By Asirah Binti Abdul Kadir
Go on YouTube and search up “Thrift Haul” and it’ll be an endless scroll to the bottom of the page. Thrifting is becoming a growing trend among the youth of today, thanks to the internet. Some thrift for the fun of it, some do it because they’re a reseller and some opt for buying second hand because it’s a great way to reduce waste in our planet. You might’ve also been interested in thrifting which is why you clicked on this post, right? And I’m sure you have some questions about it. Well, here’s some common misconceptions about thrifting that we’re going to debunk today.
- It’s Hard to Find Anything Good.
FICTION: Here’s a common misconception that people have. They tend to view the clothes in thrift stores to be old, stale and drabby as if you were walking into an ordinary grandma’s closet and most of the time, that’s true. However, to claim that it’s hard to find anything good in thrift stores is unfair. Most people who say so have zero understanding of the art of patiently flipping through every rack and clothing hanger. You can’t walk into a thrift shop and expect it to look like a H&M store.
I’ve been to thrift stores located in Kuala Lumpur all the way up to Kedah and let me tell you, each store has something to offer whether it’s 90s graphic t-shirts, school sweaters, 60s bootcut Levi’s jeans or even funky 80s boiler suit. I’ve copped a Champion Polo shirt for RM5! I mean, check out @poorlycurated on Instagram. She resells extraordinary pieces that she finds in thrift stores. Truth is, all you need is a little patience (or maybe a lot if you’re going to a warehouse) and lower your expectations. Don’t go in with your mind set on looking for a specific item or you’ll just be disappointed. Remember, it’s a thrift store not a Forever 21.
- Thrift Stores are Dirty.
FICTION: Another myth I’d like to debunk. Though it may not be all glitz and glam in there, most of the time it’s a big warehouse or small stores with vintage clothes lined up in sections and no fun mirrors or aesthetic neon signs. But that doesn’t equate to it being a dump site. In fact, I find thrift stores much more organized than retail stores with blouses lined up on one side and straight cut pants on the other. Sure, it may be a little bit dusty in there but you can be sure that you’ll never encounter Remy and if you do, leave for that sole thrift store is not safe. However, that one fictional scenario does not speak for all thrift stores. Most thrift stores nowadays wash their clothes before hanging them on the rack, especially the fancier ones like Ok Go but if you’re still skeptical on how clean your vintage Nike sweater is, just pop it in the washing machine when you get home and carry a hand sanitizer with you on your next thrift trip.
Figure 2: Credits to @therunwayrookie on Instagram
- Thrift Stores are Smelly.
FACT: Ok, yes, I’d have to admit, it does smell a little bit funky in there sometimes especially if you’re new to the thrifting game. The scent of old, musty clothes can be a brow raiser to some people but know that thrift stores hold clothes from every era so it’s like digging at the bottom of your closet and finding an old t-shirt from 2013, it has a peculiar scent doesn’t it? On the contrary, thrift stores that smell odd are usually the ones in the outskirts without proper ventilation, so the musk gets trapped in the store but if you go to the newer ones with air conditioning and air freshener, it’s like walking into an Ambi Pur advertisement set. So, just brace yourself on your first few visits to the thrift store and don’t let the smell rip you away from your chance of finding some vintage Tommy Hilfiger pieces.
- Some Thrift Stores are Expensive
FACT: I mean, it’s a classic case of the trendier it gets, the more we should hike up the prices, right? With the thrifting business not being a major industry in the country, low competition allows some stores to take advantage of this growing cult following by marking ridiculous prices for a pair of really worn and torn Levi’s jeans. However, to the defense of some slightly pricey thrift stores, higher prices equals higher quality, rare and branded finds that are specially curated by the sellers themselves. So, you’re not only paying for the history of the clothes but you’re also paying for the sweat and tears of the curators who dig high and low for that vintage find.
Fear not! If you’re a broke college kid like me, there’s a bunch of thrift stores or most commonly known as bundles here in the great land of Malaysia that offer cheap yet interesting clothes. Most of the clothes range from RM5 to RM20 depending on the quality and brand. Oh, and yes, you can find them in KL and Selangor. One of my personal favourites is JBR Bundle in Damansara as it’s huge and not only do they offer clothing, they also sell vintage house décor that probably could belong in the Call Me By Your Name villa and old film cameras.
- Thrift Stores are For People with Vintage Clothing Aesthetic
FICTION: While it’s true that clothes in thrift stores are mostly from the flower child and butterfly clips era, hence why it fits well for those with a more vintage style, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find something that’ll fit your style, whatever it may be. It all depends on how you view the piece and style around it. Major thrift stores usually sell every kind of clothing from Hawaiian shirts to bell-bottom jeans so really you can get (almost) everything in there. Only the ones that are specially curated are a little bit more specific which is great if you want to scrap out the hours of going through piles over piles of clothes just to find a puffy 80s windbreaker.
Figure 3: Credits to Pinterest
That’s a wrap on the debunking scene of thrift stores and I hope that this has intrigued you to explore the art of thrifting yourself.