My last post was about the scavenging possibilities at the flea market in Brussels. Our hunt that day made me ponder the (in)conveniences of thrifting. Thrifting might sometimes have its disadvantages (vintage smell being the most notorious one), but I want to talk about a huge benefit: the abscence of marketing influences.
Imagine you're in your favorite shopping street, mall, whatever. Do you enter every store? Or do some stores draw you in more than others? The mechanisms behind your choices are incredibly diverse and diffuse. Personal taste. Experience. Brand appeal. Price. Image. Target audience. Connotations. These are all things that determine whether you will or will not spend money (or even set foot) in a certain shop. I myself am very susceptible to branding and prejudice. It irritates me to no end, but I can't help it. Two years ago I spotted a black-and-white printed silk shirt Surface To Air in sale on ebay. I had seen the print on a dress before and absolutely adored it. Did I buy the shirt? Uhm, does Donatella Versace's hair colour regularly threaten to sweep out Italy's bleach supply? Duh.
I still paid about 100$, which I justified by telling myself the dollar was really low and the original price was way higher. Two weeks later I found myself in Zara holding a black-and-white printed silk shirt (I really do have a thing for black and white prints) with 50% off. I remember thinking 40 euros was still an awfully high price for what was, after all, 'just' a Zara shirt. Two shirts, two measures.
This is one of the coolest things about thrifting: there's no double standards. You're not pestered with assumptions and considerations on the brands surrounding you. You're just looking at clothes in their own right. You have to wonder if the garment really does fit your style and if it's worth it's (puny) price. You can't rely on the source of the clothes to tell you whether it's cool or stylish. I'm ashamed to admit that, when it comes to clothing, I find the process pretty exhausting. It takes training and good styling skills to figure out what you do or do not want without the background and directions labels can provide. (More on that in this interesting post from Fashion Pearls on Wisdom.)
For jewelry, however, I find it liberating. For instance, the bracelet I bought two weeks ago. If I had spotted it at H&M, it's not entirely impossible I would have considered it tacky. Or maybe I would have liked it, but not bought it, because it's H&M and everyone will wear it so even if it is special, it won't be that special. If I would have seen it in an expensive jewelry store (which is very unlikely, because I don't think I ever even entered one of those), I might have thought it was a bit pretentious and not worth its money. Jewelry thrifting somehow makes it easier for me to spot the special pieces and like them for what they are, regardless of price. So while I'll rarely go thrifting for clothes because it wears me out, I'm definitely sold on thrifting jewelry. How about you?