Monday, November 5, 2012

Thrifting in Vancouver

I love a good thrift store, but it seems like in the last 5-10 years thrift stores in general have become an entirely over-priced operation.  Even Salvation Army stores, which are supposed to be the cheapest of the cheap, seem like they began charging double-to-triple what they should be for the simplest of things.

When I was growing up in Pittsfield, Mallory loved shopping and was thrifting long before it was trendy. The Salvation Army store was priced well and was enormous - basically the kind of place you could (and totally should) spend hours in, where leaving with an armload of goodies didn't necessarily mean leaving with any spending regret.

Fast forward to 2002-2006 and the UMass Amherst/Hadley, MA area, and the mega Salvation Army store on Route 9 was the Disney World of thrift shops... but I couldn't help but notice that items that would normally have cost $4 in Pittsfield were costing $9 in Hadley. Still cheap, sure. But WTF.

Fast forward even further to 2012 in Portland, OR - home of the die-hard hipster who insists upon referring to thrift stores as "boutiques" and gladly shells out $20 for a used blouse if it means that they'll look "cool" (i.e. "exactly like everyone else"). Even the Goodwill in Portland was selling items for what seemed to be just shy of their original sales prices. Everyone around me seemed unfazed, even encouraged, by the prices. I personally wasn't buying it. Literally, I wasn't buying that stuff, it was too expensive for used clothes.

Here I am now in Vancouver, BC - one of the most expensive places I've ever lived - and the Salvation Army on 4th Ave would surely follow the same over-priced trends of all the other Salvays I've been to in the last decade, right?

Holy surprise face, Batman. Sometimes it's awesome to be wrong.

The Salvay on 4th is the most reasonably priced thrift store that I've been to since the 90s. I've been to this store twice now - once while Dave was away (he's home now!) and once this past Friday afternoon with Dave in tow.

On my first trip, I only allowed myself to buy 3 things, but I really wanted to buy several more once I saw the prices. There were tons of CDs, DVDs, (awesomely useless) VHSs, dishes, shoes, electronics, knick-knacks, books, clothes for men/women/kids.... but what really caught my eye and won both my attention and respect... was the selection of purses at this place. In. Credible. All styles, all colors - and color-coordinated a la TJ Maxx/Marshall's. I wanted to own at least half of them.

At one point I blacked out, and when I came to there were three purses in my hands. Oops! Even with their super cheap prices, I couldn't really justify purchasing three new purses with my limited social life, so I put two of them back on the rack (don't be fooled, I bought one of the two 'extra' bags on Friday when I went back).

Here's what I left with after my first trip:

- This blue purse from Chinese Laundry. It's a soft material, with brown stitching detail on the seams, silver ring/flat studs hardware, some side ruching, a top zipper closure and a retro-meets-modern feel. This little bag later surprised me with its capability of fitting one of those collapsible umbrellas inside. Only $4.99!

.   chinese laundry purse  .
.  ooh.  aah  .
Once I backed away from the purse section and poked through the clothing racks, I came away with a couple other goodies:

- This dusty blue blouse from Propaganda that ties in back, with pleating detail and silver buttons in front, only $5.99:

.  someone needs a good steaming, eh?  . 
.  these are buttons. they are silver  .
- And this grey sweater dress with fun poms, from the brand ONLY, just $6.99. It's a little juvenile, but with leggings, a cardigan and some exciting earrings, I'ma rock this shit out of this in the winter:

.  poms on poms on poms  .
On Friday when I returned to Salvay with David, I snagged a couple more things. One of them was a purse that I'd talked myself out of purchasing on my first trip. David of all people was the one who said I should buy it because it was so cheaps! I bet you wouldn't expect that he can be a horrible enabler sometimes, when it comes to shopping.

I really liked this structured, blue retro purse because it looks like a tiny duffle bag or weekend bag! It's made by Estée Lauder so I assume it's actually intended as a makeup bag, but I like the idea of using a tiny looking duffle bag as a purse. It was only $3.99 so (as David pointed out) why wouldn't I buy it?

.  i am a tiny little duffle bag  . 
.  here i am close up  . 
- A pastel pink and white checked long sleeve button up shirt by the brand Alfred Sung. I love button-ups nowadays and pink makes me feel like a fairy dandelion chocolate chip angel princess, sooo.... A mere $5.99 later and this now belongs to me:
.  don't mind the wrinkles, they came with the shirt  . 
.  what delicate women with bouquets of daisies and excellent table manners wear, i think .
So that was my Tale of Two Salvay Trips. The ultimate point is that you should all come to Vancouver and head straight to 4th Ave with me. I'll try to leave some purses here for you, but you've gotta come quick!

Furthermore, this is a good time:

{Side note: Do you watch Workaholics?  It's a hysterical show and the creators have impeccable taste in music. That's where I heard the above song!}

1 comment:

  1. OMG - that's amazing. The thrift stores around here are either suuuuuper junky or too expensive. Exciting you found an awesome perk to Canada!!!


Leave me some love!