Probably my favourite kind of sightseeing, when I travel to a new place, is going to a local flea market or exploring some shabby holes in the wall – thrift/ second-hand/ vintage stores. This kind of ‘museums of vanity fair’ are usually located in pretty nice (I might have a different perception of nice) neighborhoods, so then you know that you have found the ‘right’ place in town to hang out.
Sometimes before my trip actually starts, I carry out research about thrifting opportunities online, look for some cool pins on Pinterest, and even make a list of places to stop by! This is serious. And this is very addictive as well. I might not always be a very enjoyable partner for my buddies with whom I am traveling with, but oh well nobody wants to stay with grumpy Ausra either!
Usually, as soon as I enter the store and look over its selection, I get an instant feeling if its worth to start hunting. Quite often I leave right after I enter. Sometimes I leave after spending there a few hours. Though this does not necessarily mean I managed to find any treasures. I always get very excited about those “everything for 1€” piles, because then the joy of finding is almost equal to the joy of winning a bargain! Also, it is less painful for my wallet and my moral self. But, of course, I do have my limits, the same as I do have my standards and criteria.
So yes, I think that special thrifting skills do exist. One has to overcome certain barriers, myths and superstitions in order to develop them. Like no, with this jacket you won’t inherit bad luck …or no, wearing this hat is not contagious… Moreover, thrifting is about being able to distinguish ‘gold’ out of all the shitty stuff. Sometimes you need to dig very hard in order to find it; sometimes it lies just in front of you. But then again, maybe you would notice it and me not. Or vice versa. So, it all depends not only on the special thrifting skills but also on your own unique approach to style and fashion, the smell of trends (doesn’t really work for me), eye on quality and brands, as well as originality and conceptuality. And how visionary you are, of course!
Like consciously or not, but I first scan the whole store’s collection based on the colours, textures and catchy details. Then I approach those items that caught my attention to get a closer look at their fabric, quality, design and conceptuality. Quite often I fall in love from the very first sight!
It is often the case that I see a particular piece of garment as a great investment opportunity. I cannot imagine myself wearing it, but I know that later this dress for 1€ will pay for my bottle of Dom Pérignon or will please my girlfriend. And sometimes, I can admit, I do business out of thrifting as well. But this is usually some kind of a small-beans operation – I am not gangsta enough to turn this into a more serious ‘pay for a living’ activity.
Other tips and tricks from my list include checking out man’s section as well. I personally adore an androgynous look and over-sized effect, so my ‘specialties’ from the men section include tops like shirts, jumpers, sweaters, jackets and some accessories like hats and belts.
What is more, sometimes I buy an item just because of its fabric or some details I can rip off later, like buttons or feathers. And although I am not good at remaking clothes technically myself, my imagination can take me quite far.
Today, outfits from various holes-in-the-wall-kind-of-stores make up a large part of my wardrobe and closet space. Thrifting allows me to save money while not compromising fashion, nor kitsch. But the thrill of the art of thrifting is not just in finding treasures at delightful discounts but also in creating a unique style and statement by combining vintage and modern pieces.
So, next time you are getting ready for a new destination, check out what hidden thrifting gems this place has to offer. Or drop me a line, I am ready to come up with some recommendations!