A&E

The Art of Thrift Shopping: A reflection on how thrift shopping is a form of expression.

      A major part of art is curation. It’s bringing together different components like colors, textures and style, and combining them all to create something beautiful and expressive. Though I’m not very good at painting, drawing, or any other fine art, I do know how to shop.

      In some ways, thrift stores are like art supplies shops. You never know what you’ll find, but there are more varied textures and shapes and patterns than you would ever expect. When I go thrift shopping, I tend to look for pieces that I don’t see in chain stores or on other people. Instead, I try to curate a unique wardrobe that I feel like expresses my personality accurately.

      Thrift stores can be full of potentially wonderful items, but you have to dig for them. You have to go through layers of stained t-shirts, discarded underwear, and clothing that honestly should have gone into the trash. But once you get past all of that, there are often fun and affordable finds just waiting for someone to scoop them up.

      One of my favorite thrifting finds is a pair of shoes. I’m not even sure what to call them, because I’ve never seen anything like them anywhere else. They’re bulky and suede, with soles around three inches off the ground. When I fished them off the rack at my local Goodwill, my friends begged me not to buy them. They grimaced when I told them that I loved them.

      Despite their disapproving comments, I bought the shoes. I had never seen them anywhere before, and I knew that they could be a unique and personal touch to any outfit. After that day, I wore the shoes constantly. Yeah, it took a special kind of outfit to make them work and I teetered when I walked, but when I wore them I felt cool and confident.

      A part of thrift shopping is having the bravery to do something unconventional. To wear shoes your friends all say are ugly, or to rock a jacket that clashes with everything else you own. Thrift shopping presents you with the opportunity to do something daring and odd with almost no risk. Instead of dropping half a paycheck on something you’re not positive you’ll ever wear, you get to find those same special items for a fraction of the price.

      Thrift shopping is about the thrill of the hunt and an openness to the weird. If you go into a thrift store with a willingness to try something out of your comfort zone, you’re almost certainly going to find something for you. It could be something you’ve been looking for or something you’d never before imagined, but whatever it is, I hope it makes you feel like a work of art.

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