My little sister Jessica (who just moved to Auburn for school!) has mentioned thrift store shopping several times recently, and I finally took her on the grand tour. You really have to know where to–and not to–go to make the best use of time. For example, if you visit Mission, you’ll find organization like this:
If you’re brave enough to go to Goodwill, the sections look orderly. But there is one major problem: every section is color-coordinated, NOT COORDINATED BY SIZE. Which means I have to rifle through two thousand brown sweaters to find one I could even consider wearing. Not the best of systems.
Then there’s the mecca that is Harvest Thrift:
Mmmm. Now that’s a store I could (and did) spend a few hours in, even if it’s full of smelly grandma clothes. It used to be a Steve & Barry’s, and that smell is still hanging around too.
I realized from the moment I picked Jessica up from her dorm that she and I have very different ideas of what dressing for thrift store shopping should involve. For me, it means pulling out the oldest and smelliest shirt from a previous thrift store dive, cutting out the shoulder pads, and dressing like a polka-dotted hobo. Oh, and picking up Starbucks on the way.
Okay, so I exaggerate. Except about the Starbucks. I never joke about my coffee.
But I seriously did have to take a pair of scissors to shoulder pads and spritz some Burberry Brit on the top to cover up the smell of moth balls.
I didn’t get a great shot of Jessica’s outfit, but you can probably tell that it’s significantly more sophisticated than mine. Yes, she is wearing a belted dress and crossbody bag. I don’t think that should be allowed on such outings. But because she was best-dressed in the store, she was allowed to wrinkle her nose and make condescending remarks about most of the items for sale.
Jessica and I not only wear completely different outfits to go thrifting; we try on completely different things and define “value” in completely different ways. After loading up our cart for a while, we wheeled the whole thing into a dressing room so we could make fun of each other’s choices. That’s what sisters are for, in case you weren’t aware.
So Jessica starts pulling out her picks, and she pulls out something like this and looks less like a thrifter and more like a fashion journalist.
She ended up with several outfits like this, all classic and exactly what a keen-eyed vintage shopper should be salvaging from these trips. Which only made her more pompous when I started trying on clothing.
I’m not going to lie; about a dozen photos were deleted on-camera because Jessica and I couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous I looked and how hard I tried to pull off “old lady chic.” Survey says: I cannot do it. I’m almost embarrassed to show you what I did try on–and buy. But someday I’ll host a Samantha tea party, and I’ll have the perfect vintage Jessica McClintock dress to wear to host.
Can I just say that I MISS DOWNTON ABBEY SO BADLY? It might be affecting my judgment. I’m so close to rejecting appropriate modern fashion altogether and pretending I’m in the 19th or 20th century for the rest of my life? Violet (the toddler, not the Dowager Countess) won’t know any different if I start now.
Anyway, Jessica and I both ended up with a decent amount of clothing and now that she lives in the same city as I do again, we can share clothes! The closet-sharing may not have worked out so well 5 years ago, but we’ve gotten nicer I think…
Okay, not too much nicer. When we got back from Jessica’s dorm, she pulled up my other blog posts and read them in Gossip Girl’s voice. Everything sounds stupid read like that.