Monday, February 18th, 2019

Thrift shop this holiday season

Posted on March 24, 2016 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

The holidays are fast approaching, in case you missed “Baby It’s Cold Outside” over pieces of pumpkin pie during the holiday. It is that time of the year that your tight college kid budget becomes something inbetween a shoestring and a broken string. There is no need to fret, a simple solution exists that will not break the bank.

You might be familiar with the term “thrifting” from the OG hipster Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Way back in 2012 tags were being popped, twenty dollars were spent, things were awesome, and thrift shop sales increased slightly in the Seattle area because hipsters.

So this year should be the year of the thrift shop gift guide. Personally I choose to support the Salvation Army because of the work they do in the community and because most of the money from said secondhand clothes goes to these causes instead of the gas tank of a Porsche. Other worthy options in the area include the classic Goodwill, Find which is located on Free Street in the Old Port, and Little Ghost Vintage which has its own Etsy shop if you didn’t already believe its alternative street cred.

“Thrifting is about treasure hunting. It’s how you can find those extra special items that you wouldn’t find at the mall,” said Laura Ker, owner and operator of Find. “What I love about shopping at places like Find is that current pieces are mixed in with vintage pieces from lots of eras; you can really get creative with your style!

Find says that they go “Thrifting Without Sifting,” a welcomes testimony to the readiness of local thrift shops gearing up for the holiday season. .

Thrift shopping has become a hot topic in pop culture. One can get name brands, vintage fashions that you can’t get anywhere else,  and such low prices that you’ll buy a t-shirt from the year you were born. There is something for everybody, even your drunk uncle. There are rugs that really tie the room together, and exercise equipment invented before the time of blender bottles and massive gains.

Thrifting wasn’t always so popular however. Ker reflects on the changing view of second hand clothing.

There has been a HUGE shift in my lifetime.  When I was a kid thrifting was really frowned upon.” said Ker. “I am thrilled that it has become so popular; it’s great for the planet.  It’s also a great way to get more value from your clothes.”

She always thought about what she’d do differently if she owned the thrift store when she’d visit them, and finally she started her own upon moving to Portland. She said there was a gap in the market and she filled that gap.

Nowadays. Portland’s thrift scene has expanded.

“I have noticed in the past few years Portland has become a destination for vintage shoppers.  There are so many good shops in town now. I am thrilled to be part of it,” Ker exclaimed.

Many people try to donate their clothes to thrift shops. Goodwill and Salvation Army are known to take anything wearable, yet other thrift stores will be more choosy, making sure the clothes fit their vibe or their quality level.

Find tries to stick to what people in Portland specifically like. They pay 30% of our price in cash or 50% in store credit for items.

Ker’s found some weird things in her travels. People have donated homemade superhero suits, wooden shoes, 80’s ice skating leotards and chaps.

The Salvation Army on Warren Ave. in Portland is less picky but supports locals charities. It’s close to the USM Portland campus, and it has examples of items for the whole family.

First up is a genuine MMA registered merchandise TAPOUT long sleeve black t-shirt for $3.99 ($1.99 on Tuesdays with college I.D or Wednesdays). This is perfect for your brother who is dabbling in the finesse of mixed martial arts and who keeps muttering “Ronda Rousey” under his breath at all hours of the day.

Next is a matching red and blue striped pajama set that is ideal for your pipe smoking father for when he is lounging in his over-stuffed leather chair in the study pouring over his first edition of “Atlas Shrugged” with a chuckle and patriotic twinkle in his eye.

Get your mother a ceramic blue jay in an action pose atop a tree branch in order to get her to not ask about your grades. With its surreal life-like depiction it is sure to fool even the most educated bird enthusiast. Act now this piece is sure to go quickly.

Also available are a fantastic assortment of mens and womens jorts, that is jean shorts for the uninitiated for when summer tries and throw a kink in your workwear attire. There are at least twenty pairs for purchase all under the cost of a grande caramel macchiato in the red starbucks cup.

You can not forget about the uncle who is keen on his libations. For him a nice hooded sweatshirt/red flannel combo would really complete the trucker chic style that Cosmopolitan named the #67 style trend to watch out for in 1982. It comes with many pockets to place lighters and Black and Milds along with minimal staining. A real workmans coat!

So this holiday season do your wallet a favor and think of your loved ones by buying gently used vintage items at a bargain of a price. Remember the number one rule of thrift shopping: always check the pockets. Ker encourages shoppers to shop at second hand stores.

“Thrift stores keep the story of the clothes alive!” said Ker. “Clothes are kind of unique in that it’s a form of culture that stays around in a physical way.  You can actually hold and wear something that people from the past wore.  How amazing is that?”


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