Zen and the Art of Thrift Store Shopping

Thrift Store Shopping VintageThe reality of my situation is that I depend on thrift shops. Utterly and completely. Since I am a vintage clothing dealer, I rely mainly on thrift stores to procure my stock. And while I am there I usually end up shopping for myself as well. I have a gaggle of thrifts that I routinely visit, and the ones that have been shuttered I mourn for. You see, thrift stores have woven themselves into my very being and conscious way of life.  They have a definite energy that you won’t find at your local shopping malls (which I avoid at all cost). And they promote recycling, repurposing, and reusing, which is all good for the environment and for your pocketbook.

I like to think of myself as a vintage clothing rescuer. I am hard pressed to bypass any vintage piece in the store because I know how rare true vintage is. My eye is trained to spot not only vintage, but luxury designer clothing amongst all the cheaply made mart clothing that line the racks. This is the result of years of personal training; of going thrifting several times a week to see what is out there. Yes, making a lot of mistakes and buying duds along the way, but also finding many fabulous pieces in the most unlikely suburban thrift stores. Which is just about the biggest thrill this girl can get!

What I have learned is to almost make it a zen practice when I shop at thrifts. Believe me, thrift stores are about the most un-zenlike places on the planet with screaming kids, crying babies, pushy people and awful fluorescent lighting. I figured that since I spend so many hours there, I might as well just go with the flow and not fight those irritants. Even though I am peripherally aware of the craziness, I choose to zone into opening myself up to finding terrific things. And more often than not, some pretty amazing things appear when I just calmly walk around and flip through the racks methodically.

For the uninitiated, thrift stores may seem crazy on the surface. But if you look beneath all the fluorescent-lighted wackiness, you might find a bit of zen. And maybe a vintage Chanel handbag. 🙂



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