Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Level II Thrifting

Anyone else out there believe they have graduated to Level II Thrifting?

I noticed today on the drive home that I am following a different format, using more focused decision making and coming home with some fantastic pieces.  This was not true two years ago when I started my quest to overhaul my closet.

In fact, I realized today that I am upgrading many of the items I brought home two years ago.  There is a bit of guilt attached to this.......I wanted those items to work.  I was optimistic.  I was excited about replacing my overload of black clothes with bright, cheery items.  In my effort to replace items, for instance, if I saw a pair of navy or brown leather shoes in my size I just bought them.  I needed them.  And I believe, most likely, I did.  (Well, if we can call any of our clothing "needed"!)  When I packed up the black to sell on ebay and donate, I was suddenly without my regular workhorse items such as flats, sandals, low heel boots, knit pants, cardigans, jackets.  Everything fit into the black capsule wardrobe - an idea I had settled for because I thought it must be the easiest way to reach my goal of a stressless closet.

Many American women have bought into this line of logic sold to us by the fast fashion industry.....if I just stuck with black as my basic and kept buying eventually I would have a hard-working closet.  It never happened.  In fact, the more money I spent the worse it got.  So overnight, I put myself in the positiion of needing to thrift weekly for replacement items and I very happy to find them in abundance at cheap prices.

Now, two years later - I find that I am upgrading many of these items.  Today I picked up a pair of Nine West nearly new leather kitten heels with some detailing.  Using "one in - one out" they will replace a pair of cheaper brand shoes plain shoes I purchased to fill in the gap until I could find a special pair.  I've went through several jean jackets.  Today, I found "the one" for $5.  The rest now will be listed on ebay where they will be resold for at least as much as I gave for them.  Some were too constricting, some I had problems with the hue of the denim and my dresses, problems with sleeve lengths, the hem lengths, the fit or non-fit at the waistline.  I bought five I can think of in this process of elimination; learning each time to closer define what I needed.  And today I have it!

All in all, I don't see that there was any other way to arrive at this point without going through the beginning levels of thrifting.  At first, its exciting to see so many cute things.  I filled my cart and hoped for the best (replaying my same pattern with mall shopping only without the credit card swiping).  As I grew, I was able to pass up cute things - knowing something similar or better would be there next time; knowing whether something was common or unusual; knowing what would hand wash well and what was too risky; knowing what brand names I am attracted to on the hanger (Talbots, Christopher Banks, Chicos) and then rarely actually wear them once I bring them home; being unafraid to bring home a size XL or 16 blouse and cut out the tag rather than feel intimidated by the size written on it.

I learned that I should assume EVERYTHING will need to be altered.  The fashion blogging world taught me that - that every makeover show, every movie, every actress, every model is supported by full-time alterations staff.  No piece of clothing I see on TV or at the movies is worn directly off the rack.  In fact, with busty girls, tall girls - sometimes the wardrobe people buy two dresses exactly alike so that the seamstresses can adapt them into one dress that fits perfectly.  This fact created a huge shift in my thinking.  I think it would help women everywhere.  It seems so counter-intuitive - that nothing will ever fit me?  Yet, it's very similar to the message the fashion bloggers repeat over and's not you, it's not your body.....blame the clothes because they are not made to fit your perfect body!

I find that the things I actually wear either

1) by some great fluke or dip of luck fit me perfectly (very, very rare and I hang onto no matter how old or outdated)   or

2) they are the starting point and have been altered to fit me.

Less is more!  It feels good to be graduated to Level II Thrifting!  Tell me about your thrifting evolution!


Anonymous said...

You know, I felt like I hit my saturation point with thrifting in April or May of this year. I still thrifted but my purpose was shifting--I'd see things that I knew would look great on other bloggers and I began to build eBay inventory. Very, very few of the items I've purchased in recent months have been for myself...but those I have purchased have been on my very short list of things I'm actually looking for, which is less than 5 items.

Thrift finds that fit perfectly are very rare. I wish I had your sewing skills to make the alterations.

Kitty said...

Yes, it seems like you and I were on about the same learning curve. I enjoyed your posts as you found things I hadn't noticed yet.

I'm tapering the legs of about eight pair of pants right now - not sure why except pants NEVER fit me right and I get tired of watching them get dusty on the hanger. Hopefully, when they fit - I'll actually want to wear them.

So, if you could sew like I can......what would you do? Would you just sew for yourself? Would you upcycle? Sew custom designed OOAK items? I'd like to hear your thoughts after all your experience buying and selling.

myedit said...

Yay! Upgrading your thrifting is a good thing!
I just wanted to thank you for your insightful comment on my shopaholic post. I am definitely not done thrifting, there are too many beautiful things out there... I just need to stop being so rabid about the quest for more. And yes!!! I totally agree that cars depreciate faster than clothes! If I could keep driving my beat up truck longer, I would... but it doesn't even have an up to date sticker on the license anymore. ah!!!! Our secret!
Anyways, your comment was really flattering and gave me some things to think about.
Thank you so much!