Thrift Genius: A Prelude

What adolescence looked like
Hello, thrifty compatriots. If the shimmering walls of a local buy-sell-trade operation (BST from here on out, for brevity) are thus far unknown to you…then I will take a brief hiatus from modesty and say that I am about to give you one of shopping’s greatest gifts. Obliquely, and via personal anecdote.
As a youth (possessing very questionable fashion taste), much of my time was spent crawling around the malls, broke after buying a sale item from Abercrombie & Fitch, and jittery from eating two and a half pounds of candy from The Sweet Factory. Obviously, good for neither one’s sartorial future nor one’s health. It was a revelation, therefore, when I was introduced to the BSTs of Broadway, back when there was a Crossroads Trading Co., a Red Light Vintage, a Buffalo Exchange and an Atlas Trading Co. all neat and cozy within a three block space of each other (the first two still remain).
Delicious clothes, the majority of them stylish, in great condition, with wild variety and…priced at maybe a quarter of the cost of a retail garment. Managed by purchasing from the public their “gently used” and still fashionable togs at an even smaller fraction for cash or trade value.  Brilliant! Who wouldn’t want to support a business so effectively turning what would otherwise be waste into profitable recycling, and locally to boot?
Artist’s rendering
“Affordable fashion” most certainly did not translate to “good fashion choices” as a youth, but that is what your youth is for, I suppose: buying matching floor-length skirts with your bestie. One of them a dank army green, the other a steely blue gray. Both made out of parachute material. With a slit up to the knee, on both sides, and a kangaroo pocket on the front. Like a sweatshirt pocket, but for your pelvis.
I like to think that my taste has evolved for the better (or at least a little less blindly experimental) and the BSTs have been there for me all along. I recently decided that I am real GD tired of trends and trying to keep up with them, and that the only thing that happens when I do is parachute skirts and resentment. But…I do love fashion, with all its transformative powers and, not to get too meta on y’all, the intersection between utility and self-representation. Thesis to follow.
Stay tuned, and your trusty editorial team will take you on a fancy shopping trip unto the hallowed ground of our favorite haunt, Buffalo Exchange!


This appeared on my Facebook after I posted a link to the blog, from aforementioned bestie:


4 thoughts on “Thrift Genius: A Prelude

  1. Maybe this is why I don't wear skirts anymore. I also owned an Urban Outfitter's sale reject with four different panels of "ethnic" patterns in magenta, orange, red and yellow.

  2. oh, how i heart the image of your tween self! also, drove past two consignment shops in west sleazy yesterday–Funky Janes and Cherry *something*. have you heard of either? west seattle thrifting field trip??

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