by Mallory Moad
“Hey, Mallory, I like your jacket!”
“Thanks, I got it for a dollar at a thrift store.”
That statement is true, and if you adjust the price up or down some, it could apply to my pants and shirt, too. I am a thrift store junkie through and through. Remember that Macklemore song, the one about poppin’ tags and wearing your granddad’s clothes? I can totally relate.
Some people get creeped out over a store filled with clothing (and other items) that once belonged to, and were most likely worn or used by, total strangers. To actually wear that clothing or use that frying pan–heaven forbid!–is completely out of their comfort zone. To me, these things have a history. They have mojo. And I see nothing wrong with tapping into that mojo and adding a little history of my own, especially if I can do it for three bucks or less.
The thrift stores I visit most often are located in Fresno’s Downtown and Tower Districts, although they aren’t the only ones in town. Rarely do I go in search of something specific. I just go to see what’s there. Maybe I will find something wonderful, maybe I won’t, but that’s part of the process and part of the fun, too. I’ve found plenty of treasures, believe me. Check this out: Abercrombie & Fitch shirts that looked like they’ve never been worn for a dollar each; almost-new Gap jeans (already broken in) for $2.50 a pair; and (wait for it), a navy blue wool, double-breasted Emporio Armani blazer for $2.00. Yes, it’s a real Armani and it fits perfectly. I’ve taken 25-cent jeans that were ripped to shreds and with various patches (or what Vogue magazine calls “embellishments”), turned them into a fashion statement you’d pay a lot more for at Macy’s.
The majority of thrift stores are associated with churches or non-profit organizations. The Cancer Federation, United Cerebral Palsy, Disabled American Veterans, and Every Neighborhood Partnership are just a few of the groups who are benefiting from the sale of peoples’ unwanted stuff. Like the shoppers who re-purpose the merchandise, thrift stores set up shop in buildings that once housed other businesses. Empty grocery stores, a western clothing store and an auto body shop, among others, are now homes to thrift stores. The SPCA and some churches have thrift stores on the premises, too.
What makes a good thrift store? Cleanliness is at the top of the list. Organization is a big deal, too. One store I frequent actually arranges clothing on the racks by color. A fitting room is a plus, and I’ve seen everything from a curtain in a corner to actual rooms with locking doors. Bins are a major turn-off. I have too much dignity to dig through a bin, even though there may be another Armani at the bottom (but I doubt it).
So call me cheap, call me twisted, or call me the frugal fashionista that I am. My name is Mallory Moad, I wear funky, second-hand clothes and I look incredible.