Basically, I end up in the Bermuda Triangle of pop culture. But I survived to tell you about it... and better yet, to write about deal breakers in the thrift store.
My thrift store deal breakers are a list of items I avoid buying, even though it hurts my heart to do so. Life experience has taught me that these things are just never worth it, no matter how much they try to win me over with their charms. If I were to compare thrift store deal breakers to romantic relationship deal breakers, it would as if Matt, with his sense of humour, patience and dimples, turned out to be allergic to cats. Game over, my love, game over...
Knits that pill.
If a sweater in the thrift store has few signs of wear, it is usually a good indication of quality. While a fancy dress may only get worn once and may be in perfect condition at the thrift store, sweaters and knits are usually in high closet rotation. So, if they have been pre-loved and still look nice, that is a good thing. On the other hand, if a sweater is already starting to pill, it needs to be left behind. You can shave off the pills but it will start again.
Disintegrating Fabric.The problem with disintegrating fabric is that it often doesn't look so bad to start with, but once it starts to wear down, it goes fast. You need to take the little clues seriously.
The dress above (which was hard to photograph as nicely as I would have wanted) is simultaneously one of my best and one of my worst thrift purchases. It is a vintage dress made of this amazing metallic fabric. It has a great hourglass shape, with a nipped-in waist and the hips are emphasized, in a strangely flattering way, with pockets. The standing collar and sleeves get a thumbs up as well... I love this dress and because I love this dress, I was willing to overlook the fact that the fabric was starting to separate on part of the skirt. I figured I could just fuse the back and wear it very carefully. You know... wear it on a day where I won't be telling any exciting stories that require arm movement.
Then I started to handle the dress and I noticed the beginnings of tiny tears everywhere. The thread weaving through the metallic just gave up and the dress is fraying in multiple areas. Holes along the seam are easily repaired but holes in the body of garment are something to be wary of. Sometimes they can be fixed but especially with vintage garments, the fabric has a lifespan and once it starts to breakdown a little bit, it is a sign that the whole garment is compromised.
And it's sad but I should have left this dress. Now it just reminds me of how awesome it could have been, every time I see it. Maybe I will copy the pattern and make myself a dress in this silhouette, but no one should hold their breathe for that.
These are the hard lessons I learned about falling in and out of love in the thrift store.
What are your deal breakers?