Second hand is no longer second best. Consignment, resale and thrift store clothing is now a $12 billion a year juggernaut in America. One in six of us now shop second hand, from millennials to Baby Boomers – and even celebrities. We all see thrifted clothing as eco-friendly and offering more individual style than department store offerings. At thrift stores you can find vintage offerings, hand-sewn or knitted items and clothing from every decade.
Three serious thrifters, Allison Engel, Reise Moore and Margaret Engel, collaborated on an upcoming book, ThriftStyle: The Ultimate Bargain Shoppers’s Guide to Smart Fashion. (Publication date: Sept. 5, 2017, but available for pre-order now through Amazon, Target and Barnes & Noble’s websites.)
They were helped by a number of Hollywood and theater costume designers, who helped style and embellish some items, as well as a host of thrifting experts and shop owners from coast to coast whom the authors visited or interviewed by phone. More than 165 stores in multiple states were visited. In the book, the authors knocked off runway looks, took apart men’s jackets to demystify clues to quality and gave the lowdown on what labels are worth the hunt. Clothing items were taken to tailors, re-weavers, a professional dye house, cobblers and cleaning experts to give insider tips on repair and renovation.
An extensive resources chapter gives thrifters help on everything from mail order sources for trims to thrifting bus tours, vintage clothing shows and online thrift operations that accept your clothing postage-free and mail you back a check.
There are more than 350 photographs in the book, most taken by fashion and commercial photographer Roger Snider.
This blog includes a few items from the book, but primarily exists as an opportunity for the three of us to continue to share fabulous finds, give tutorials on repair and embellishment and build a community of diverse readers who have thrifting in common. Talk to us. Let us know about your thrifting “wins” and shops you love – and why.