Today, my mom and I took full advantage of our vacation. It was a beautiful day, so we took her Mustang convertible and put the top down. We had a few goals for the day: we wanted to go rollerblading around the empty campground at Hammonasset State Park in Madison,and we wanted to get something eco-fabulous to wear to the environmentally friendly fashion show at my school on Earth Day, April 22. We decided that the best route to take to get nice and inexpensive clothes was to go to thrift shops. This was my first trip to a thrift shop, and I have to say that I had never really considered shopping at a thrift shop before. I was not really interested in wearing people’s old clothes… kind of gross in my mind. (Let’s remember I have both a B.S. and M.S. in Biology, so the thought of where those clothes had been and what could be living in/on them was always pretty vivid for me.) But then I thought about it more: the stores we were planning to go to were in pretty affluent places, and I’m sure most of the clothes had only been worn a few times, if at all. I could rationalize that it was the same as buying clothes that some people had tried on in the store before me. OK, I was game to try it.
We started at Act II, a thrift shop in Madison. My mom found a simple, classy black dress for only $19. Although the shop had some nice items, there was nothing that caught my eye. I’m not the kind of person to spend money on a lot of clothes I don’t need, so I didn’t buy anything.
While in Madison, we decided to get in some rollerblading at Hammonasset. The park is closed, which means you can still get in but you don’t have to pay and there are no campers there, so there’s no traffic on the paved campground roads. Lots of people go there to rollerblade, ride bikes, walk or run. We saw a bunch of families on vacation from school getting out to enjoy the beautiful weather. Rollerblading has become a sort of April vacation tradition for us. And I’ve got the same rollerblades my mom bought me in high school, so there’s the added bonus of not having to spend money to go.
After lunch, a trip to Ocean State Job Lot to check out some patio furniture, and a stop at a bookstore, we saw a sign for Black Eyed Susan, a new thrift shop on the Guilford Green. It appeared that this brand new shop just opened this week, so they didn’t have very much there at all. However, what they did have was very nice, so I’ll keep it in mind in the future.
We stopped and bought my brother a John Deere had at the dealership on the way by, then continued on to North Branford and decided to stop at the Cedar Chest, which happens to be very close to my house. I was able to find a flowy purple chiffon top for $16, which I plan to wear with my favorite old jeans.
So overall I now see the value of going to a thrift store. A lot of the clothes still had the tags on them, and they were all in very good/new condition. I also see the value in taking clothes I don’t want there, instead of just tossing them out. I think I would most likely donate them to Act II, since all of their proceeds go to ABC of Madison, which helps prepare students from educationally disadvantaged environments for college. However, my tendency is to wear the clothes I love until they’re full of stains or holes, so I know they wouldn’t be accepted. But what about all those clothes that I never wear? Or wore one time? I’m already making a list in my mind of the clothes I should drop off there…
It was a great day, because we got to ride around in a convertible (which you may not consider environmentally friendly until I tell you that I drive an 11-year-old Explorer and my mom drives a Lincoln Navigator; a Mustang convertible is the most eco-friendly car we have), shop, and enjoy the beautiful weather while getting some fun exercise. The only downside: I got a little sunburn on my forehead. I’ll remember to wear sunscreen next time I got for a drive with mom.