"A fool and his money are soon parted."  
- Thomas Tusser, English Poet  

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Lessons in thrift

Thrift shops are packed right now with clothing from what I call "wishful spring cleaning".  This is the closet cleaning you do in late January, early February when you are sure that Spring is right around the corner and some of your cold weather clothes are boring you to death.  Off to the thrift shop they go.

In some of my recent thrift shopping I've found some beautiful pieces at a fraction of the price.  Two of my best finds were sweaters by Vince and Rag and Bone which easily sell full retail for over $300.  And I found them at Value Village.

Mind you, they did not fit me.  But surely, I thought, they will fit my daughter Zoe perfectly.  And here's where the problem began.

First, she's 18.  She has her own idea of what her style is and it doesn't always match with her 53 year old mother.  She doesn't like a batwing sweater.  The Vince sweater was a batwing.  She doesn't like a boatneck.  The Vince sweater had a boatneck.  Two strikes.  But I thought..."It's so beautiful, and it's Vince."  So I bought it.  For $17.99.  She didn't like it.

The Rag and Bone was next, at an amazing $9.99.  I actually looked around to see if anyone else realized this sweater was ONLY $9.99!  It was a gray and black double cashmere sweater so it looked like one sweater over the other.  Long and cozy.  Or so I thought.  Yes, it was long.  Ridiculously long on my daughter who is not tall.  And yes, cozy, but it looked like a bathrobe.

Needless to say, after spending about $30 I had two beautiful pieces that didn't fit and she didn't want.  I've since fixed that problem by giving them away to someone who will love them and look fabulous.

My point is this:  Unless you are SURE of a purchase you are making in a thrift shop (because you can't return it) and you are buying it for all the right reasons walk away.  Quickly.  

Yes, I found a "home" for these pieces.  And yes, it was "only" $30.  But who wants to waste money...any money for that matter?  Doesn't take long to add up 10 bad purchases at $30 to realize you've wasted quite a bit of cash.  And wait a minute, wouldn't 10 bad purchases have added up to one great sweater to love?  Hmm.... Now there's a thought.

I still love a bargain and I love a thrift shop.  But now I'm making sure that what I bring home is something I will love as well.  I hope you'll learn from me and do the same.  

Stay warm and cozy out there!


Patricia Gorham  |  206.231.4002  |  patricia@patriciagorham.com