Thrifting is the age-old art of the bargain. And now, thanks to hip-hop artist, Macklemore, the storied craft is finally getting some much deserved respect and attention in mainstream media. While this buzz is great for the art, it is also dangerous, as it attracts many amateurs. These first time thrifters are allowed to have fun too, but they need to understand that thrifting is an ancient art and there are golden rules and guidelines that should be followed. For them, we humbly present…
THE ART OF THE THRIFT
First off, we can begin by defining “Thrifting” as “buying something special, unique, and pre-owned at a bafflingly low price.”
In Macklemore’s song, Thrift Shop, he boasts that he has only $20 in his pocket. This is perfect! The excitement of thrifting is in the challenge of the hunt and the ridiculousness of the deal. With only $20, an experienced thrifter can walk out with six new sneakers, a Cherokee headdress, and maybe even a baby!
As a principle, if you’re ever considering a purchase and the price is under $1, buy it. The deal is worth the dollar.
Also, if there is an item you absolutely love but worry that the price is too high, don’t be afraid to haggle. Bartering and bargaining is totally acceptable in the thrifting universe. Proprietors want to sell their treasures just as much as you want to buy them and if you can offer up a reasonable price, trade, or folksy anecdote then you’ve just earned yourself a quality find.
But what should you be shopping for? Let’s make this clear: thrift shops are NOT a place you go to find mainstream designer wear. Thrift shops are a land of unique and goofy goods that could not be found anywhere else. People MUST question if your thrift shop buy is serious or a joke… But they cannot deny that it looks good.
GOOD TEESHIRT QUALITIES
- Neon colors are always good.
- Worn and faded colors are equally acceptable.
- If you are buying a plain white tee shirt, it needs an EXCELLENT graphic to make it worthwhile.
- Funny/ironic graphic tees cannot be intentionally funny. They can only be unintentionally hilarious. The original maker should never be in on the joke.
GOOD SWEATER QUALITIES
- If Bill Cosby would wear it, you should buy it.
- The more colors and the more obscure the pattern, the better.
- Crew neck sweaters get better with age. They are also enhanced by large emblems, logos, and character pictures.
- Like with funny tee shirts, ugly Christmas Sweaters cannot be intentionally ugly.
- The best time to buy Christmas sweaters is actually in January when a new supply comes back in. Not only does this give you prime picking, but it also allows you to wear your ugly treasure on chilly spring mornings, which is even more hilarious.
** Disclaimer: Macklemore raps about a “fur fox skin on your noggin” but usually headwear is not recommended. Not only could it carry lice, but in this case, it may also have rabies. If there is a find too good to pass up, however, just buy with caution and sanitize before wearing. **
Note: Thrift shops are not just for clothing. You can also buy obscure games, odd gadgets, outdated self help books, comics, VHS tapes, albums, and so much more.
Some general thrifting tips are as follows:
Vinyls are usually ground level. You must bend your back and search through a plethora of bad Christmas albums to find a good one. But when you do get a winner, it is wildly rewarding.
If a sports team no longer exists, ALWAYS BUY THEIR MECHANDISE!
Check for stains or markings. Like all antique collectables thrift buys must be in mint condition.
GIVE BACK. You must donate great goods for other hunters to find. This is just good sportsmanship.
When buying photo albums or picture frames, leave the original photos in tact. Make up a backstory for them. They are your family now.
Its offensive to alter any thrift buys. You may be tempted to cut sleeves but DON’T. Search for one that is already precut. It is out there for you. By altering a thrifted find, you are robbing another hunter of the opportunity to enjoy it in its intended form.
Three Thrifting NEVER EVERS!
1. NEVER EVER venture into the underwear section.
2. NEVER EVER venture into the flea market bathroom.
3. NEVER EVER buy food. It is most likely a poisonous trap for weeding out the most amateur and irresponsible of thrifters.
Whats your greatest thrift find?