I have been having this conversation with my sister lately that goes something like this:
Her: Hey, that's cute, where did you get that?
Me: Oh, that consignment store.
Her: Ack (I'm not sure how this sound is supposed to be spelled, but it's the sound that you make when you are expressing admiration and disbelief at the same time.)
"That consignment store" is how I refer to My Secret Closet, which I think is a very silly name, to the point of being embarassing to say. What is not embarassing is finding really nice items for a very low price. I have been doing the second-hand thing for about a year, and I don't think I will ever really be able to give it up. Consider: I'm sure you all remember my most recent shopping conundrum, the need for a school bag. I appreciated everyone's suggestions, and found some lovely specimins on ebay, but decided to check out the consignment store to see what they had. I found a Liz Claiborne leather tote for $20. After applying my credit from my items that had recently sold, the bag cost $10. It's not the perfect bag - it's a bit trendy, but it is the perfect piece for right now.
I have bought several items from the consignment store, including my current favorite thing - my brown leather Ralph Lauren purse for $22. And I don't stop at the consignment store. I do it. I go to Goodwill. I know that there are mixed feelings out there about Goodwill. On the one hand, it can feel a bit icky. Unlike the consignment store, items are not tastefully displayed. They are packed on racks under harsh lighting. Goodwill requires courage and a bit of determination. On the other hand, that courage and determination can pay off. Like the lovely dress pictured above. It is an Isaac Mizrahi for Target. It has beautiful draping and pleating, a lovely print lining, and a layer of net tulle that causes the skirt to flare in that delightful 1950s style. It is beautifully made. It cost me $5. That's right, for the price of a magazine, I got a dress. There are drawbacks of course. It is a bit large in the top, but nothing that my seam ripper and sewing machine can't make short work of. It looks lovely with a garden green cardigan and brown leather belt.
Second-hand shopping is rewarding not just because of that thrill of discovery, and the satisfaction of saving tons of money, but also because it eases my conscience. I wrote a while back on some things I had learned about where clothes come from and who makes them. I wasn't very happy about it. Buying things that are second-hand allows me to maintain a decent wardrobe without directly contributing to that process. It's like recycling... but more satisfying!