Money & The Economy

Optimizing Your Dollar: It’s Not Used; It’s Retro

Isn’t it nice when being stylish is also being economical? This week as you look for ways to optimize your dollar think optimize your dollar 1about ‘used’ clothes. Thrift stores and consignment shops have lost their negative connotations, instead becoming the new trendy way to shop. Here are several ideas for your consideration.

When my son was born we had a neighborhood second-hand shop where one could pick up baby clothes for a quarter the original price. My friend, who introduced me to the shop, helped me realize that babies often outgrow their clothes, sometimes even before they’ve been worn. We found many cute outfits for practically nothing.

The timing between my son and my sister’s oldest introduced me to yet another way to save as I was able to pack up many of my son’s outgrown clothes passing them on to my nephew. A few years later, when my daughter was born, sis passed back the hardly worn outfits and a cycle was born. We shared clothes until my daughter finally realized she was wearing ‘boy jeans’ which she didn’t think was appropriate.

Sporting her most popular vintage dress

Today, used clothes are considered vintage, unique and one of a kind garments. Fortunately for us, my sister switched from sharing the boys hand-me-downs to her own. As my daughter grew she regularly inherited distinctive items from my sister’s closet.  There were many pluses to these classic outfits, key among them to a teenager, that no one else would be wearing the same thing. And more exciting to her is when someone would compliment a dress; wanting to know where she found it…She loved explaining that her outfit was vintage and not available at the local store. Nothing like being a teen fashionista and knowing no one else can copy you.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the down economy but a ‘find’ from a thrift shop has become a trendy bragging point.  Rather than being uncomfortable revealing their shopping habits, family and friends are choosing to share their great deals.  Just last month visiting family divulged they had found much sought after, and generally high dollar, area sports shirts for a super bargain price at the local resale store. Another friend enthusiastically disclosed that she always searched for high dollar brand name jeans at the consignment shop first.

Recently my daughter was noting a cute outfit worn by a friend. The friend was eager to tell her that she and her mom had gone ‘thrift store shopping’ over the weekend. She got her whole coordinated look for just $12. As the friend told my daughter, “They’re not used; they’re retro.”

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Teresa Wendt

A stay at home mom who runs a household, manages the finances, cares for a young adult autistic son, and cooks from scratch. Traveling from Arizona to Alaska summer of 2013. Visit my blog at and follow along.

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One Comment

  1. What a ‘fun’ post!! I’ve indulged my champange appetite on my cheap beer income for ages! A decade or so ago, before it was vogue or ‘retro’ when I was asked “where did I get my clothes” I always smiled & said “You just need to know where to look.” There was one high end shop. I’d buy from, wear the item for awhile, take it back for ‘credit’ or get a new(er) one.. They knew me so well that when they got something they thought I’d like, they called me!! Later on I actually managed a SA retail outlet. I left par of very paycheck there, but met some of the nicest people by the ‘discount rack”.

    I laughed out loud at the “not used, retro” line. My twin sister (I’m the smart one) that would never ever allow her children to wear ‘somebody else’s clothes called a couple of weeks ago to tell me she & her granddaughter had the ‘best’ time when they went “nickle dipping” at some local shops in Apple Valley…think of all the fun & bargins she’s missed over the years.

    This was a delightful commentary & a ‘relief’ from all the ‘uglies’ we’re confronted with. These ‘economical’ exchanges are helpful as well. One good idea is sometimes all we need to help us through rough times.

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