Fashion bloggers this week are sharing our “views on fashion, consumption, individuality, and the importance of fashion in our lives” through Black Friday. For more info and background see my initial post. http://clothingcult.com/?p=42
Today I’m going to talk about frugal shopping and alternatives to the mall – “RECYCLING”.
Some of you may think that shopping at the Goodwill or Salvation army is only for people in desperate need of cheap clothes. The reality is that you can get some really great finds by shopping these stores if you’re willing to take the time and enjoy the shopping process.
There is such variety all in one location. If you’re crafty and can sew, you can pick up things to cheaply alter (make a jean skirt out of someone’s old pair of jeans for example. http://sewing.about.com/library/sewnews/qa/aaqa1202a.htm http://fashion.about.com/cs/doityourself/a/DIYteenjeans.htm) And for those of you who love vintage, you just might find your jackpot.
The clothes aren’t all dirty and worn out, in fact some items I have brought home look like people make have outgrown them or simply gotten tired of them – even one that still had the price tag on it and another one designer label. I have a Cynthia Rowley silk top in my closet that only cost me $2.50. I have bought every manner of name brands, some including: Ann Taylor Loft, Abercrombie and Fitch, Liz Claiborne, American Eagle, Victoria’s Secret clothing, Express and Guess to name a few. I have also found some brands I’ve never heard of that have some decent basics (I’ll admit I’m a tank top addict.) There are 5 Goodwills and one Salvation army in the town that I live in and it’s easy to make a day of shopping them.
I buy mostly tops at the thrift stores but that’s because I have a hard time finding pants that fit anywhere, even department stores. One of the downfalls is that if you find something you like but it isn’t the right size, you’re not likely to find it in a different size.
The Budget Fashionista has a good post on disinfecting thrift shop clothing that has actually created a bit of debate. http://www.thebudgetfashionista.com/tools/archives/2005/09/tbf_tool_how_to_2.php My vote is for a very thorough washing before wearing minus her recommended pine sol disinfectant, but I also won’t buy used underwear or bathing suits and shoes to me can be a bit sketchy as well. To each their own though.
On this same note is consignment shops and other second hand stores.
I don’t know of any national chains for consignment shops so what you find will be based on your area. Some are better than others and since there is usually a review process for the clothing, your overall quality can sometimes be better than what you might find at Goodwill and Salvation Army (but it depends on the consignment shop.) Usually the prices are more at consignment shops than at the Salvation Army or Goodwill but items are still really cheap in comparison to buying new.
Shopping at a consignment shop isn’t any different than shopping at any other store. How consignment shops typically work from the sellers point of view is where things are different: people bring in their gently used clothing, it is reviewed by staff there where they can reject items they don’t think they will be able to sell, some consignment stores have a minimum number of pieces they will accept to set up an account (others don’t), some require an appointment to bring in clothes and others don’t, the store catalogs the clothes that were brought in and they assign prices and put them out in their store, usually if a piece doesn’t sell after a certain amount of time it’s marked down, if it doesn’t sell after 3 months or so you can pick the clothing back up or have it donated to charity. If the clothes a person brings in sell, the seller makes a set percentage of the sale and the consignment shop takes the remaining for their commission.
This is just a general overview as policies vary from store to store some. Also what one consignment shop may refuse, another may take.
One national chain for second hand teen/young adult clothing is Plato’s Closet. http://www.platoscloset.com The difference between this and a consignment store is that they buy the clothes outright but the clothes are also reviewed before added to the store.
The consignment shops and second hand stores are a great way to not only save money as someone addicted to clothing but it’s also a way to make some money on pieces that you may be tired of, or that no longer fit.
A possible project for the week before Black Friday: go through your closet and assess what you already have, get rid of items you have definitely outgrown or haven’t worn in over a year (special occasion items may be an exception – I have a couple of outfits just in case a certain type of event comes up.) Seek out consignment stores and ask about their policies for selling items and take in clothing to sell.
Items they don’t take or that don’t sell in the long run, donate to Goodwill’s and Salvation Army’s (if you drop your items off at a store drop off area while they’re open, it counts as a charitable donation and you can get a receipt for when you file taxes.)
And one last thing I wanted to mention if you are looking of ways to get rid of items – although it doesn’t count as a tax deductible donation, you may want to check out http://www.freecycle.org. It’s a great way to “recycle” by giving away unwanted items to people who can put them to good use (you might even luck out and get something great this way too.) 🙂
Look for another great post for Black Friday Blogging tomorrow!