My thrifting obsession began when I was thirteen years old. In my home town, there were a limited number of places where you could buy clothing. There were a couple of surf and skate shops, which were out of my price range and not my style. There was a hippie store, which I wasn’t allowed to go into because my father was convinced it was a head shop. The local department store stocked clothes that were suitable only for small children and frumpy old ladies. If you were a teenager with a limited income and no means of transport (to allow you to leave town to do your shopping) there were very few options.
Throw into the mix the fact that I had recently discovered the music of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and I was obsessed with the fashion of the 60’s and 70’s. I also loved to read fashion magazines and watch films with elaborate costumes. I wasn’t content to dress like a carbon copy of all my classmates. I wanted something different, something unique. I wanted my wardrobe to be a playground, filled with interesting garments that I could use to build a range of gorgeous outfits.
These were the circumstances that my love of thrift shopping sprang from. The local thrift stores had a huge range of clothes from all kinds of eras and fashion trends. It wasn’t the kind of stuff that everyone else in town was wearing, and I loved that. Also, thrift shopping was within my thirteen-year-old budget. I could comfortably buy a new item each week if I stuck to the op-shops. And I was happy with that.
As I grew older, my love of thrifting continued. When I moved to Melbourne I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of second hand shops that were dotted all over the city. There were some that were as small and cramped as the stores back home. However there were also second-hand stores that were big enough to be department stores. Some were set up like boutiques and others were crammed to the ceiling with a hodge-podge of junk.
Now, half a lifetime after my thrifting adventures began, my love of second hand shops is still going strong. In a nutshell, here are the things I love about thrifting:
– You never know what you’re going to find in a thrift store. You might walk out with a Chanel handbag that cost $4 (true story) or you might find nothing but soiled jeans and smelly nighties.
– It gives you the opportunity to explore the fashion of different eras.
– It’s brilliant for creating a style that will set you apart from the crowd.
– A trip to the op-shop probably won’t cost more than a tenner, even if you walk away with a bag bursting with treasures.
– You can kit out your house cheaply and stylishly.
– Thrift shopping is guaranteed to bring back waves of nostalgia as you browse through the clothing and homewares. You’re always sure to see something that reminds you of an item your mother or grandmother used to own.
– It’s like a treasure hunt.
– It’s environmentally friendly.
– It gives you a chance to think outside the box and come up with new ways to wear old garments.
No matter how old I get, I’m sure that I will continue to adore trawling through second hand stores for buried treasure.
Are you a thrift shopper? Why do you love thrift shopping?
If you’d like to learn more about thrifting, I’ve compiled all my greatest tips and tricks into an e-book. Nessbow’s Guide to Second Hand Shopping is packed with advice for helping you to get more bang for your buck at the thrift store. Click here for more information.