|Some of Fiona’s funky decor at The Frock Exchange.|
We had a lovely afternoon and, at the end of it, with everything hanging or folded neatly in its designated spot, or piled into bags to be donated or thrown out, I came to the conclusion that my sister had been right all along. Every time we discuss shopping she sighs and says, “I have nothing to wear.” “You’re right. You have nothing to wear,” I said as I stood in her edited closet and laughed. “You need pretty much everything, except party wear, and event clothes to wear to a wedding or a conference dinner.”
My sister was in this fix partly because she’s really, really busy, and when she finds the time to shop, it’s always for some specific event she needs to attend. Like a step-son’s wedding in Newport, or a conference somewhere hot. And partly because she suffers from what I call “white coat syndrome”… as a pharmacist, she can cover up whatever she wears to work with her white lab coat. So work clothes, as long as they’re clean and the pants are presentable, don’t really matter. White coat syndrome allows the sufferer to put off shopping until they are really desperate. Thence my sister had almost nothing to wear to a casual dinner, or to the movies, or… say… shopping. Hardly any every-day, non-work, real-life stuff. And what she did have she was right royally sick to death of. If you’ll pardon my ending that sentence with a preposition. So we needed to take action because, once we had cleaned out her closet, she needed some clothes to wear. D’uh. We set a date to go shopping… for basics, mostly tops. And since we were planning to buy more than one thing, I suggested we save some money by starting at my friend Fiona’s secondhand clothing shop.
|Fiona’s window display for her summer sale event.|
|Shoe department at The Frock Exchange.|
|Happy sister. It IS a wonderful life.|
|What She Got.|
|What I got.|
I resisted all of Fiona’s further tempting, even said no to a sweet military style coat that was very cute, and fit me perfectly, but which sadly was not on my list for fall. The secret to being a good shopper, as far as I’m concerned, is knowing what you need and want…. and also what you don’t need.
Although I consider myself to be a good shopper and I do love to shop vintage, I am no expert on thrift store or consignment store shopping. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Ever since I wrote a post about the Slow Fashion movement last spring, I’ve been trying to keep more of an open mind about consignment or thrift store shopping. Trying to do better when it comes to being a more “ethical shopper.” I mean beyond just consigning or donating my own clothes. I found this article on the value of thrift store shopping on a very cool site called Unwrinkling. Great title, eh? Much of the article is common sense, but still worth a read.
When my friend Elizabeth and I started planning for our trip to New York at the end of October, and we decided we might like to sample the vintage and thrift stores there, I contacted Patti of the blog Not Dead Yet Style… who I know IS an expert on thrifting and vintage shopping. Especially in New York. She sent me a long list of her favourite stores. Thanks Patti. I know we will visit Saks and Bloomingdale’s et al… but vintage or thrift store shopping in New York will be very cool.
Now, back to our sisters’ adventure. Eventually, Fiona packaged up all of Carolyn’s purchases. I wore mine. And we decamped to scarf down A&W Teen Burgers and root beer for lunch. Shopping is hungry work. And thrift store shopping followed by Teen Burgers makes for a throw-back afternoon all round. A&W was our first fast food restaurant in Fredericton back when I was a kid in the late sixties. I still have a nostalgic love of their root beer.
And so, as Mr. McGarrity said to Maggie Muggins: “All in all we’d had quite a day.” We spent some money, but not as much as we might have if we’d shopped somewhere else. Fiona gained a new customer in my sister. Carolyn found some great things that she’ll be able to parlay into numerous outfits. And we spent some ‘quality’ sister time together. Win, win, win, I’d say.
What about you friends? Are you thrift shop shoppers? Or consignment store customers?