Thrift Stores Don't Want Your Cheap Clothes

Lisa Armstrong reports from London today that Oxfam is turning down cheap-chic offerings, with this explanation: "Say you bought [an outfit] in a [ch
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Lisa Armstrong reports from London today that Oxfam is turning down cheap-chic offerings, with this explanation: "Say you bought [an outfit] in a [ch
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Lisa Armstrong reports from London today that Oxfam is turning down cheap-chic offerings, with this explanation:

"Say you bought [an outfit] in a [chain store] for £3. And let’s assume, for politeness’ sake, that you wore it just the once. On the assumption that most clothes devalue by 50 per cent the moment you take them out of the bag, and by another 50 per cent once they’ve been worn, shoved in the back of the wardrobe, slammed into a bin liner and left to fester for a few seasons, the most Oxfam could charge would be 75p."

That's $1.50 to us. Lisa raises a few interesting concerns. She reminds us, again, that some cheap clothes are harder to recycle (thanks to that nylon poly blend described on the label), while also hinting the changing face of the thrift store customer: It used to be that chain stores were for those with more money, and thrift stores were where you went when you couldn't quite afford The Gap. At least, that's where we went, in middle school and high school, when we couldn't. Now the shopping setup shifts, with chain stores offering the cheapest stuff, and thrift stores becoming "vintage boutiques" and - for the most part - catering to a more fashion focused group. One more thing to think about: The head of Oxfam, Jane Shepherdson, was once the head of TopShop, and she's the one largely held responsible for making cheap chic into the norm. But even if her charity stores in Britain won't accept the clothes she helped create, we bet American thrift stores would - do you know how many US teenagers would kill for a TopShop dress?