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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's the Mean that matters

Math was never one of my strong subjects. I suffered through it during high school,  didn't take it the one year I was in college, and came away with two valuable skills. Figuring out percentages, as in percentages off, and getting the average, or mean of a bunch of numbers.

I'd mentioned a few days ago I was having shopping lust, and when a coupon for 20% off at Kohl's came, I decided to go there. I hadn't been since April, the night before I left for Italy when I was seeking last minute stuff I needed to pack. I'd spotted a dress that night, a Simply Vera for $78, and I told her I'd come back for her, and that we'd be together soon.

At the freshly reduced price of $31.20, I snatched her off the rack. I didn't stop there, I went on to this sheer abstract top for $20, and two pairs of sunglasses, that had been reduced to $5.20. Total after extra 20% discount: $49.28.

Rather than heading straight home after my splurge, I stopped at a thrift store along the way and found the clothing racks were half off that day. I spotted this cute polka dot chiffon wrap top for $6, and this Ann Taylor zig zag skirt, also $6. The skirt is a touch big, but the construction is simple and I can take it in. As a wool blend it's not exactly summer fare, but I think it will be fine for work in the A/C.

My total after 50% discount: $6.

Now for my favorite part, the mean. I got six articles for $55.28, which means the average piece was only $9.22. Pretty awesome.

Moments ago, I was showing off my two newest thrift finds to my sister, when she said to me, "I can't understand why you keep buying things at thrift stores. It's psychotic, you don't even know where that stuff has been."

I'm not going to say I found her comments hurtful. If she wants to go through life without the luxury of a three dollar London Fog trench, that's her business. Of course I then suggested that the Lulu Guinness should just become completely mine, and her rebuttal was that bags are different because you don't wear them.

I've never found the idea of wearing secondhand clothing psychotic. You wash it, and you are good to go. I don't have issue with the things I don't usually wash either, like coats or shoes. It's just fabric, and I figure as long as it doesn't stink, there isn't a problem.

Since I know so many of you have wardrobes based around thrifted clothes, I don't need to ask you to defend second hand purchases, but I am curious, is there anyone who doesn't thrift? And why not?


Anya said...

Interesting post. I love to thrift! I am a syrian/french girl living in the usa. when i married my 100% syrian husband and he immigrated here my thrifting ended. at least for a few months. Everytime id try to go in a thrift store he'd make up an excuse for why he wanted to go to the mall. so we never went. I never thought anything about it, but then he explained that in syria second hand clothing is considered bad or for poor people. He wanted me to show off in front of my friends with new clothing and accesories not used ones. He felt like he was taking care of me better that way. But after a few months of no thrifting I couldn't take it and went out with a friend. we splurged and I explained to him that in america. its totally normal to thrift, not to mention its green. And hell only my close friends know i thrift. I tell everyone else I bought everything or got it as a gifts. hehe *so naughty me* So now he doesn't mind at all. as long as he feels I'm respected then he is good to go! great post!!


Dr. Da said...

I love Thrift shopping. Since clothing is washable, I don't see the issue. Plus I love feeling like I am being green and giving unwanted clothing a new home. I am 6 months into a shopping ban, where I am only buying clothes that are "new to me" via thrift stores, consignment stores, and Ebay. I am loving it so much I am not sure I will ever go back to regular retail shopping.

flattery said...

I love the "abstract top". Totally unique and lovely. Second hand is not "psychotic". Think about how many things you buy second-hand in life...cars...houses...as long as you make it YOURS, then who cares who had it before?
I'm hosting a giveaway at my blog. Check it out!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

i love thrifting! i could score a bag of goodies for just HK$50 :D heheheh keep thrifting, lovely~

Nicola-x said...

Love that dress it is gorgeous :) x


Sarah Dee said...

yay thrifting!! nuff said... p.s tell your sis she's psychotic for not wanting to get awesome deals!!!


Marie McGrath (The Joy of Fashion) said...

Wao, what great finds! I'm so glad you got such pretty things, I can't wait to see how you wear them ;)


Asta said...

Absolutely fantastic finds, and the Simply Vera dress just won my heart over:) It looks sooo good on you, and I love the purple and dark orange used together, one of my favourite combinations!
As for thrifting, it can be such a Klondike if you're lucky to stop by at the right store at the right moment, why pass on such a good oppurtunity?

Marie said...

Great finds!:D

I went to a thrift store last month. It was my first time. I didn't like it at all.

...and everything girly under the sun!

Mandy said...

Very awesome finds! It's funny you posted your sister's comments about thrifting. For the most part, people I know love going to thrift stores, and we end up in long discussions about the awesome finds we've made. However, a few weeks ago I mentioned thrifting to one of my male co-workers, and he was pretty judgemental about it. He couldn't understand why if I could afford to shop at retail stores, I would go to Goodwill. I was taken aback because it was the first time anyone had really made a negative comment about it. I'm sensitive, so it definitely bothered me.

After making a few side comments at him hear and there, he apologized for sounding like a snob, but he said he still couldn't understand how I could wear used clothing. It definitely made me reflect on my thrifting habit a little bit, but I refused to let anyone make me feel bad about something that is fun and beneficial for the community. Just today I proudly showed off a pretty Banana Republic top I found just last week :)

Lane :) said...

way to spread a dollar out! math isn't my subject. i just memorize whatever i need for the test and then i forget the rest. :)

Karen said...

Now that is some great thrifting!!! I love the sheer top - can't wait to see it styled!!!



Modesty is Pretty said...

Well,I agree with the girls who support thrifting,at first when I started thrifting I was a bit embarrassed I must admit, but now I love telling my friends about it because they can never believe the awesome prices I pay for my things. There's one teacher though that doesn't like thrifting and finds it disgusting, she's also the one that doesn't wear her new clothes until she washes them either, pretty strange, but I love thrifting so much I can't remember the last time I bought new clothes.

Shelley Ann said...

ive never been thrifting, but i dont see a problem with it! im going on my first adventure tomorrow! :)

Alli (One Pearl Button) said...

I love your finds! The dress is gorgeous. I'm a thrifting fiend. When I was growing up, my dad was in school and my mom was supporting four kids on a local journalist's salary, so we thrifted many of our clothes. Having spent most of my adult life as a graduate student, thrifting is my way to get a wardrobe that I love. I doubt I'll ever give it up, even if I reach a stage in my life where it isn't a financial necessity - I love the thrill of the hunt and the green, socially responsible aspect. I'm honestly not sure what gives people that "ick" response; in my opinion, wash it on hot and you're good to go!

Breanne at Bella Vita said...

I love the dress on you :-)

That abstract sheer top is my favorite though. So lovely. I hope you wear that soon!

Meek said...

You picked up some great bargains, and I love that dress. Just think if your sister is not out there thrift shopping then there will be more bargains for you!

I love thrift shopping because I can get more for my dollars. Some people are funny about second hand stuff, I have even come across some mums who turn their noses up at me because all of my sons clothes and hand-me-downs from his cousins. I just don't understand people some times.

Elaine said...

I thrift! But I make sure it looks new or almost new when I buy it - especially shoes - most especially shoes.

Don't forget to enter to win a Lime Ricki swimsuit!
clothed much, a modest fashion blog

Morning Cloak said...

That dress was meant for you, if it was still waiting for you in the right size!

Closet Full of Nothing said...

Beautiful dress. I'm really loving print dresses lately, esp multi-colored ones. Love the orange straps :)

Closet Full of Nothing

sofi moukidou said...

love your dress and the sunglasses!
i really love thrifting! it's something special, not only save money, but it's like a game, every time i find something that i like,i'm duble happy, because is very easy to find something nice in a usual store, but it's not the same!

Franca said...

The top dress is great. I know lots of people who don't like charity shopping (i.e. thrifting), either because they can't be arsed to go through all the crap to get to the treasure (which I can totally see, it's a time intensive business, thrfiting) or because they don't want to wear stuff that someone else has worn (which I can't see as much). Psychotic is a bit of a strong word though!

stylechanges said...

you looks awesome really cute lovely outfit

Pitu said...


miss anonymous. said...

I don't thrift, but only because it's inconvenient since I haven't found a good store near me. I wish I could though! :)

xx miss anonymous.

Margaret said...

you look so much like america ferrera here :D
gorgeous dress! love the colours

daisymay said...

I don't really care if an item is from a thrift store, although the charity shops in the UK are no where near as good as the thrift shops in America. Its just the same as wearing hand-me-downs from family really. Like you said as long as they dont smell if you give them a good wash they are fine. I could never afford some designer items if it wasn't for charity shops. I love your dress you bought. Its so beautiful!

Modesty is Pretty said...

I forgot to say great outfit! Love that print! And also great finds!

eek said...

Fabulous finds - both new and thrifted! Looks like you've found a great use for your math skills :)

While I have nothing against thrifted clothing and amazed at what you lovely ladies can find, I don't ever seem to have much success the few times I try. I don't have the patience to sift through all the old crappy clothes and sometimes I think I can find new stuff for less $$, which is why I don't thrift. I wish I was better at it (maybe if I had more time and patience!).

But I agree - wash it and you are good to go.

Nicci said...

Great items you found! HAHA. Tell your sis this ''have youever thoguht whose tried on the same clothes that you've tried on in the stores''...see what she says. lol I love thrift stores, if the clothes look dirty, I don't purchase it. Wash all items at home and your good to go!

Aynna banahna said...

Who doesn't thrift? That is just silly. I go occasionally, but honestly I don't particularly love it anymore because my whole childhood and adolescence was spent in thrift store clothes, so I got sick of it. And my clothing budget is not what I would like it to be, so I don't do it more

La fille d'or said...

Hmm does that mean if you don't do thrift - you don't do vintage either? I think if people knew more about the environmental impact of soley buying new things- they may buy second hand more often. It's not just about saving money mass production causes a lot of problems.

That being said. When I was younger - While my friends wre all out finding cool clothes in the trift and vintage shops- my parents would not let me go- they thought it would seem as if they couldn't afford to clothe me. But- my parents are kind of snobby beacon hill types,(haha).

I love you're thrift finds that top is awesome. and that Vera dress is amazing.

gospelofstyle said...

Pretty, pretty dress!!

And I hear that all the time about thrifting, but it just seems silly to me. It's just fabric, like you said! Who cares? And is the worry about catching a disease or just being grossed out by other people in general? I don't get it.

Lisa Lisa Lisa said...

I just wrote you a long comment about the joys of thrifting and my internet connection failed.
The jist:
I love thrifting. Your sister is missing out. =)

Amanda said...

Love the print on that dress! The colors are great on you!

Thrifting isn't psychotic! I kinda like the fact that the clothes have a history...plus that's why you wash them hehe!

Lorena said...

You picked up some interesting items...!
I can't wait to see you include them in your outfits.
Where I live there are about 3-5 thrift shops - that is in the whole country.
Here it's considered tacky to buy used clothes.
I could care less.
Now, even though I don't go thrift shopping here, I do it on line and also when I travel.
I told my mom next time I visit, I want her to take me to the Salvation Army - SHE TOTALLY FLIPPED!
I have some items from a great aunt who has kept ALL HER CLOTHES - so the cool part there is not only that the items were hers but also that they are vintage-

StuddedLilly said...

haha this definitely makes me feel much better about my spending habit..thats exactly what i do sometimes when i go shopping and buy a lot from one place/one day..and i seriosuly would love to start thrifting!
thanks for stopping by and leaving awesome comment :)


whatiwore said...

I am soooo with you on the shoppy mood. I caved today too!

And big ups to thrifting as well :)

Closet Fashionista said...

Great buys!! Yay for Kohl's coupons! :D

Style, She Wrote said...

Great buys. While I thrift all the time, Lynnie (my better blogging half) will not buy second hand clothes. (She doesn't feel that they ever get "clean" enough.) I think it's all personal preference.

Melanie said...

You are such a great bargain hunter!

I don't thrift. I used to buy tees and take them in during my "scenekid" phase. I'd like to go, but I don't really have anyone I can go with and all the thrift stores around me are in really sketchy areas.


Ali said...

Don't you love adding up your day's buys and figuring out about how much each piece of yours costed? It makes me feel so good inside. And you did really good, under 10 bucks for each piece! :) I'm loving the skirt you bought, and your dress is so adorable!

Eyeliah said...

“If she wants to go through life without the luxury of a three dollar London Fog trench, that's her business” lol!!! So true. I have some friends who don’t thrift, but I couldn’t imagine not thrifting, even if I could afford brand new all the time. I also want to say the quality of your photos here is quite lovely, you are putting in the extra effort on your blog and it shows. :)

knk said...

you looks great in this outfit
great choice nice glasses

Mimi said...

i got two new sunglasses too! :D


Nathalie said...

This is an absolutely amazing shopping result :) Well done my dear, haha
I think thrift shopping is simply genius, you cannot find these treasures somewhere else (at that price)

rebecca said...

That dress looks so lovely on you (:


closet365 said...

Great dress!

Interesting question. I used to not thrift simply because I wasn't good at it. I'd go poke around a secondhand store and only find the crap I'd never wear. But now that I've gotten a little better at it, I love it!

closet365 said...

Great dress!

Interesting question. I used to not thrift simply because I wasn't good at it. I'd go poke around a secondhand store and only find the crap I'd never wear. But now that I've gotten a little better at it, I love it!

Emilie said...

Great post!

Lexy @ Quirky Explosion said...

Love the pattern on your dress. It's FANTASTIC.

I'm a huge thrifter. I'd say about 80-100% of my normal outfits are thrifted. I like the idea of wearing a piece that no one else has, and the idea that that piece had a life and owner before me! (Which is also kind of crazy. Wouldn't it be awesome to meet the original owners of the piece?!)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

chaoskontrolowany said...

Great sunglasses! Have a lovely weekend;)

Emily said...

I guess I can kind of understand where she's coming from. But girl, you can't beat a $3 London Fog trench, come on!

Jessica said...

I love that you picked up the Vera dress! I spotted it this week too, but they didn't have it in my size. Boo. Looks fab on you!

I love to thrift for jewelry, but not really for clothes. Mostly because I don't have the patience to sort through 90% of "eh" items to find that gem. (But then I'm completely jealous of people who find incredible thirfted items.)