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A Serious Look at Second-Hand Chic!

The latest trend among young folk involves sporting vintage clothing and accessories in a modern way.

It requires of this fashion-oriented population two things: the ability to pull off high-waisted jeans and a bow-tie, and the desire to fit into a crowd that claims its purpose is to stand out.

In short– The Thrift Shoppe is now the new Abercrombie.

Although it is a trend I support, in terms of charity and reuse, it is not necessarily one I support without some bitterness.

For some reason, this recycling trend has become a symbol of vogue and a gauge of sophistication. It has somehow shaped today’s desired look into an effortless made-to-look-worn wannabe-vintage style. The humble, self-certified appraisers of said look selectively dole out the honorary title of “hipster” to those most dedicated to exerting effort into looking effortless.

Here’s where I hit some dissonance. My entire life’s wardrobe is made up of 80% secondhand clothing. Don’t get me wrong, I too went through that over-priced Hollister tee-shirt phase. But never have I shopped at Goodwill and Plato’s Closet because it was the trendy thing to do.

I have never minded buying nearly-new sandals or a jacket worn by someone else. If something isn’t broken, it’s always just made sense to use or wear it– no matter how lengthy the list of previous owners or how congruent the piece to current trends.

It might surprise you, but the Fox Cities has a handful of great places to score secondhand clothing.

  • Fox Valley Thrift Shoppe: Even though it (and maybe some of the stuff in it) has been there forever, the Thrift Shoppe in Appleton always promises hidden gems like a kickin’ set of new roller skates or a perfectly decent Halloween costume.
  • Goodwill (http://www.goodwillncw.org/): If you’re looking for basic clothing staples like dress pants or button-downs, the Goodwill in Menasha is the place to go. Whenever I’m in need of a plain black shirt or a new-old cardigan at bargain price, I always check this store first.
  • Beatnik Betty’s (https://www.facebook.com/BeatnikBettys): Although on the pricier end of thrift store bargains, Beatnik Betty’s offers special, hand-selected vintage pieces with wide-ranging history. To find those keystone accessories or pops of color that complete an outfit, this secondhand boutique is your best bet.

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Secondhand shopping is not only a great way to save money and–depending on the organization–support a good cause, it promotes a more sustainable way of living. Much like utilizing recycled materials at Urban Evolutions, wearing secondhand clothes can save resources in the production of new clothes and ultimately give unwanted jackets or blouses the chance at a new life.

Some have deemed me among the “hipster” crowd for my unwavering enthusiasm towards thrifting and all it has to offer. It is not necessarily a title I hold affection for.

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I shop secondhand because it instills in me a drive to be resourceful rather than wasteful. I buy and wear previously worn clothes to put materialistic tendencies into perspective. Although the current trend does exactly the opposite, I have faith that those who buy secondhand solely to fit the current look will some day shop at thrift stores to save money and support a more sustainable lifestyle.

It just makes sense.

–Siri Pairin

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