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Mar 18, 2013

A Change of Heart + Thoughts on Thrifting



A change of HEART -- get it?

Friends, I thought about it, I really did, and I have decided against metallic fabric for the time being.  A metallic linen suit would be fabulous, no doubt, and perfect if I had a big event coming up -- say, the Grammy's (that's a joke).  I really could use a nice suit, however, and if I'm going to go to all that trouble, I want it to be something I can wear on a regular basis.

I picked up some more swatches today, and I find myself leaning toward this:



It's a cotton-mohair blend -- yes, you read that right.  It's lightweight, has a gorgeous sheen (not to be confused with the shine of worn pants) and ten times more practical than metallic linen -- no, make that twenty times.

If we were talking a metallic shift dress, well, you could whip that up in a day or two.  A men's suit is a commitment.  Also, I made my navy blazer in linen, so I'd like to try something different.  I hope you metallic fans aren't too disappointed.  My life is simply not as glamorous as many of you seem to think.

Case in point, I went on a shopping spree today...at my neighborhood Goodwill.  I think Goodwill's prices to often too high for used clothing, but they do have consistently higher quality merchandise than my nearest Salvation Army, at least for menswear.  And of course, compared to retail, it's still cheap (unless you're buying used H&M, which at Goodwill is priced nearly the same as brand new).

I got this lovely gray wool polo sweater with a Claiborne label (which I think means J.C. Penney) that is classic and as good as new.  It irks me to pay $7.99 for it (it would be $3.99 at the Salvation Army), but it's a whole lot cheaper than it would be in a store, right?



I also got this deep green cotton-cashmere blend crew neck sweater from J. Crew -- same price.



And finally, a pale yellow American Apparel tee shirt with the original label still attached.  Believe it or not, this cost more than the sweaters, but still less than the original $18 asking price.  At the Salvation Army, they don't distinguish between good quality and bad quality -- the prices are the same across the board; Goodwill charges more for things in better condition or with fancier labels.



Sweaters and tee shirts are still things I purchase since I don't knit and I really don't enjoy sewing my own tees, though I have with mixed success.

Maybe it's the recession, maybe it's a few decades' worth of fast fashion, maybe it's the complete loss of stigma attached to second-hand clothing, but thrifting isn't what it used to be and I've been doing it for three decades.  When I started, you'd routinely find stuff from the Fifties and Sixties -- well made clothes with a lot of life in them.  Today, most of the stuff I see was never very good to begin with.  Of course, there are exceptions, and I still stumble upon really nice things at good prices, but there's much, much less quality: very few 100% wool sweaters, very little that's made in the USA (or has a union label), and nothing that pre-dates the Eighties.  There is faded denim for days, however.  And fleece, fleece, fleece!

So that was my spree.

Readers, how's the thrifting in your neck of the woods?  Are prices good?  Is there decent selection?

Are you aware of changes in the kind of stuff available today as opposed to the past?

Whatever happened to great thrifting?


69 comments:

  1. I agree Peter. Here in Brisbane, you'd think you were buying new by the prices in some places. Not only clothing but sometimes you see crockery that is $2 in Kmart and the thrift shops have it for $3 ... really? who prices this stuff. Even clothing - Kmart can have some super cheap t-shirts but they'll be more expensive in the thrift shops. You can get some good quality, more expensive brands for a good price at times (my sister is a champion at this - she gets lots of labels of really expensive stuff really cheap). I think it is just inconsistent now. Oh and when people balk when my sister tells them stuff is 2nd hand - she says "wash it once and it's 2nd hand!"

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  2. I cruise at least 5 thrift stores per day.. most of the time looking for sewing machines. But when I shop for clothing, I am disgusted at the prices these days! We have all branches (Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, Goodwill) and a few private, for-profit stores. There is a chain of thrifts here in Columbus that is 100% for profit. They solicit donations by saying they are "kidney foundation" but I found out only $1 of every box or bag donated goes to the KF. And their prices are ridiculous. Find a good, name brand pair of shoes, you will find $25 price tag. I have one favorite thrift for clothing purchases (private for profit but the best best prices ever!) and they never let me down... especially now that I'm rebuilding my business wardrobe from scratch.

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    1. Oh, I wish I had read this a few weeks ago!

      The KF came to my door (not my neighbors) - said I was on the list, and I had a pile of donations and they got it. UGH!

      Is "Ohio Thrift" your "never let me down" place? Mine too! Just bought a great cotton shirt for 99 cents (it's orange, and has triple stitched seams).

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  3. I've noticed the same thing in the Denton TX area. Our Goodwill doesn't distinguish between good/bad either. I got a brand new Pendleton wool jacket with velvet collar for $3 a few years ago, and numerous lovely garments, but the last couple of years the place is full of faded Walmart cast offs. Vintage? Almost never any more. I wonder if the economy sent people in who never shopped thrift before. Perhaps the economy forces people to hang on to what they have.

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  4. Thrift stores here are ridiculously expensive here in LA. I searched for weeks for an affordable toaster oven I could melt plastic in. Wasn't willing to pay $25 for some uncleaned dirty mess. The Sally Armies even have special boutiques inside them where you can buy a nice rusty nonworking off brand sewing machine for $125

    Don't get me started on Rose Bowl prices. Not going to go there though the $7.50 ATM fee is a hint
    is a hint

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  5. What happened to great thrifting? Fast fashion happened! If people aren't buying high-quality clothes, then they also aren't donating high-quality clothes. Also, it's now easy enough to sell barley used designer dress on eBay and make some of your money back.

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    1. You said it! It's all crap because people keep buying crap wearing it once and tossing it or donating it. Fast fashion is the menace here, also doesn't it irk you when the second hand fast fashion is almost price matched to it's retail cost. Yikes!

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  6. The thrifting were I live is HORRIBLE. I live in a small town and my local thrift store is embarrassing. I feel bad for the people that have to shop there by necessity and where I live there are plenty of people that do. JUNK. I think a lot of good stuff gets sold on etsy now at crazy prices or in special vintage type stores.

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  7. Here in Minniapolis area sometimes you get lucky, I found what looked like a 50's era swing type coat with a fake fur collar, for a good price (don't remember, but I will rarely pay more than 10 dollars, and I found 2 1920 era singer sewing machines for 10 dollars, just need a bit of work and they will run.

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    1. yup, sometime we still find good stuff here, like awesome irons and vintage sewing machines but I haven't seen a 100% wool sweater for ages.

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  8. You know I think it's gone down seriously for over a decade - there's just nothing well made that last longer than a couple of years, so by the time it gets to the thrift cycle, it's either trash or it's not worth $7.99, $3.99 or even $.99. And I love you're idea of doing that cashmere suit. I know it's boring now, but talk about a bargain...you will wear it for years and years to come - you can take it and jazz it up with this or that wild accessory and while the other trendy stuff goes by the by, you'll have the suit way longer - count up how much that will save you. A LOT! To me that's the real thrift buy here.

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  9. Agree about Goodwill pricing...still, we find good stuff here in Cali..(Sacramento). You gotta dig, but it is there. The wool sweater glut is due to felting maniacs...I have bought my share of 100% wool sweaters to felt for school projects, (am a Handwork teacher at a Waldorf school) but peeps in the felting biz buy it all up and sell it online TO CUT UP AND FELT, and not to wear and many a vintage piece goes this way....

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  10. We're lucky in San Francisco, although the prices at Goodwill are getting higher...people in SF still wear real clothing. I can get silk blouses to cut up, beautiful woolen garments...yes, we do have areas at the thrift store labeled "vintage", meaning higher prices...but still cheap.
    Things may change, there is now a Target in San Francisco, but no Walmart.

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    1. I was visiting a friend in SF last week. He was on the hunt for a few specific items so we hit a some of the consignment shops on Fillmore and then went to a couple of Goodwill stores. My, my! The prices have certainly gone up over the past few years. I expected the consigment shops to be higher, but shoes (rather worn, at that) were $28-$35 at Goodwill. There wasn't much in the way of wool coats or sweaters and they were around $10-$15. Shirts, even the ones with scorch marks on the collars or cuffs were $5.00-$8.00.

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    2. Fillmore is now Chic!
      ...but in the Mission, prices are still low.

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    3. Thanks! Have to tell my friend.

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  11. You really have to search and scrounge around in Adelaide, Aus for some good finds.. I think this might be in Aus everywhere but sometimes the prices are nuts.. they know Op shops are the place to be at now, they have become popular and so they put the prices up.. I mean sometimes you can get cheaper same quality items brand new! It's crazy! But I still love it:)
    The fabric finds are my favourite

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  12. I'm a lifelong New Yorker and have never, ever been able to get into thrifting because it's so! damn! expensive! I usually just wait for the crazycakes sales at Bloomingdale's or Saks or stalk the well-made items at Anthropologie or J. Crew, because that almost always costs less than thrifting. I'm always surprised when you emerge from a day at the flea with nice, well-priced things.

    I volunteered for the Housing Works thrift shops and I would routinely have customers ask me to negotiate with the manager for them because they were absolutely appalled by the prices. (There were books that would cost less new on Amazon than they did used and damaged in the store.) The Cure thrift store on 12th had a neon yellow, acrylic-blend 80's sweater with, get this, a gigantic frickin' LAMB on the chest priced at $55. A 100% wool sweater was almost $100. I could literally just wait for a sale at White and Warren and get a good-quality cashmere sweater in the same price range.

    I get that most thrift stores are connected to charities of some sort, but it would be much more efficient for me to just buy a new sweater at J. Crew and directly donate the difference.

    I collect (and use) vintage typewriters, so I won't even touch on how hipsters and jewelry-makers (typewriter murderers) have ruined that entire market.

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    Replies
    1. OMG! I was in the St. Vincent de Paul store and a couple ahead of me in line asked for old typewriters and he said he makes stuff out of them. I wanted to go all stealth ninja killa' on his ass.

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  13. We live in a working class neighbourhood, with a wealthy area close by. We are very grateful to donors, who give generously to charity shops, where all goes into chairty projects. We still find top quality, at low prices. Please don't get rid of stashes, as good fabric sare hard to find now. Most of my fabrics, from charity shops, is vintage. Just love it. Clothes that don't fit or we don't want, we re-donate, cut up, or give to grateful people. We don't care about criticism, we enjoy our days. Peter, take the bus here and have a shopping spree with us. Cathie, near Montreal....

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  14. SeamsterEast@aol.comMarch 18, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    eBay. Right this minute there are 2,000+ silk blouses, Regular, Size 8, on eBay. Last fall I bought four such blouses off eBay for a friend of mine. Lowest price was $12, highest $22, all including shipping. For myself I bought an Irish wool Fisherman's Knit sweater for $22, including shipping. All delivered looking virtually new.

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  15. Oh, the good old days of the 80's, when I bought so much of my wardrobe from the Salvation Army and The Mission Thrift Store! It used to be so easy to find good vintage stuff and even great quality items at bargain basement prices. But, just like with estate and garage sales, finding good vintage is difficult in the thrift shops - a lot of them have learned how to look for the good stuff and sell it on ebay to get a bigger profit. Case in point: the Washington DC Goodwill does e-commerce via Amazon, half.com and ebay. I haven't been out thrifting in a while because it takes time and I generally have at least 1 child with me and it's almost always the youngest, which means I can't spend a lot of time digging. My brother, otoh, lives in Omaha and his wardrobe continues to be made up of mostly Goodwill and Salvation Army store finds. He claims it's the only place he can find shirts with French cuffs. He also found a fabulous pair of suede Gucci loafers a year or so ago. But he has no kids, so he can spend the time digging and his income is small enough that he really has to shop 2nd hand.

    What I don't get is how so many people find fabric and patterns at their local thrift stores. I never see either. I must be living in the wrong place.

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    1. A charity thrift store near me uses donated patterns as wrapping paper for glassware and dishes! They didn't even try to sell the patterns--even the ones from the '50s and '60s.

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    2. Oh, the humanity!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    3. There's only one organization in my city that sells vintage fabric and patterns the rest who knows what they do with them...using them as wrapping paper...blasphemy!

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  16. It seems so strange to me how all Goodwill stores are not run the same. I live in VA and individual clothing items are not priced. All shirts are #3.75, T-shirts $2.00, Jeans $4.50, Dresses $4.50, Jackets $4.00, 2 piece suits cost $8.00 and 3 piece cost $12.00. Coats cost $8.00 and shoes $3.00. Yes, I have the prices memorized, lol. It doesn't matter if it is K-mart brand or if it came from Bergdorf Goodman, it gets the same price tag. The only exception seems to be evening dresses and wedding gowns which get their own price. Granted sometimes there is nothing good in the store, but sometimes there is. I have one Goodwill where I find a vintage coat almost every time I go. I have bought 3 vintage (60's) wool coats there for a total of $24.00, including one with a mink collar. However, I line in a semi-rural area with an aging population. We're not exactly overrun with hipsters chasing down grandpa sweaters, but vintage, especially things like cotton dresses, is getting harder and harder to find.

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  17. Here's a secret: thrifting in small towns is MUCH BETTER than thrifting in big cities! I hardly ever find any cool stuff when I look around big city thrift shops; i.e Toronto, but go to the thrift shops in smaller towns and PLENTY of COOL stuff can be found! So, try hitting the thrift shops in NY's outlying areas, Peter!

    And, the reason you don't find any good wool sweaters these days is because the felters are snatching them all up. Better learn to KNIT!

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    1. I agree with Sufiya. Also... I travel to n'hoods where the local population doesn't necessarily have the same esthetic preferences, if you follow. Most national thrift chains have clearing houses, which send the goods collected in the region all over, not just to shops in that immediate area. Thus, you can find shops where tacky, cheaply made recent-vintage clothing is desirable and the stuff we want gets left behind.

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  18. eBay sellers and vintage dealers buy all the good stuff. I'm serious! I see the same people every time. Also, Vogue just published an article about how to emulate the latest Yves St. Laurent collection at a thrift store. Hey Vogue, why don't you leave the thrifting for people who need to shop there?

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  19. If you ever make it across the border, Value Village (or Village des Valeurs in Quebec) are my thrift store choices. Almost every time I'm there I find great clothing, linens or patterns, all for really good prices.

    Like you, I started thrift store shopping back in the '70s, and I remember digging through bins for full-skirted '50s dresses and beaded mohair cardigans for <$1. Those days are loooong gone.

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  20. The quality is down and the prices are up. In my closest store they even have a 'vintage/antique' section where the prices are outrageous. Last example was a rusted old Singer treadle that looked like it had been outside for years - $200! No amount of elbow grease, oiling or even re purposing justified that price. I think Charity stores have forgotten that they have a twofold purpose: One is of course to raise money for good causes, but the other is to provide a discount shopping alternative for the very people they seek to help.

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  21. I agree. It's not just clothing either - used furniture is often very pricey if it's of any quality. I blame eBay and etsy and the like. Sellers can look up the going rate online

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  22. I have also been thrifting for the last couple of decades, I love the thrill of discovering a bargain, I particularly look out for cashmere and silk knitwear. I have noticed a big decline in donations and turnaround on my travels around the shops just lately. Here in the UK the recession, and Ebay has killed the Charity Shops and the good old jumble sales, which I used to love rummaging in, sadly disappeared years ago. As Charity/thrift stores have become more acceptable on our high streets, they have changed there appearance making them more like boutiques, and in the process raising their prices, also in some of the shops if they have a good label, and Im talking Boden not designer they put an few extra £'s on top of normal prices.

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  23. Same thing is the case in the UK. Charity shops (our thrift stores) are full of fast fashion items - Primark, H&M, supermarket clothing - and it is rare to find proper quality stuff without spending a lot of time rummaging. Same applies for crockery and furniture. I lived in Oxford for a few years and the charity shops there are great, because wealthy people donate good stuff. I now live in Hull, a much poorer city, and the items are generally of poorer quality, even though there are dozens of different charity shops!

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  24. #1 - Some people have wa-a-a-ay too much time
    #2 - Some people get a song stuck in their head and can't get it out!!!

    So here goes (mi-mi-mi-mi - key of C please! To the tune of the Scarecrow inspired by the Tin Man!)

    I would wile away the hours
    conferrin’ on the powers
    about a closet full of lack.
    And my sewin’ I’d be thinkin’
    would be like usin’ Quicken
    To see I’m clearly off the track.

    I would sew my litte ditty
    Not receivin’ any pity
    And workin’ quite a bit,
    But the thought’s I’d be thinkin’
    I could hardly be a Lincoln
    Cause my clothes won’t last a whit.

    Oh, I would tell you why
    Investment clothing is the best
    Time would tell the tale
    And my sewing’d do the rest

    I would be so very choosy
    Developin’ a doozy
    of a closet full of worth
    When it comes to all my sewin’
    I wouldn’t be unknowin’
    And have the best there is on Earth!

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    1. I luv me a songstress!

      Delete
  25. Part of what happened to great thrifting is Internet sales. All the major agencies that have thrift stores now pick over their donations to put the best of them on eBay or their own sites, like Goodwill does.

    It helps the agencies raise more money on some nicer items, true, but it also means the stores have become a wasteland of total crap. The process of weeding out the good stuff is now so efficient there's very little chance you'll find anything the store missed. They hire people with background in eBay sales and antiques for the purpose.

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  26. I've also been thrifting since high school (the 70's) and I just think all of the clothes from the 20's to the 60's are pretty much gone, having been sourced and moved through retail outlets long ago. Remember this is a finite inventory to begin with and once it's gone it's gone for good. I also think one of the reasons behind the surge in vintage pattern sewing is that fact that those clothes are no longer available in thrift stores but there are still millions of vintage patterns out there waiting to be discovered. This year I did manage two vintage scores that were pretty good, one was a lot of vintage hats on Ebay (13 hats for $130 and they are beauties dating ranging from the Edwardian period up to the early 60's) and I found a wool Bill Blass jacket from the early 90's made from a Stephen Sprouse like print fabric for only $7 and it has a hand finished silk faille lining. It was made in the US and has a ILGWU label in it too. I wear it on a regular basis and gets tons of compliments.

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    1. I was just thinking this same thing, Phyllis. All those wonderful old, fashionable ladies who still had their 50's and 60's wardrobes have passed on now, and their clothes have long since been thrifted.

      I hold out for estate sales to find vintage clothing. Sometimes I find old curtains or tablecloths or lovely linen tea towels at our thrifts here in St. Louis area. Across the river in Belleville, IL, is a magical wonderland of TONS of thrift stores. My friends often go on a thrift crawl which is lots of fun. Come visit the Midwest and we'll go! We even have a Goodwill Outlet which is.....a sight to behold.

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  27. There's one thrift store within a 50-block radius of me, and it is so over priced. I see Old Navy shirts for $16, which is what more than they cost the first time around! I used to love thrifting. Not so much anymore.

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  28. Blame Macklemore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

    Man I love that video, even with all the obscenities. Though really it describes my best friend and I's high school experience - we busted out some awesome 1970s track suits. Now I mainly use the thrift store for household stuff, though I am, right now, wearing a pair of thrifted maternity trousers. Gap khakis, $4, in great shape. Every thrift store has a sale day, aim for it.

    ~I'm in your granddad's clothes, I look in-cred-ible.~

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  29. It's very, very rare to see anything older than late nineties in a charity shop over here [in the UK]. Even stuff from the early nineties is now desirable as 'retro' - which makes me feel old! I think it has to do with the explosion in value of 'vintage' and 'retro' clothing. The charity shops are getting wise to this, and selling all their best stuff straight to vintage shops. I can't blame them; that's what I would do if I was them.
    If you think your thrift shops are expensive - second hand shopping in the UK would really open your eyes. Everything is at least double or triple what you'd pay in the US, and it's crappier quality, too. It's not unusual to see a Primark top priced at £7 when it probably only cost £4.99 new. Very annoying!

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  30. Thrifting was much better 10 years ago here. Now it is an vogue and hard to find great stuff here in CA. I don't even bother with the goodwill anymore. They seem to sell the better stuff online and charge too much. The best places to find vintage and high quality clothing seem to be at the American cancer society thrift store and a couple of small local ones. Of course, they are all men'swear... I have found a lot of high end menswear for very inexpensive prices at those stores. I did see some beautiful 50s women's clothing the last time I was in, but it was unfortunately priced accordingly. Oh, to be a man...

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  31. The Goodwill here in CT prices like the S.A. - any dress, no matter what dress, is $7.99, pants are $6.99, etc. I lucked out last time I went and got two 1960s mod dresses (one with a split skirt) but usually it is a lot of junk. I prefer my Savers in RI, but they price individually and they do know what brands are on the up and up.

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  32. I'm lucky that I've got a lot of charity shops fairly close to where I live in the UK but, like others here, I can never find anything worth having any more! If I branch a few miles out from my home town the quality of stock suddenly rockets - but sadly when you get to the wealthier towns the shops know EXACTLY what they're selling and hike the prices up to suit!

    I managed to strike gold about a month ago with a load of really nice 60's and 70's patterns at 25p each but like lots of people have already said, places like Ebay and Etsy - as great as they are - have put a stopper on those types of bargains.

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  33. i miss thrifting. anytime i visit my family in middle america i thrift because the finds are better and cheaper. in nyc i find thrifting to be picked over and way over priced. so sad.

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  34. The Goodwills here (I have asked at the three in the area) do not try to sell clothes that they do not think look "in fashion". It is crazy what they think is in fashion when you look at what they do carry. Any way, they send it all directly to the next step of the line, which is where it is sent off and either shipped to 3rd world countries (if in good shape) or turned into insulation (which is what they do with the ripped and badly stained clothing).

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  35. Thrift finds are definitely not what they were 10 years ago. The best finds now are, if you are lucky enough to be at the first hour, garage sales and estate sales(here in Canada).

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  36. In Montreal Village des Valeurs (Value Villlage) children's clothing is not that cheap. I can find better on clearance sales in stores. Books at VV are $1 each and the 5th one free. Great value for kid's books.
    Some jeans are pretty cheap, $10. Winter jackets can be cheap as well. My husband works outside in construction so we need things that can be destroyed after one season and it does not matter.

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  37. I'm glad you aren't going to put the time/talent into a metallic suit. You deserve better. As to thrifting, that is explained in Overdressed, as the vintage clothing industry scarfs up all the great vintage clothing as quickly as they can from the thrift stores. I think it also helps to have an upscale neighborhood in the area of the thrift store where you shop. A friend of mine lives adjacent to a very upscale area, and she finds great stuff. The city where I live does not have any good shops that I can find. There are a couple of shops with occasional good finds, but they are outrageously expensive. I do think that smaller towns have much better thrift shopping.

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  38. This is what I have noticed. About 10 years ago I was able to buy gentley worn Osh Kosh clothing for my daughter at very reasonable prices on Ebay. I also grabbed loads of great deals on NWT items. Now I can buy brand new
    Osh Kosh clothing cheaper on sale than used clothing on Ebay. I can remember being in shoppers paradise and got many great deals on designer clothes. Occasionally you can get a good deal on some clothing items but I have found the same item cheaper on sale.

    I love Thrift Stores, however, you are right, clothing quality and prices are crazy. However, I don't show for clothing. I usually go to my local savers and being the fact I live in a tourist city, Savers has many great crockery items usually from closed restaurants. I also look for cut glass, I use to be able to buy quite a lot at one time, but now the pickings are slim. I also collect vintage pyrex wear. I haven't seen any for a long while now. I remember buying boxes of costume jewelry, vintage and now not much anymore.

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  39. Thrifting isn't what it used to be. No bargains anymore. Salvation army and Goodwill charge as much for used things as Wal-Mart charges for new. I prefer Value Village. But buying thrift is getting more and more difficult. With the advent of ebay and craigslist, no more hidden treasures

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  40. The only clothing item I've bought at thrift stores is silk ties. There's precious litte clothing that would fit me, so I don't even look for things to wear. Sometimes I look at accessories. Most of the clothing is in OK shape, but definitely not "like new" or higher end lines.

    I tend to wander through looking for picture frames, small trinkets I can turn into pincushions, maybe sewing items, maybe other household items. Sometimes the books yield a good find.

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    Replies
    1. For books, thrift stores here are still good: so many people have downsized their book collections thanks to Kindle, Nook, etc.

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  41. Buying thrift is getting more expensive. My local Value Village in Toronto (ON, Canada) seems to have clued in to the vintage value of china and collectibles. Prices have at least doubled over the past year.

    A few weeks back I scooped 40 vintage Vogue & Simplicity sewing patterns (2/$0.99!), sewing books and fabric. When this "right place @ the right time" happens I always search for "home sewn" clothing in the racks. This last time it was '80s two piece suits - beautiful fabric and buttons - but my budget wouldn't allow the $19.99 price. For me it's bittersweet because it usually means that a sewer/seamstress has died and her family donated everything to the "VV boutique."

    I shop for my son, who would live in LA Lakers and Boston Celtics NBA swingman jerseys even during the winter! These are bargains compared to buying online.

    Now I go for estate sales. If there is a sewing machine it usually means there are vintage patterns too!

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  42. The thing that really bugs me about Salvation Army is that they STAPLE the tags onto the garment. Sure the prices might be slightly better than at Goodwill, but the garments are often ruined by the holes!

    Also, the Salvation Army on the east side is full of absolute trash.... stains and holes on everything and barely any natural fibers. Even so, I can't stomach the Goodwill prices for low quality garments. If the garment was made of natural fibers I might be convinced, but the stuff is mostly junk these days. Makes me feel really nostalgic for the 90's in Florida... that was the best thrifting.

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    1. The best thrifting was definitely the 80's for me, I was living in Australia.
      We would go every Saturday and the things you could buy, real qualtiy too were just amazing.

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  43. I used to find amazing things in the 90's and early 2000's, but I think there are three things that make thrifting for vintage clothing a pretty much wasted effort today. 1. Folks who have turned to selling vintage for a living on Etsy and Ebay. They buy any and all vintage primarily to sell, not to wear. 2. Several decades of crap manufacturing, materials, and styles are in thrift stores today. 3. Thrift stores are aware of the cache of "vintage", and price accordingly (even for garbage). Estate sales (at least in Los Angeles), seem to be very aware of "vintage" cache as well! I still buy vintage to wear, but it has to be very, very good. My two cents!

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  44. I was thrifting long before thrifting was cool. Although it waxes and wanes, thrifting has stayed pretty good in my area (a somewhat affluent suburb of Rochester, NY). Some of my recent favorite finds: an Italian wool designer suit for my 20-year-old son for $6; a long 100% cashmere coat for me from the 50s/60s for $10; Irish or Scottish wool skirts/kilts for $5 or less; silk and linen blouses or skirts for $5 or less.

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  45. I think thrifting is pretty hit or miss here. Most of the time, I end up not finding anything worthwhile (aside of loads of cast-off Target stuff selling for more than it cost new! wut), but when I do hit, I hit gold. I've learned to troll the kid's section, as a lot of smaller adult sizes will end up in there and it's a area that doesn't get picked through by resellers. Our Goodwill outlet is pretty fun - clothes by the pound!! - but you have to be willing to fight for what you love while digging through those dirty bins. It's pretty cutthroat, not for the faint of heart.

    I noticed the lack of good/cheap furniture long before I noticed the decline of the clothing selection. I remember buying a big 60s green arm chair for $8 when I was a teenager (and you know that wasn't terribly long ago!) and dragging it home in the back of my Lincoln Towncar. Now the same chair would sell for $75+ - and it would be broken. Goodwill. What is up with your pricing strategies.

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  46. When I was in college in the 80s, there used to be a place called Dollar a Pound near Kenmore Square in Cambridge, Mass. It was a warehouse with giant piles of clothes to rummage through. When you were done filling your plastic garbage bag. You went over to the scale and they weighed it and you paid $1 a lb. Honest. I still have gorgeous giant mother-of-pearl buttons that i bought moth eaten sweaters for (lo, these many years without the perfect project). A couple of cashmere sweaters live on in my daughter's closet. So yes I agree, things ain't what they used to be. Here in Italy, it's expensive even at the tawdriest street markets. But the hunt still entices and occasionally I find a gem.

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    1. I loved Dollar A Pound! It was at the Garment District...not Kenmore Square (that's in Boston) but....heck...some other Square....... I found a vintage blue wool Filene's blazer with silver gumdrop buttons and silver trim. Very Jackie O and I can still wear it 20 years later :)

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  47. The fabric is a nice choice! I would recommend, if you have the stamina, that you make yourself two pairs of pants to go with the jacket, as those wear out first.

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  48. There's another aspect to thrift stores becoming more "business" oriented. The supply of volunteers has also dwindled. So they're paying people to work there. That not only adds to their costs of doing business, but results in a different mind set completely. The best ones I find are the tiny little church Opportunity Shops run by a bunch of local people who are still happy to price things at a few dollars. Having said that, I believe the shrinking supply of quality garments, increased interest from shoppers and the E-bay trade are also very significant factors.

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  49. Oh, I'm a little sad-- I was looking forward to a metallic blazer! It's funny that you mentioned shift dress-- I've been thinking about making one ever since Mood sent me a swatch of lovely glazed linen. :)

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  50. We find killer stuff at our church's thrift store, including a beautiful handmade wool suit a couple weeks ago. It was made by a local tailor who must have died eons ago. The church is an Episcopal church with affluent parishioners, so we get cast-offs from wardrobe makeovers and estate donations. Maybe you could find an Episcopal church thrift store with these characteristics?

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  51. Must say that I bought a king size 100% cotton duvet cover for £6.00. It was all but brand new and I had intended to cut it up for patchwork quilt. Tis far too good for that and I shall use it for many years before cutting it uo. Clothes at the charity shops are usually shoddy rubbish.

    http://ecoartyclarty.blogspot.co.uk/

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