Hey there everyone!
I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. My little fall break was pretty swell: getting to see family and friends, sleep in a little, and go shopping.
However, I did have all these grandiose plans to do a photo-shoot everyday, so that I would have a bunch of photos for the busy weeks coming up.
Yeahhhh, well, the massive amounts of rain that we had pretty much prevented that from happening.
However, I had a really long and stressful day with the promise of a taxing week to come. So, I decided to just relax for a half an hour and blog.
I was talking to one of the gals in my office and showing off one of my new thrift finds (a gorgeous PA Dutch spoon ring for 50 cents!) and I had mentioned that my mom was with me when I got it. And she asked, "oh, does your mom thrift too?" And I while I was answering her it gave me the idea to share my thrift history. I honestly can't believe that I haven't shared it already and I have been blogging for almost 2 years (now that is crazy).
I actually dug in the archives to find a paper that I wrote my freshman year of college (which was four years ago- even more crazy). I had to write a paper about something that we "believed in" and I wrote about second-hand shopping. I read it and a lot of it still applies so, if what you are about to read sounds a little essay-ish, that's because it is. I did fix it up a little bit because my writing has improved in 4 years - thank goodness!
I believe in secondhand shopping. Whether it is going to the local Goodwill, a bazaar in the basement of a local church, or waking up extra early on a Saturday morning to race to that yard sale down the street, secondhand shopping is something that I have always found challenging, but extremely enjoyable. It is like going on a treasure hunt, but instead of finding gold at the end, you instead find a beautiful vintage dress that is only $4.
I was raised by a wonderful and cheap mother. If my clothing was not extremely on-sale from a department store or hand-me-downs, then they were probably from a thrift store. Before I was too old to protest, I was put into “Mennonite” dresses, cotton turtlenecks, and jumpers, and other equally heinous things to put on an elementary school girl living in an age when low-rise jeans, crop tops, and any other Lizzie McGuire inspired clothes were in style. (Ironically, I would probably love some of those things, now - oh, the floral print I had!). In my pre-teen world, there was only so long a girl could dress like this and not be ridiculed to the point where her self-esteem disappears altogether. When I was probably about 16, I reconnected with a long lost childhood playmate - she admitted that she thought I was Amish because of the way that I dressed.
I took matters into my own hands. There was no way that my mother was going to even consider buying $50 jeans from American Eagle, no matter how much I begged. Although, I didn’t want to keep looking like an Amish girl either. I remember being around seven years old and shopping with my mother and aunt - thrift shopping is a family affair- at a church’s bazaar. I had grabbed some really crazy 1980’s secretary-style dress and fell in love with it. I rushed to show it to my mom. My mother, who is not a fashion expert, looked at me like I had lost my mind. The dress was probably about ten sizes too big for me. She had rolled her eyes and told me to put it back. I protested, saying that if she could just cut it off for me and throw a belt on it I would have a really cute dress. As much I begged I did not get that dress, but it did not matter: That was the point when I became hooked.
The picture above is the Whitman siblings circa 1995: I'm the teeny blonde one, but the outfit that my sister is wearing showed up in my closet about five or six years later - when it was definitely not in style anymore. (Side note: isn't my brother's sweater THE best?) P.S. Let's hope that my sibs don't murder me for posting this - love you, guys!
My “fashion rebellion” started in middle school. It was supported by my cousin; she understood the horrors of what I wore - some of my clothes were probably once hers. She would give me different fashion magazines and I would scour them fully, learning about Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Michael Kors, about a world I never knew existed. Instead of being jealous of the beautiful purse in Lucky that was $520, I would go hunting at a bazaar or Goodwill until I found something similar that was in my budget- a budget that was $500 less than the bag in the magazine.
In high school, I would thrift to find those Hollister shirts and jeans that had some fancy label on the back. I thrifted to fit in. I did this despite the fact that even then I knew that I didn't love those clothes - I wanted to be wearing things inspired by Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, my fashion gurus. I wanted to wear vintage dresses and blouses on the daily. But high school, especially in hindsight, can be a cruel place. So, I bought my Aeropostale at Salvation Army for 75% less than in the stores.
Then I went to college, a liberal arts college at that. Suddenly, I was surrounded by people who didn't care what I wore because there was probably someone who was wearing something more "out there" than me - my friend Sharon dressed up like the Pope once, but that's another story for another time. Anyway, I made friends who didn't care that I thrifted - in fact, they usually would join me on the trips. I started dressing for me - whether I stood out or not. And I realized that I loved it. And I wanted to share my love - and that's when I started my blog.
I finished that paper four years ago with words that I still 100% believe today: "The true reason I believe that I love secondhand stores so much is because it makes me proud of what I am wearing. It feels more creative and expressive than the cookie cutter things in the display windows at the mall. That’s what fashion is supposed to be about: expression of your true self."
Sheesh, sorry that got a little long there - if you stuck through it and read that all, thanks!
If you have any further questions about my love of the thrift, leave a comment or send me an email!
Have a fabulous night!
P.S. I copy and pasted a lot of this - so the size and the fonts became really funky. I finally got it into one font and size - but the size was a little smaller than normal; my apologizes!