Although I’ve always liked the idea of scoring quality, unique pieces for less at thrift stores, I didn’t have much luck shopping them until recent years. The stores around Boston are usually sorted only by color, or item type, or not sorted at all…making it quite the hunt for items that fit. After seeing constant pieces on fellow blogger Kerry sourced from a “Savers” thrift store, I popped into one years ago and have been a fan ever since. The locations I’ve visited have been very organized (Nick usually makes a beeline for the homegoods & used books selection), with clothes actually sorted by size. And if you sign up for emails, they offer 30 – 50% off on select holidays. I was excited when the company reached out to me last month, with gift certificates to share (scroll down for giveaway details)!
On one of these 50% off sales last year, I found this dress as part of a 2-piece for $4. At first glance, it was a terrifying explosion of pastel tweed and frill, probably worn once by a little girl for Easter and tossed quickly afterwards (funny enough, half a year later I came across an identical set at a thrift store hours away, which only confirms the fleeting life of this design). After peeling off the cumbersome jacket, however, I saw a cute, petite-friendly dress similar to items I’ve been eying from mainstream retailers.
Compared to my other thrift store finds, this dress required the least amount of re-work. My computer crashed and took with it all “before” photos, but the only alteration I did was taper in the waist darts. That may not have been the best route as the fit is still a little childish, but it did enough to breathe some new life into it.
After shopping second-hand items for a while, I do want to share that one of my biggest lessons learned is to not be influenced by low prices. After finding skirt after skirt in quality materials that fit perfectly at the waist (and require just a simple hem), I realized that it was getting excessive even at ~$5 a pop. I have also bought several pieces with grand transformation plans, but lost motivation due to all the work required. My advice is to shop just like you would at any higher-priced retailer….look for items in durable materials that’d be a valuable addition to your existing wardrobe, and are worth the time and/or tailoring costs of re-work (if any) to become a perfectly-fitting garment. The nature of thrifting is a game of patience -for me, it now results in no purchases 75% of the time, but the occasional finds that do happen tend to become favorites.
Savers (U.S. store locator), also known as Value Village in Canada (Canadian store locator) has offered three $50 gift certificates for EP readers. To enter, simply provide your email in the form below (emails will be used only to contact winners), and get an extra entry by leaving a comment about your favorite pre-owned find – be it furniture, jewelry, or clothes, etc. Giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada, and the three winners will be selected at random on June 10th.
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