I know everyone else is probably so over it by now, but I cannot stop listening to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” Just can’t.
Even though I do wish that young man wasn’t such a potty mouth (She said while waving her cane and chasing him off the lawn). My fifth-grade students wanted “Thrift Shop” played at their end-of-year dance this year, a request that was soundly denied (duh). When told of the decision, one of my favorite little students sighed, “I don’t understand why he couldn’t just say ‘this is super awesome’ and sing about ‘Big Al’s coat’ so we could all sing along.”
I thought that was a great suggestion.
So now, when I sing it in the car, I sing it that way really loudly over MacPottyMoth, which delights my teenagers. Delights them. Because the only thing more super awesome than your mom cranking hip-hop in the car is her censoring the lyrics by singing weird things.
And P.S., I do vary it up a little and sometimes say it’s a “Big Owl Coat” — which probably WOULD look super awesome, but owls are our friends, so don’t make one.
I should get to the point.
The only thing I like better than singing about thrift shops is scouring them. Second-hand stores are magical. They’re like air-conditioned garage sales. Just this week, I literally stopped in one with $20 in my pocket and came out with a magical twirly skirt (in the picture above) and a matching blouse — and still had $12 left. What what?
But you can also waste money in a secondhand store. So, if you’re going to pop some tags, I suggest these five ground rules.
1) If you would not buy it at retail, don’t buy it just because it’s $2. Even if an item has a designer tag and seems like an incredible deal — stuff you don’t love is not a bargain. You won’t wear it. It will just sit in your closet until you donate it to the thrift shop. The clothes don’t need to go on a vacation to your house. They’re happy at the thrift shop until they find their forever home.
2) Try stuff on. I know, thrift shop dressing rooms can be a hassle or non-existent. But don’t bring something home that you don’t know looks good on you. Dress in layers so you can try things on over a tank top and shorts if you have to.
3) Check all the seams and hems — especially at stress points like the underarm seam on a sweater. Make sure clothes aren’t coming apart.
4) Don’t overestimate your commitment to fixer-uppers. Some people have mad sewing skills and love to upcycle thrift shop clothing finds. Other people saw this one thing on Pinterest where someone had turned old jeans into a wedding dress for their cat and as soon as they buy a sewing machine, take some lessons, and teach their cat to walk down the aisle on cue they are totally making that cat wedding dress. No. Put the jeans down. You aren’t going to do that.
5) Assume that all stains are final. That salad-dressing stain on the front of that like-new $300 designer dress that you can get for $7.99? It’s going nowhere. Listen carefully: that is the reason that dress is in the thrift store. If it didn’t have a stain, it would still be in its owner’s closet looking forward to the next party. That stain has already beaten someone down. Just walk away.
Don’t let the low-prices get you into a buying frenzy. Cheap junk is still junk. It may not cost you much cash, but it costs you in clutter.
And if you find a big owl coat, be sure to let me know. I’ve been wanting one of those.