Building Community Through Better Relationships

Today’s New Verb Is Thrift

To Thrift. This verb can also be expressed as an action, “thrifting”. Thrifting means shopping for ultra-cool outfits in a second-hand store. While buying someone else’s tossed out clothes reeks of desperation, unearthing fabulous pieces in unlikely retail outlets is part power-shopping and part treasure hunting. Ironically, I was first introduced to a variation of thrifting 20 years ago.

When my older brother’s adult daughter was a teenager, he complained that she rummaged through his closet grabbing his old clothes, matched them with new pieces, then go to school at the peak of stylishness. While complaining about not finding a particular shirt, he told me: “Watch out, the same thing will happen to you!” Three daughters later, my last teenage daughter rifles through my closet discovering the last of my outdated college gear. Clearly, I have been cursed by the sins of the older brother. Or have, I?

What if this is a trend? Ironically, a new client has brought me into thrifting in an online environment. And, my client, their friends, their community, and their customers get incredibly excited about it! They find new fashion statements among “gently used” clothing and bring them to market. But, how does this trend positively impact how professionals contribute to a better world?

Trash or Treasure
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In today’s hyper-fast world, styles change faster than clothing wears out. While it may be easy to toss out used clothing, a sense of sustainability and philanthropy, has made it fashionable to donate clothes to the less fortunate. However, the less fortunate are not limited to people of lesser economic means. Less fortunate can be another fashionista who appreciates someone’s fashion sense only after an item has been used. Style is as much about the inner person as the outer wear. And, anyone who boldly states their style using someone else’s fashion choices demonstrate confidence and individuality. Those attributes need to be treasured.

Value in All Things
The brand on the package that carries your latest purchase can have value. But an individual’s imprint results when the item meets their personality. Pre-loved clothing selections reflect someone stylishly doing more with less. These pieces illustrate respecting the old while expressing the new. Individual confidence grows from expressing one’s individual values. Furthermore, creating value from previously owned clothing proclaims the new wearers’ personalized style. What better way to state that it is about me, not my clothes, than to assemble other people’s hand-me-downs and express yourself confidently, uniquely and stylishly?

Birds of a Feather
Thrifting clearly demonstrates that even inside of uniqueness is community. Realizing that shopping with friends is like an action sport, thrifting is best done in groups. It may be an individual’s style, but there is still comfort in group acceptance. Nothing validates your style more than a good friend recognizing your fashion choices with a simple, “that’s cute”. Thrifting is a communal activity wrapped in self-expression. If one friend looks great in her dad’s dress shirt, then the other friend’s dad’s sport coat is next! Fashion says that we are individuals together!

The lesson in thrifting is that we all must do all we can with what we have. Whether the practice is driven by budget constraints or the desire for individuality, the end product is a personal statement. Thrifting reinforces that we can all identify with a community that embraces and values us. By progressing beyond being clones, our valuable, individual attributes emerge. Consequently, the best way to contribute to any community is for each member to bring their individual attributes for everyone’s benefit. And, if you can contribute stylishly, then that is all the better.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond


December 1, 2014 - Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This article is much appreciated. I have a clothing style of my own. I found that going to thrift stores, I am able to find what I need at an affordable price.

    Comment by Catherine | December 3, 2014 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: