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Vintage/Thrift Expert

Vintage and Thrift Stores are often a hidden paradise of fashion potential. Our Vintage Fashion Expert Maddie guides our expeditions into the fashion past... and future!

Spend Some of That Holiday Cash: Lessons in Thrift Shopping

Eager to begin burning holiday money (but not too quickly!), I decided to forgo the expensive new year trends in the mall, and opted for my neighborhood Goodwill.

I was rather overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there was in that tiny building. I suppose I was unprepared for the difficulty that was to ensue in finding clothes in the proper size, since I am a mere five feet tall. Which comes to lesson number one in this anecdote: Check tags carefully; and sometimes there are no tags, just a number written in Sharpie pen on the inside of the waistband. Goodwill had what appeared to be store tags attached to all the items, bearing a price and a large number; but I do not believe that they just happened to be able to amass such a large collection of size one clothing purely through donation.

Thumbing through the racks, I was surprised to catch brands such as Calvin Klein, Gap, The North Face, Liz Claiborne and Ben Davis. Most of the clothes were in surprisingly excellent condition. Many of the whites, however, had turned into "interesting" shades of beige and off-white. I kept my distance from those. Lesson two: Is this supposed to be this color? Ask yourself that before purchasing.

Although the majority of the items there were clothes, I also found a great deal of other treasures, all of which were neatly arranged on shelves. In one corner were CD's and computer games. Remember the band Presidents of the United States of America? There was also a $2 SAT and ACT prep CD-ROM and a two disk "Jesus Christ Superstar" recording!

Other shelves displayed toys (Troll doll!), cookware, glassware, small appliances, books, and even LP's. One series of shelves bore a similar appearance to the stuffed animal aisle of Toys "R" Us. Many of the customers were families who were able to purchase yards and yards of bedding for under $20... ah, the beauty of Goodwill!

Most of the clothing that was $4 or less. Lesson three: Yes, you CAN afford to buy a whole outfit (and then some) with that lunch money! Among other items of interest, I discovered Wilson tennis rackets... the ones with wooden frames--antiques!, a very slightly cracked X-Men lunch pail, a brand new set of note cards, and $.35 claw clips. I decide to conclude my adventure with a black screen print Guess baby tee. As I was in line, I spotted a girl with a Rugrats game and a boy with a set of Blue's Clues figurines in a torn package, but still in mint condition. And how much damage did I do to my budget, you ask? $2.50... flat... no tax... :)

Love eternally,


Check these other great articles from our Vintage/Thrift Expert:

The 50's Are Back in Style!8/14/00
Style Watch Asia!6/20/00
Bohemian Babes!5/16/00
Spend Some of That Holiday Cash: Lessons in Thrift Shopping.1/04/00
Overlooked Bargains!12/20/99
Fashion Finds!12/13/99
Fashion Today!11/16/99
Take Vintage Fashion Further!11/08/99
All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait!10/11/99
Fun Cheap Fashion10/04/99

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