My love for That Mitchell and Webb Look has been well documented here on the blog, and over the years this BBC show has done some great bits about marketing, feminism, and style. I have mixed feelings about the content of the sketch itself, but love that they titled their parody of fashion makeover TV shows, “How What Not to Look Like.”
Because, after all, “What Not to Wear” is an awkward phrase. AWKWARD, I say! So please consider the title of this post in the same fun-poking vein as Messrs Mitchell and Webb.
And now, on with the show!
Thrifting itself is tiring. There’s searching through the endless racks, hauling around potential purchases, trying them on, making decisions, considering your budget. Just about any type of shopping will make you a bit tired, but I feel like thrifting can be more sapping than most. Do not thrift when you’re tired.
Department stores, mall stores, and online shops are all relatively neat, organized, and orderly places to browse. (Most of them, anyway.) Thrift stores are generally large and echo-y. You won’t find size runs of anything. If you’re already overwhelmed by work, worry, stress, or virtually anything in your life, throwing yourself into an overwhelming shopping environment is just going to add to your burden. Do not thrift when you’re overwhelmed.
In need of something very specific
I’m a HUGE fan of thrifting for trends, basics, and wardrobe frosting. But turning to thrift stores when you need a pair of high-waisted, skinny-fit, size 00 pants is ill-advised. Heading to Goodwill to find a lined red floral miniskirt will likely frustrate you. I highly recommend online shopping if you’re in search of an item that has more than, say, two non-negotiable criteria. Do not thrift when you are in need of something very specific.
On a timeline
Popping into a thrift store for five minutes is a good idea if you’re just killing time between other activities and don’t actually plan to shop. It’ll work if you visit that same thrift store regularly, know where everything is, and can spot new inventory right away. But most thrift shopping is time-consuming and requires careful attention. If you’re in a shopping mood and swing by a secondhand store, but only have 20 minutes before you need to drive across town for a meeting, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Do not thrift when you’re on a timeline.
So when SHOULD you thrift? Ideally, when you’re relatively relaxed and feeling open to whatever the Thrift Goddesses have to offer up. When you’ve got at least an hour to browse and try on. When you’re feeling a little more creative than pragmatic, and when the bounty of the thrift store strikes you as exciting and invigorating. Actually, any two of these factors together should make for good thrifting conditions. Believe me, I encourage any and everyone to thrift as often as they can for basics and un-basics alike! But it’s important to know how NOT to thrift. Because a string of bad thrifting experiences under bad conditions can turn you off the practice for good.
- Power Thrifting
- Your Thrifting Checklist
- Yet More Reasons to Thrift
- All Already Pretty Posts on Thrifting
Have you ever thrifted when you were tired, overwhelmed, seeking a specific item, or on a tight timeline? Any luck? Any other times you’d suggest steering clear of the thrift stores? When do you think are the BEST times to thrift? Or do you feel like you can thrift successfully regardless of conditions? (Some certainly can!)
Image courtesy ilovememphis.