Friday, November 5, 2010

Vintage or Just Old Crap?

So my daughters have decided that buying vintage sweaters from the Goodwill is cool (well, not cool exactly - they'd never use that word). I am, shall we say, ambivalent about this sudden thriftiness. I grew up with hand me down clothes (even a bra once, Lord help me) from my cousins. Some of them were even girls :). I did get new clothes as well but I remember getting dresses and coats and other sundry items from various relatives and thinking they really were not my style. Perhaps they were my style but, darn it, they weren't new so they couldn't be as good, right? Anyway, I've had no trouble over the years donating tons of clothing to Goodwill. It is a fabulous organization. But I never really ever shopped there before. So when, the other night, Daughter 2 said she wanted to go we went. I was pleasantly surprised.

The Goodwill Store we went to was just recently built, bright lights, clothes organized in colour-coded blocks on racks and while, yes, there were some sketchy items, most of them were very well cared for, clean and in good shape. Daughter 2 bought 3 old man sweaters (don't ask. Apparently old man is a style these days) in almost perfect condition for under 20 dollars and was thrilled. Now I know she's not going to stop buying ridiculously expensive brand name items at American Eagle or Hollister (she'll try her hardest to make me buy them for her) but I love the idea of her recognizing that just because something has been used before it doesn't mean it's crap. The idea of not wearing something that a thousand other girls have in their closet is also a good thing as well. Wanting to be unique/individual is to be celebrated so if my girl wants to wear an oversized sweater that has a picture of an equestrian and his horse on the front then more power to her! Even better that it only cost $5.99.

Now if I can just convince my Dad to donate all his old shirts and sweaters to me I've got the next few Christmas's and birthdays covered. But then they'd probably think they're just hand me downs. I guess the fine line between Crap and Vintage is being hung on a rack with a thousand other old man sweaters and a price tag of $5.99.


  1. ahaha! I used to be the same way. Hated hand-me-downs but then would go shopping at the thrift store. Drove my mother nuts :)

  2. Hey, I'm all about a good bargain, used or not. Can't tell you how thrilled I was when Son discovered the joy of finding "good stuff to wear" at Target instead of Nordstrom. (Not that I don't love Nordstrom--I do.) Funny, but he "discovered" Target after he started paying for his own clothes.

  3. LOL I loved buying used clothes when I was a teen and we hadn't even thought of calling it vintage at that point.

  4. Hey Karla: Please tell me the driving the mother nuts part goes away?

    Hi Linda: It is amazing how they become so thrifty when it's their own, hard-earned cash they must spend, huh? I can hardly wait till daughter 2 gets a part-time job (insert Nelsa cackling maniacally here)

    Hi Maureen: I'm not sure what the definition of vintage is but I think it's a lot older than the sweaters my daughters just bought!

  5. Ooh I love op-shopping! It's not just a cheaper, tattier version of what's in the mainstream shops - you have a much wider range of eras and qualities and styles and really can find something that is 'meant' for you. I'm a great believer in op-shopping angels, guiding you to just the right thing on just the right rack that has been waiting for you all your life! Good for your daughters, not being as tangled up in the machinery of fashion as many young people are.

  6. Wow! It is funny how generations change. My kids are too young to pick out their own clothing stores yet, but I'd be shocked if Goodwill was their first choice!!! But after reading your post . . . I do realize that the more recent generations are more recycle-friendly, which means that second-hand means something more to them than it did to your generation and mine!

    It's great, and yet, I can see where it could be hard to grasp as well.

    Great post!!!

    Christy (via Verla Kay)

  7. Hi Anna: It sounds like you would be the perfect person to shop with my girls! I think they've definitely caught the op-shopping bug - they went back 3 times last week!

    Hi Christy: I hear you - I don't think I'll ever get the shopping second-hand bug. It'll be interesting to see if it sticks with my girls. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I actually hate shopping, in new malls, or at second hand stores. Rather stick pins in my eyes. My man, on the other hand, loves it. Weird!
    Thanks for your kind comment on my blog! Thanks for reading!

  9. I should visit a vintage shop or Goodwill one day. I haven't tried that alternative yet.

    In the 90's I remember my classmates were into grunge and bragged about how their shirts cost them fifty cents. So there are times when shopping cheap becomes chic.