Monday, March 26, 2007

Rev. Gidget Does Goodwill

Pigeons of Heaven!

PeaceBang has one of those nasty flu bugs that, just last evening, had her resembling Linda Blair's character in "The Exorcist" -- you remember that pea soup scene, don't you ?-- and is happy and appreciative to feature this guest column by Rev. Gidget. Thanks so much for writing in, Gidgie!

"Rev. Gidget Does Goodwill"

Having just brought in a magnificent haul from my Goodwill store, I wondered if your gentle readers (esp. the students) might like some tips for thrift store shopping.

1. Don't go in thinking you are going to find a specific item - you will be sorely frustrated. Instead, have several categories in mind, and be open to surprise. I once found a beautiful Liz Claiborne long black dress with a square neck and short sleeves that was perfect with a stole for leading summer worship in our blazing hot sanctuary. $10!

2. Use the Goodwill to supplement your wardrobe. I find blouses, pants, t-shirts, jackets, dresses, scarves and skirts, that all blend nicely with my new stuff. Also, buying used clothes when you need casual items gives you more money to spend on your professional wardrobe.

3. Be patient, go when you have a few hours to spend. I tried on four times as many things as I bought. The pleasure of the hunt is half the fun.

4. Be extremely picky. Yes, people WILL notice the tiny stain on that lovely shirt. Examine all items carefully in the light before purchasing. No, you probably WON'T lose the weight needed to make that dress look really good on you. I don't care if it's $5. I once bought anything that fit okay, looked all right, wasn't too dowdy, etc. Alas, I found I had a closet full of such items, and I never wanted to wear them. Rule of thumb: If you wouldn't buy it new, don't buy it because it's cheap.

5. Not really a tip, but an observation - people who will especially want to check out the Goodwill (and thrift stores in general) are (1) men who wear classic items like khaki pants, buttoned Lands End-type shirts, the occasional high-end label sportjacket, coat, and ties and (2) men or women who wear small sizes. I have sighed over itty-bitty items that are usually the cream of the used clothing crop. People do tend to get bigger more often than they get smaller, and you could be the lucky recipient of some very fabulous clothes.

Fondly, Rev. Gidget



Blogger Shaktidas said...

Great tips, Gidget! I love Thrift Shops. And you're so right... my skinny sister has better luck than I do (with my size 16 self). Still, it is a great way to find some good, cheap stuff.

Get well soon, PB!

7:59 PM  
Blogger Indie said...

I can testify that thrift stores are great for small folks. I wear a size that can be difficult to find in lower priced stores without going into the children's or teens' styles and I can't afford the higher prices at the stores that do carry grown up clothes for skinny women. Thrift stores have been my savior many times. Just don't try going with small children.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous JCS said...

A couple of other tips: know your measurements, and bring a measuring tape (one of the cloth ones, not the retractable metal kind). When inspecting an item, hold it up to the strongest available light source, which will show holes and other wear which you wouldn't catch otherwise.

A true Goodwill story: I donate a lot of clothing to Goodwill, and buy some clothes there as well. A few years ago I dropped off a favorite shirt which had, alas, become too small. A month later I went back to the same Goodwill and I saw my shirt hanging on the end of a rack. Directly across from the shirt, and I mean directly across, was a $2000 jacket from Louis, Boston in my size which appeared brand new. The cost? $5, which turned into $2.50 at the register because it had a certain color tag on it. I guess that is a lesson about casting one's bread ou upon the water...

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL. I'm going to try to find some small people stuff. I swear I am actually a size 4-6, but with size inflation the only skirt in the mall that fit me was size 00. (that's DOUBLE zero) What do people who are actually tiny wear???

9:22 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Consignment shops are also fabulous. I recently found two suits (pants), both petite, at half price for about $25 - $30 each.

Here in CT going to the Goodwill in Westport (yes, they have one!) means finding some great designers at a bargain.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Indie said...

re: anonymous' question "what do tiny people wear?" I was a size 4 at one point, dropped to a size 2 with the size inflation and the last time I bought something retail (a rare thing for me) I was down to size 0. (I actually have bigger hips now that I've birthed two children, but wear a smaller size!) What I didn't realize when I bought the size 0 was that I was pregnant and had already gained weight. So I'm guessing that I'll be a double 0 by the time the baby weight is gone. I tend to be a pacifist, but I would like to do harm to these people.

One trick is that the higher end stores tend to cut their clothes bigger. But then the lower end stores don't carry the lowest sizes. So if anyone finds the ubiquitous store that is the perfect medium between these extremes please, please let me know. I don't want to wear little girl clothes for the rest of my life.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Lorna said...

loved the guest writer! MORE please :)

1:03 PM  
Anonymous kate setzer kamphausen said...

My rule is: If you don't LOVE it, don't buy it.

Why buy things that won't make you feel fabulous? This way, even when they fade and fray, you can turn them into cleaning/workout/studio clothes that STILL make you feel fabulous.

4:04 PM  

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