We came, we saw, we thrifted

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First, sorry about that silent period. WINOW was down for several days due to technical issues, but we're back now and hopefully won't be down again (at least not for long).

But on to more important issues: I finally had a really really great thrift trip! My friends visited last week, and we took a mid-week trip to Unique Thrift Store in Falls Church (2956 Gallows Rd., open 10-8 Monday-Saturday and 11-6 Sunday). I've been to Unique twice before. The first time was a bust, the second I scored a nice haul of ramekins, napkins, and books. This time, though, was the mother lode.

lThe friends I was thrifting with did well too, and I promised I'd blog their finds as well. I don't remember what they paid, since I don't have their receipt, but what you see here is (clockwise from top left): a cool pair of black scrub pants with a scissors pocket (one friend is a doctor and she was jazzed about these); a super cute black sweater dress; a World Wildlife Federation water bottle; a metallic clubby type dress; a dri-fit shirt; and five books (four paperbacks, one hard cover). The books I know were super inexpensive--between $.69 and $1.99 each, I believe.

My haul was even more impressive (plus I can tell you more about it!). Clockwise from top left: a cute lavender and black plaid flannel shirt with snaps ($3.99); a gorgeous, new with tags silk dress by Jonathan Martin ($24.99, and one of the most expensive pieces of clothing I have ever thrifted); a workout hoodie with a ruffled hood by Lucy ($4.99, and SO comfortable I've barely taken it off since I washed it); a set of four new Crate & Barrel napkins in a great retro pattern ($4.99); a beautiful brown wool, fully lined, houndstooth skirt by Harve Benard ($4.99); three paperback books (between $.69 an $1.19 each); a gorgeous wool Banana Repubic pencil skirt in the ellusive size 16 tall ($5.99); a Patagonia fleece neckwarmer ($.49); and a pair of fleece socks ($1.99). Total with tax was right around $60.

So what's the secret? Well, first off, previous trips to Unique found me looking in the wrong section for clothes for myself. Unique separates clothes into Small-Medium-Large-Extra Large. I assumed my size 14/16 stuff would be XL. They call it large. Knowing that will certainly improve future trips. Unique is large and overwhelming--there is a lot of stuff there, most of it is crap, and some of it is weirdly overpriced. If this trip is any indication of the typical quality you can find, though, it's going to become my new go-to.

As a little thought experiment, I decided to try to figure out how much it would have cost to buy the things I bought new. Obviously I can't price those exact items, but I can look at similar ones. So let's see.

First, the plaid flannel shirt. The brand on it is Outdoor Exchange. I've never heard of that brand, so I Googled it, and I couldn't find anything. It's a nice shirt, pretty heavyweight, so I think something similar would probably be Carhartt. A mid-weight flannel shirt for women at Carhartt is regular priced $40.

The dress is by Jonathan Martin. A web search for a silk dress of that brand led me to Overstock, where they're selling a Jonathan Martin dresses, most of which are poly blends, for $30-$50. Since mine's silk, we'll call it $45.

Lucy workout hoodies are expensive! The style I bought isn't on their site, but the ones that are range from $48-$118. Assuming the one I got is mid-range, it would be $83. Close enough.

Crate & Barrel sells their napkins for $3-$8 each, or $16.95 for sets of four. Again, the ones I got aren't there anymore, but there are some similar ones.

I thought Harve Benard was a fancy brand, but it turns out it's sold at Sears. Still, the skirt I bought seems to be very good quality. Nothing they have currently on the Sears website resembles it in the least--no wool, for one thing. Everything I found online that looked remotely similar was at least $60, so I'm calling the skirt I got $50.

Unlike the clothes, the books are all in "used" condition (clothes are all new or like new), so I'm gonna go with Amazon Marketplace values for those. Those values are $1.79, $.97, and $.97.

The Banana Republic skirt actually is still on their website! And it's $79.50.

Patagonia sells their fleece neck warmers for $25

Finally, the most colorful fleece socks are $15-$20 per pair for adults, depending on the brand. Mine don't have a brand label, so I'll say $15.

So the total, if this stuff were bought retail, would be $358.18. Before tax. Even if I overestimated in some places, at least several times as much.

This isn't the only reason to thrift shop, but it is sure one of them.


Wow - what a great day you had! Do you think that maybe the secret to finding those great deals is to go mid-week? Maybe all the really great finds are gone by the weekend? Congrats on the successful haul!

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