, instead of splurging all my money on consumer goods like before. Also, I am helping the community and the environment, now that's like two new reasons to go shopping again.
I am sure this had been said a million times, but honestly, "A man's junk is another man's treasure." And although I am relatively new and a noob to thrifting, but I am loving it. It's totally the new cool thing to do, and I love when people shoot me stares of envy when they find out that I got my DKNY scarf for $1.99.