Thrifting takes practice. Since I practice thrifting far more than I’ve ever practiced any sport, activity, or musical instrument, I’ve gotten pretty good at it (my guitar, meanwhile, sits stringless in my parents’ basement). As with any sport or practice, there should always be new challenges to try and and new levels to reach. For example, I someday hope to go to yoga and not laugh laugh like a loser when someone involuntarily passes gas (actually, that’s a life goal: don’t laugh at farts or fart jokes).
BACK to the point of the matter: If you’re a thrifter, there are several milestones on the way to masterful thriftdom: Thrift something high-end for the first time, learn to spot good vintage, work the sales days to your benefit, all that jazz. But perhaps the greatest example of a a truly seasoned thrifter is the ability to thrift for other people. I don’t just mean thrifting something intentionally awful for the staff party Christmas gift exchange, I mean thrifting something that you know the recipient with A) fit and B) love.
Well, lucky for me, I’m friends with one of the most accomplished thrifters this side of the border (and likely beyond it, too). Jentine thrifted this lovely, vintage, emerald dress for my birthday from Revolving Closet on Ottawa Street, and she totally nailed it. She thought about my style, she thought about my size, and she resisted the temptation to keep it for herself, even though she said she wanted to.
If you, too, love the idea of a thrifted gift, but are intimidated, you can always do what my sister Laura did, and just shadow me while I thrift, then offer to buy the first thing I really like. That’s just what happened with the citrus Aldo purse on my shoulder. I saw it on the mannequin, said “I LOVE THAT” and she said “Cool. It’s your birthday present.”
On the same trip my sister bought me that purse, I also took on the challenge of buying a gift for my husband. Matt and I don’t always agree on items of decor, but I took a chance this time around, and it paid off. As I was digging through the back shelves of the Sally Anne, I came upon a framed print entitled “The Art of Making Money Plenty.” I was nuts about the typography and adorable illustrations, and when I looked at the “translation” on the back, I thought it would be perfect for Matt’s office:
At this time when the general complaint is that money is so scarce it must be an act of kindness to inform the moneyless how they can reinforce their pockets. I will acquaint all with the true secret of money catching, the certain way to fill empty purses and how to keep them always full. Two simple rules well observed will do the business:
1st. Let honesty and labor be thy constant companions;
2nd. Spend one penny every day less than thy clear gains.
Then shall thy pockets soon begin to thrive, thy creditors will never insult thee, nor want oppress, nor hunger bite, nor nakedness freeze thee. The whole hemisphere will shine brighter, and pleasure spring up in every corner of thy heart.
Now thereby embrace these rules and be happy.
So B. Frank suggests these basic tenets for business: Work hard, be honest, and don’t spend more than you have. I can tell you from monthly Mint meetings with Matt, that is his jam right there. He hung the print in his office that very afternoon.
This visual riddle was illustrated by Samuel S. Kilburn, Jr., and published in Gleason’s Pictorial, an illustrated magazine, in 1854. It’s rare to find something that Matt and I so equally appreciate: He loves the sentiment, I love the glimpse into the past this print gives us. Apparently, illustrated magazines were all the rage back then. Sure, people are doing pretty groovy things with iPad mags these days, but the description of the pictorial makes me yearn for days of yore just a bit:
The object of this paper is to present, in the most elegant and available form, a weekly literary melange of notable events of the day. Its columns are devoted to original tales, sketches, and poems, by the best American authors, and the cream of the domestic and foreign news; the whole well spiced with wit and humor.
That sounds like something worth paying for, right? I should mention that had I thrifted this engraving (Holy Dollar Signs Batman!) of the same illustration, Matt’s office walls would be empty, but we’d almost certainly have some really nice new couches.
Anyways, I suppose the real takeaway from this dress, purse, and print is that thrifting, like so many things in life, is something best appreciated when shared with people you love. Now everybody saw “awwwww.”
Dress: Revolving Closet | Gift Purse: Salvation Army | Gift Shoes: Salvation Army | $3.99 Bracelets: Cuba and Africa!