Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Dresses: A Thrift Story

While visiting The Family Jewels Vintage Clothing, I was drooling over this 1920s era blue print dress, with its adorable red trim and red buttons on the back. I even admit to going back and considered purchasing on it. The price: $109, less 10 percent off.

I didn't. Party because those cute red buttons would be impossible for me to button by myself. I could just see myself knocking on my neighbor's door asking for help in the morning.

Buttons aside, I passed for another reason. I've bought many $100 dresses in the past. I used to think I was "treating myself," worked hard and deserved nice things. But eventually, I've tired or don't fit into every $100 dress I've purchased. I've donated some to thrift shops, brought others to the clothing swaps. With almost all of them, I experienced regret over the money I spent (especially when adding it all up).

Well, I knew the thrift world would deliver more budget friendly options.

White cotton dress, $8, from Our Thrift Shop in Westwood, New Jersey, which benefits a local arts school. It has the label cut out, so I'm not sure of the brand.

Forever dress, $8, from Revived Attire, a consignment shop in Hillsdale, New Jersey.

Once you catch the thrift bug, it's almost impossible to go back to conventional retail or justify paying high prices in vintage shops or for eco-fashion. The Sierra Club's The Green Life blog had a post about $180 organic jeans. I pay $5 at my local thrift shop for jeans, and think those jeans are just as good, if not a better, choice as a shopper mindful of the environment.

I no longer get seduced by ads showing models in rustic farmhouses or lush fields. I don't buy $500 vegan coats or $200 vegan shoes because Natalie Portman or Emily Deschanel does. I don't listen to female bloggers telling me I should covet these things. I scoff at the term "must have." I don't ask relatives or my sweetheart to spend their hard earned money buying me these things for birthdays or holidays. I don't feel I'm depriving the economy, as I'm still supporting businesses like consignment and thrift shops as well as local charities. Above all, I feel no personal deprivation. I only feel empowered as my bank account and sense of financial security grows.

Find a consignment or thrift shop the ResaleShopping.com, or a charitable thrift store through TheThriftShopper.com.


ConsciouslyFrugal said...

Is $109 for a thrift aka vintage dress normal for your area? I know vintage shops charge more than thrift but HOLY HELL! That's a lot to pay for a used dress. Unless an old starlet wore it or something.

Am I just out of the loop? (Gorgeous dresses, by the way! Pair of gloves and a hat and a daper man in a suit...woohoo!)

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

In this one New York City shop, that seemed to be the going rate (sale racks had dresses for maybe $50, but they were on sale for a reason. I found one dress for as low as $25). The skirts in the earlier post were mostly $89.

I've only been in one other vintage store (now closed) and the prices were not so high. I really favor thrift store hunting. And there's always treasures from my grandmother and mother!