Alysse Bryson

The Art of Thrift Shopping: One Seattleites mission to shop sustainability and find good junk that turns into a treasure

The Art of Thrift Shopping,  one man’s trash is my pop culture treasure. I love to shop. Correction, I love to hunt for treasures. There’s something about finding an item at a really great deal that gets my juices flowing. Earlier this year in an effort to give up online shopping, I decided to give myself a weekly budget that I could use thrifting. It made me feel like I was being a very sustainable citizen and finding homes for items others no longer wanted. Once a week I drop by the Seattle Goodwill on Dearborn and the Mercer Island Thrift Shop down the hill from my house and scan the aisles for things I love. I feel like I have a really good eye for it. Or perhaps it’s because I go so frequently, my odds of finding treasures increases.

Take for instance the $0.99 cents vintage Esprit bag I found at the Goodwill in Lewis County. WHO ON EARTH could ever part with such a treasure? I know I could resell it on ebay and make a quick $200 bucks, but I won’t because it’s the exact same Esprit bag I had as a teenager. Then there was the day I found the Sex & the City Trivia game in it’s original packaging. Now that was a real find. Within days I found myself playing with a friend only to find out how HARD that game is. And I’ve seen every episode of every season multiple times. That started my thrifting game collection and I have now added gems like ET playing cards, Friends DVD Trivia, Saved by the Bell the board game, and Juicy Couture Monopoly. (Yes, you read that right) Also, if you’re reading this and we are friends, please note that a 90’s themed party is on the horizon. You know I love a good theme party.

My real thrill has been thrifting for my new baby nephew, Bryson Michael DesRault. My sister and her husband live across the country in New York, so I’ve deemed myself Bryson’s aunt and personal baby stylist. I find comfort knowing when my sister takes the baby out on the town, and friends and even strangers gush at how cute he is and how cute his outfit is, she has to mention me when they comment on the outfit. And boom! It’s like I’m right there too. Plus, baby clothes are ridiculously fun to shop for. First of all, they are usually in extremely good condition, because they’ve probably only been worn a few times. Secondly, I have a really good eye for certain brands. I can walk quickly down an aisle crammed with clothing and spot the right fabrics. I have similar luck in the baby shoe aisle as you can see with the baby Adidas and Baby Puma’s. And for the record, putting “baby” in front of anything increases it’s cute factor 50%.

I’ve also had really good luck finding designer shoes. Now some of my friends get a little grossed out by this, but it doesn’t bother me. I clean them up the best I can and try to imagine the owner before me had beautiful, pedicured feet. My collection to date includes Christian Louboutin black peep toed pumps, a pointy pair of black Manolo Blahik’s, a pair of gorgeous Prada open toe heels that are designed with a beautiful burgundy and gold tapestry type of fabric, a pair of cream AGL sandals (that are currently still on sale at Nordstrom), Madewell boots, a fun pair of Jimmy Choo black pumps, and my new favorite Dansko red tennis shoes that had never been worn. (Yes, I just said Dansko. I’m surprised too but this pair is stylish, cute, and like walking on marshmallows)

My tips on thrifting include going frequently, finding two to three thrift stores that you have good luck at and that are also near upscale neighborhoods. I don’t find something every time I go and that’s ok. I also try to take things to drop off as frequently as possible so I don’t end up on a future episode of Hoarders. It also helps if you’re someone like me that loves pinning fashion pieces on Pinterest, catalogue shopping, and online browsing. When I know the brands I like and I know them well, it’s easier to find those pieces when I’m thrifting. I also find that going at times where the thrift store has slower foot traffic or first thing in the morning works well. Much like airfare ticket sales, Tuesday’s also tend to be good days for thrifting. My son recently moved into his first apartment with friends and we did quite a bit of thrifting to get his kitchen ready. You’d be surprised at the quality of items that are being donated these days, you just have to be willing to hunt for them.

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