I’ve grown up wearing hand-me-downs from my mom and aunt, so second-hand and vintage shopping was never appealing to me in my younger years. However as I’ve grown-up, I’ve become much more drawn to items with a story behind them. I don’t always remember yet another shirt from H&M, but I always remember a piece I fished out of a dingy sale bin somewhere. Some of the best things I own were found at various thrift stores!
A little while ago I was out for a lunch break and was just going for a walk around Yaletown, when I stumbled upon My Sister’s Closet. It doesn’t look too appealing from first glance, but I never shy away from really getting down and dirty and rummaging through piles of old clothes in search of a treasure. This time I found my treasure in the form of a red denim Ralph Lauren jacket in perfect condition (with exception of some stains on the shoulder that came off in the wash) for $5.
I bought it instantly. It was XL, but I like the oversized fit. Since this whole thing took me approximately 2.5 minutes (from spotting it on the rack, to walking away wearing it), I decided to continue my walk. On my lunch breaks I’ve developed a strategic path hitting all my favourite stores - Brandy Melville, Oak+Fort, Urban Outfitters. As I walked into UO, the first thing I saw hanging was a basically identical red denim jacket, but for $94 (now on sale for $59).
This was truly a magical coincidence and made me fall that much more in love with second-hand shopping.
The benefits outweigh the cost by far:
It’s unpredictable: Yes, it can be quite dull if all you see is garbage. But once you find that one special item, it’s suddenly all worth it!
It’s an activity: Make a day out of it! I can spend hours in a meditative state just digging through stuff. It can also be fun with a friend- you can discuss your finds over drinks later.
- It’s saving the planet: an obvious one...REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, RIHANNA!
- It’s unique: no one else will be wearing the same thing as you on your morning commute to work.
- It’s supporting local businesses: And what’s better than that?
Vancouver is full of amazing vintage stores and markets. Some of my favourites include the Eastside Flea (one of the best markets in Vancouver - excellent selection of vintage and locally made goods and there's a bar), Mintage (a bit pricey so I mostly go there to look for inspiration), Front & Company (so many knickknacks!) and Community (located in Gastown so there are endless options for a snack/drink afterwards). However, if I’m being completely honest, some of the best things I’ve found have been from Value Village or random Hospice Society thrift stores. In those places you truly never know what you might find.
Happy hunting and please let me know of any other fun thrift stores in Vancouver!