In my last post, I mentioned that the best way to buy costumes was to go to a thrift shop. Certainly you wouldn't need to be a genius to figure out that you can save money by buying your clothes second hand, so you may at first think that there's nothing to write about here. But there is a worrisome problem regarding used clothes: in certain circles (think hipsters), they are trendy, and with trendy comes rising prices.
But how can this be? Once, people only wore old used clothes because they were cheap. Then hipster trendster types decide that for some reason old clothes were suddenly even cooler than that band you don't even know about yet. If hipsters want a certain (effortless?) look, they will go to all ends of the earth to make it happen, including spending tons of money on their clothes. But their cool, effortless look would be completely destroyed if their hyper-judgemental friends were to figure out that they bought expensive clothes. So what to do? Well, enter the 'vintage' clothing shop, a second hand store that sells crummy used clothes for new clothes prices. What a great idea! This way, trendsters can successfully waste their Jamba Juice salaries on some stupid-looking expensive skinny jeans, and then before any of their catty friends ask how much they paid, they can flippantly remark how they got it second hand.
But with all these fake thrift stores popping up to serve the hipsters, how is a true Tight Fist supposed to discern between a real second hand store, and a pretentious 'vintage' hell hole? Here are some tips to figure it out:
1. Does the name of the store contain the words 'vintage' or 'retro'? If so, get the hell out of there. If you were to look up these words in a dictionary, you should find the following definition 'adjective used to describe items that are old yet inexplicably expensive'. (Note that this is also the definition of the word 'antique'.)
|Way too Hot = Way too Expensive|
2. Is the person behind the counter young, wearing nice clothes, and/or even remotely attractive? If you want to sleep with the cashier, you are in the wrong place. Real thrift stores have elderly volunteers behind the counter, not aspiring jeans models.
3. Is there music playing that was made in the past 10 years? If the music is designed to lure in hipsters and their fat allowances, you have lost your way. Instead, you should look for music designed to remind poor old people of happier times. (Maybe this one?)
4. Is there lighting that is not big flourescent tubes? Fancy lights just add to your costs. Decent thrift stores do not blow your savings on lampshades.
5. Are the clothes freaking cheap? I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of peoples' perceptions of what clothes should cost are totally out of whack. So I suggest the following barometer: the Marshalls/TJ Maxx test. If the (used) clothes cost anywhere near the price of the same (new) thing at Marshalls, you would be a complete idiot to purchase it. Case closed.
So have fun shopping, but not too much fun. Even if you find great clothes at a real cheap thrift shop, the eternal Tight Fist rule of 'Don't Buy Crap You Don't Need' rules supreme. Just because you find a cheap pair of jeans, you are not allowed to buy it if you already have a perfectly good pair at home. Case closed.