Our Favorite Pastime - a How-to Book: Thrifting 101 by Elissa Stern
I had the pleasure of meeting Elissa Stern, author of Thrifting 101 at an amazing event last month called the Texas Style Council (@TxSc). Imagine a gathering of hundreds of women all who love to write about fashion and retail gathered in the same place! That place was the beautiful Blanton Museum of Art on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
Elissa helped promote the TxSC Events using social media and was on the most interesting panel on Creative Consumerism. She spoke and I immediately identified with her point of view.
In her slight New York accent she mentioned how she had been “thrifting” for years, starting back in New York City as a young teen, sorting through bins of donated sweaters to find one that was in style and fit. This is where my passion for consignment, thrifting and vintage clothes shopping began too - in the same stores in lower Manhattan as Elissa.
When she mentioned that she had a blog called Dress with Courage and a new book Thrifting 101, I wanted to read more.
Elissa’s premise is that Thrift Stores are not just for teenagers or families on a tight budget. They are perfect for treasure hunters - those of us who like to find a great deal and a bargain over purchasing at the mass merchandise stores. Thrifting takes some time but can be very worthwhile, especially to locate the good stuff.
In her book, Elissa gives practical advice on how to shop stores that feature used items:
- How to approach the browsing process in a large store -where there are endless aisles and thousands of items.
- How to look for quality items and fabrics.
- Her very practical advice on what to do when you cannot try an item on!
- Most importantly - check for stains, missing buttons, tears, stretched seams and faded fabric.
Thrift Stores can be amazing places to find vintage items - think beyond mom or grandma’s silk and beads. Elissa gives practical advice on how to identify items from each era such as vintage clothing from the 1960’s - including the first miniskirts, which are very stylish now.
Many younger gals might like clothing and shoes from the 1980’s - O.K. thinking about this time period I feel old - I was a teenager and college student in that decade. Perhaps that power suit I wore to my first job interview in ‘89 can be found again? Glitzy beaded dresses like the ones on TV’s Dallas and Dynasty come from that era too!
Some thrift stores do not typically have the staff to check all items that are donated. All items are sold as is.
If shopping at the Salvation Army or Goodwill is not for you, Elissa mentions that Consignment Stores hand-select what we sell and that’s certainly the case with Little Green Beans. In Austin, we have a soft spot for Assistance League of Austin’s Thrift House - where I was a volunteer for many years.
Enjoy this great new book and learn more about how to treasure hunt!