Sunday, December 28, 2008

My new ebay venture

Hurray! I finally sold something on ebay!  Some of the clothes that I recently purchased on the aforementioned site did not fit, so I resold them along with some of my thrift store finds.  I've realized that I have a low retention rate for my clothes; if I, hypothetically, were an employer and my clothes were employees, my employee turnover rate would be about 75%.  There are very few pieces in my wardrobe that are more than a year old.  I just get bored easily.   

Here are some of the clothes that I sold in my first auction:

Pink Talbot's shirt is from the Goodwill in Hyannis

White Old Navy turtleneck is from Orleans Community Exchange
H&M skirt is from Orleans EMS Thrift

Style & Co peasant top and skirt bought on ebay

J Crew blazer from Goodwill in Hyannis
Ideology top from ebay
Skirt from Fishermen's House

Bandolino Blazer and Ideology camisole from ebay

So I won't make any money off my first sale, but it's exciting to have actually sold something.  As I get better at selling, I should start making a profit.  Or so I hope.  If you want to check out my auctions, here's my page

Friday, December 12, 2008

A much overdue update

I am a bad, bad blogger.  I haven't posted in well over 3 months.  I also haven't been very thrifty...that TJ Maxx is just so darn appealing.  Part of my excuse is that I was furthering my education by taking MBA classes on Saturdays.  Even so, I have managed to squeeze a few visits in here and there, so I will dust off my headless mannequin and post some of my finds.  

I did visit one new thrift store a few months back, the Friends of the Eastham Council on Aging Thrift on Massasoit Road in North Eastham (what a mouthful!).  I bought an Abercrombie & Fitch polo v-neck and a pair of cords.  The A&F shirt was a large (which in real person sizes is more like a small) but it was too short so I haven't worn it.  I have gotten some mileage out of the pants...they are great for running errands on the weekends.  If my memory serves me correctly, I paid less than $5 for both.  The store is pretty neat itself and worth the visit even if you don't end up buying anything.  

I've also been making the rounds to some of my favorite haunts such as the Hospice Thrift in Barnstable and the Orleans Community Exchange.  I bought a striped wool sweater from Express at the latter, but I've spent more dry cleaning it than I paid for it.  I have the sweater and the corduroys on in the picture, so you can get the general idea of how stylish they are :) 
In other news, I have become absolutely hooked on ebay.  For $29.99 plus S&H, I bought a 'lot' of 11 pieces including brand name  shirts, sweaters and skirts.  And my biggest bargain, for only $4.99, was a lot of Ideology clothes (skirt, shirts, capris and a suit jacket).  They are set to arrive sometime next week, so I will let you know if the quality was worth the price.  Viva thrift shopping online! 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Like a Bull in a China Shop

**Caveat Emptor** Hopefully I'll save some poor schmuck like myself the awkward situation he would find himself in upon entering the Cape Cod Cancer Exchange on Route 6A in Yarmouth Port.  This is NOT a thrift store!!  If you look closely at their sign out front, it says "Antiques & Collectibles" and indeed, it really is a one room antique shop.  

I've always wanted to stop by because the little store had piqued my curiosity, but alas it was never open.  Well it was the other day, so I had to indulge myself and go in.  I should have recognized the old woman in the mercedes with the oil in canvas clutched between her wrinkled fingers as a portend of things to come, but I was too drunk with anticipation to notice.  

The volunteer gave me little notice so I took a quick walk around the perimeter of the store pretending to be interested in the $200 paintings and $50 statues and then I hightailed it out of there.   

The only thing of interest I learned is that all proceeds from the shop benefit the Radiation Therapy Department at the Cape Cod Hospital.  So if you've got some money to spend, want to help out a good cause  and like antiques, this is the store for you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A.I.M. Your Sights High in Wellfleet

As promised, I am back on the trail and enjoying the hunt now that summer--as we know it on Cape Cod--is over.  One downside to the other side of Labor Day is that shops are already back to their fall/winter hours, so I missed out on one shop in Eastham; but no worries, I'll hit it up later in the week.

Today I went to the A.I.M Thrift Shop in Wellfleet and I was quite impressed with this quaint little shop.  It's not a big store but they have made good use of the small space.  The best thing I liked about the store was the quality of the clothing.  Most of the clothes were in great quality condition and I recognized many of the labels, as opposed to the average thrift store that carries defunct labels from the fashion nightmare that was the 80s.  

There are 3 long racks of women's clothes and 2 cubby-filled shelves of more neatly folded women's clothes.  They also had a rack of plus size women's clothing.  Needless to say, I did not find anything, but it was fun to browse through the racks.

The men's and children's clothing were in a room adjacent to the main shop and there wasn't much of substance in either department.  I did, however, buy a BNWT pair of men's American Exchange jeans for hubby for only $6.  Granted, some Google searching proved that the jeans only sell for about $12 online but based on the prices hubby usually pays ($50+) I have to say this was an excellent deal.

The rest of the store contained your average thrift store fodder.  They had an impressive amount of bedskirts and comforter sets that looked pretty decent.  One thing that amused me was the giant collection of cassette tapes with the sign '$1 a piece.'  Come now thrift volunteers, who in their right mind would pay $1 for a 'Toad the Wet Sprocket' cassette?!!? They should pay someone to get rid of that crap!

Other points of interest include a wall of books with such favorites as back issues of Martha Stewart Living at the great bargain price of $0.50 a pop (is the sarcasm oozing from your screen yet?).  They also had some notable bric-a-brac including WWII memorabilia that one volunteer was lamenting, "quel dommage!"  because it had ended up in a thrift store.

But it truly is a nice shop so if you're in the area, make sure to AIM over to Main Street in the lovely town of Wellfleet.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Garment District in Boston

I meandered off the beaten path a few weekends ago and headed up to Boston to see the sights and sounds of the city. Naturally I had to do a little thrift shopping while I was there and I had one particular destination in mind: The Garment District. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the place, their catchy advertising jingle seems to explain it best: “The Garment District; it’s not a district, it’s a store.” I must admit that 'store' might be a misnomer because it’s more of a warehouse than a store, but you get the idea.

The Garment District puts the Goodwill Store—or any other thrift store on Cape Cod—mercilessly to shame due to their sheer volume of clothes.  Thankfully, the clothes at the District are divided into four sections to make browsing a little easier:
  1. Retail
  2. $1/pound clothes
  3. Vintage and
  4. Thrift.
The retail section sells new merchandise and is similar to a year round Halloween store.  It's subdivided into pop culture, party accessories, rock accessories and new clothing.  Some examples of new merchandise they sell are: wigs, Go-Go boots, boas, women's western wear (I am not making this up!!) and so on and so forth.    

The $1/pound section is extremely popular with students; in fact, one of my college roommates, who was handy with a needle and thread, often scrounged through the piles of clothes for things she could mend. It can be a little intimidating to a novice thrifter because you literally have to dig through heaps of clothes but some liken it to hunting for buried treasure.

The vintage section has clothes from the 60s, 70s and 80s.  Each era is classified by types of clothing, such as dresses, pants or blouses. Don’t expect the vintage clothes to be in perfect condition, often there will be rips, tears or stains on the fabric, but the prices are cheap so you get what you pay for.

The regular thrift store takes up the majority of the building. They have a nice selection of designer clothes at rock-bottom prices and most of the styles are pretty current.  They also have an enormous shoe section.  You could probably spend the better part of a day browsing through the store, so I recommend having a list of things you need in mind before you go.  When I went, I was looking for suits for work and a nice evening dress for a fancy dinner.  Of course I didn't find anything, but I did have fun trying on the vintage apparel!

So if you're headed up to Boston for a day of shopping, don't forget to add The Garment District to your list!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Bevy of Thrift Shop Reviews

A fellow thrifter named Wendy contacted me over the summer after she stumbled upon my blog. She was coming to the Cape on vacation and was planning to do some thrift shopping. In her email she said, "Your blog has so much information! After reading your archives I'm got out my maps and I'm ready to shop." Of course I was very flattered to hear from one of my readers but imagine my surprise when she sent me a list of shops she had visited--complete with reviews!--after she got back from vacation. So now I must say, Thank YOU Wendy!

Below are excerpts from Wendy's thrifting adventures; I've tried to include reviews of shops that I have not yet visited.

    It just so happened that we went on a day that had 1/2 off all tops. Considering the prices of the tops were only $2 each, this was a great bargain. I found a Michael Kors sleeveless knit top guessed it - $1! Also found a new pair of espadrilles for $5 - don't know if they are still in fashion, but they were new and cheap!
    $$ - not very thrifty, but I found a (new) cute cover up for over my bathing suits for $12.
    I really liked this store, but again, you had to watch the prices.
    Cute little store - found a great lace cami and a safari-style sage green jacket for $20
    Best store so far for selection and prices!!!!
    Great prices, poor selection - although I got a great J.Jill linen top for $2 and a picture of my Mom next to the Thou Shalt Not Park Here sign!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

2 Jarves Street in Sandwich

I realize that I have been unfaithful to my blog over the past several months, but there is due cause I assure you: it is summertime on Cape Cod. For most natives on this fair peninsula, it is common knowledge that one must avoid all major causeways on the Cape (i.e. Route 28, Route 6A, and the Mid-Cape) from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Accordingly, most thrift stores are located on somewhat busy streets and therefore must be avoided.

I have tried once or twice this summer to venture out to the neighborhood thrift stores on my lunch break but it is like prying open the jaws of a gator trying to get there. Each four-way stop or traffic light presents new challenges and no matter how many back roads you take, it seems as if they too are backed up with tourists, snow birds, traffic details, bicyclists…the list goes on and on.

At the end of June, before tourist season really began, I did stop at a thrift store in Sandwich that I had never visited before. The ‘Touring the Thrift Shops of Cape Cod’ brochure refers to this shop as Saint John’s Episcopal Church Thrift but it is more affectionately known as 2 Jarves Street. The shop is tucked onto a side street in beautiful downtown Sandwich and looks more like an antique store than a thrift shop. Indeed, most of the store is filled with furniture, books and linens, but they do have a small selection of clothing. There are shelves, racks, and drawers filled with clothes so take your time sorting through the piles. I found one shirt for work, which is pictured below with a pair of slacks from the GAP, but I don’t remember what I paid for it. I would recommend stopping by this store if you’re in the area, but don’t make it your only destination because you could leave empty-handed!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

2008-09 'Touring the Thrift Shops of Cape Cod' Brochure

The 2008-09 edition of the 'Touring the Thrift Shops of Cape Cod' brochure is out, look for it at your neighborhood thrift store.  There have been several changes to this year's edition:

  1. Hospice & Palliative Care Thrift (Barnstable Village)
  2. Community of Christ RLDS Thrift (Dennisport)
  3. Second Time Around Thrift (Hyannis), and
  4. West Yarmouth Congregational Church Thrift.
To my understanding, all of these thrifts are in operation (with the exception of Community of Christ).  

  1. Emerald House Thrift Shop & Museum (East Falmouth)
  2. Lower Cape Outreach Council's Hope Chest (Orleans)
  3. "Rainbow's End" Consignment Shop (Osterville), and
  4. Second-View Thrift Shop (East Sandwich)
Both the Hope Chest and Second-View are brand new stores, I believe the other 2 have been in operation for some time.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Goodwill Store in Hyannis

The Goodwill Store in Hyannis is the mecca for thrift store enthusiasts. They house more goods than any other Cape shop that I have visited. The store is divided into sections for men, women, and children.

The women's section comprises about three quarters of the store and is separated by type of clothing: suit jackets, dresses, tee shirts, jeans, dress pants, sweaters, etc. Each subdivision is organized by color, thereby facilitating the process of finding a particular article.

With most other thrift stores, it's generally hit or miss as you never know what will be hanging on the racks. With the Goodwill, conversely, you can go there expressly looking for a certain item. Case in point, when I was a banquet server in college I used to go there to get cheap black pants. Again when I went camping last weekend, I visited the store for tank tops and cargo pants. In this way, the Goodwill is the mall of thrift stores of sorts.

The prices at Goodwill are comparable to those of other thrift stores, save for the fact that they don't price items on a case by case basis. If it's a pair of pants, the price will be $5.95, no matter the brand or the condition. The best part about their prices is their weekly 50% off sales which occur on Sundays and Mondays. Every piece of clothing in the store has a different colored tag on it and each week the store rotates which color will be 50% off. They also run occasional sales on Saturdays such as 'every item in the store is $3.' Another bonus: in addition to cash, you can use your debit or credit card at the Goodwill.

I have bought many things here over the years and I have tried to include a few of them below.

    Camping Outfit: Cargo Capris (Banana Republic, $5) and Plum Tee (Old Navy, $2)

     Work Outfit: Blazer (J Crew, $2.50), pink
     tank top (Talbots, $2) and black pencil skirt
     (Fishermen's House Thrift, $4)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Consigning Women: Part Deux

My criticism of Consigning Women was recently rebuffed and with good measure; I returned today for some shopping and was generally pleased with their prices. One blog reader agreed that "they aren't exactly "thrifty" in what most people think of the word" but I'd like to expound on this concept a little further. It wasn’t accurate for me to compare their prices to those of a thrift store because there’s little association between the two. Consignment shops are more expensive but I feel that as a shopper you are better guaranteed to actually find something there.

Case in point, I am still trying to put together a summer wardrobe and I knew that if I went to Consigning Women I would come across seasonally appropriate clothes. For some reason unknown, most thrift stores in my area do not have many summer clothes; several of them still have winter sweaters on display. Are people more apt to donate cold weather clothing? Is there some conspiracy I have missed?

At any rate, I found a plethora of summer skirts, shorts, Capris, tanks, and tees at Consigning Women. Much to my pleasure, many summer articles had already been marked down so I got two shirts for a steal! The black and white striped tank was marked down to $2.75 and the off-white cowl neck shirt was $6 (shown with Old Navy skirt from VNA Thriftique). And I had a $0.50 coupon from my last visit, so I only spent $8.25.

In addition to all the summer apparel, there were some really cute summer bags including Coach and Dooney & Bourke. They were in the $40 range and looked to be in great condition from a glance. But I currently have too many handbags right now, so I had to tear myself away from them.

Speaking of purses, however, last week I bought a brand new with tags BCBG bag from Orleans Community Exchange and Thrift for only $10. I thought of selling it on eBay but then decided it would be too much of a hassle. I love buying on eBay but selling requires more work than I am interested in exerting.

And for my final thought, I might as well brag about my last purchase from eBay: a brand new DKNY bathing suit for $27.99. I was up in Boston last weekend and the same suit is still for sale at Macy’s; its MSRP is $96! Of course the odds of an online bathing suit actually fitting are nil to nothing but the gods were on my side: it fit! If all else fails, at least I have a suit this summer!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hit or Miss: United Methodist Thrift

A fellow thrifter I met once upon a time in Orleans raved about the United Methodist Thrift Shop on Church Street in East Harwich. She claimed that a wealthy donor must live nearby because there were always heaps of nice clothes. Intrigued, I ventured forth one day to see for myself.

The most positive thing I can say about this thrift store is that they have rock bottom prices; I have never seen clothes so inexpensive. There are price sheets hanging on the walls throughout the store so you know exactly how much everything is.

The biggest turn off for me was the fact that it was in a musty basement. I realize that this is the stereotypical thrift store locale, but it makes me a little squeamish. My memory flashes back to playing in my basement as a child and getting covered in cement dust; I still hate that smell.

Perhaps they do have nice clothes sometimes though, because when I pulled in the parking lot it was full; I had to park above the shop near the cemetery. And the people going in the store weren’t just elderly folks, there were put-together middle-aged women shopping as well.

For all my ranting and raving, I did find a brand new-looking Old Navy blazer for $5. It’s featured in my blog post on Consigning Women. They did have an exorbitant amount of clothes stuffed on all the racks so go by and take a look, maybe you’ll find the rich woman’s clothes I missed…

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sea Captain's Thrift a Trunk Show

One of the lesser known thrift stores in Brewster is the Sea Captain’s Thrift Shop on Route 6A in Brewster Town Hall Annex. The small shop has an assortment of clothes (mostly women’s), linens, household goods, and books. The volunteers are great for a chat if you’re feeling social and all the proceeds benefit the Brewster Council on Aging.

The clothes are divided into sections such as jeans, sweaters, dress pants and boutique apparel. I must admit, I’ve never recognized any of the brands on the boutique rack, but I have seen a nice party dress or two nonetheless. They do offer special discounts on occasion, such as for Brewster in Bloom, and I believe they offer a 10% senior discount on Wednesdays as well.

One entire wall of the thrift store is devoted to kitchen items, knick-knacks, baskets and wall hangings. The back wall has all sorts of linens: sheets, table clothes, comforters, etc. They also have a nice selection of paperback books, many of which are relatively recent editions. The books are $0.50 each which is a great bargain; the only cheaper place to get books is the Treasure Chest on Queen Anne Road in Harwich. The books at the Treasure Chest won’t cost you a dime! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The gift of thrift: it keeps on giving

The Hope Chest in Orleans is the newly opened thrift boutique run by the Lower Cape Outreach Council. The LCOC provides assistance in the form of food, clothing and financial help to residents of the eight towns that comprise the lower cape.

The Outreach Council already had one clothing store in operation, Katy's Korner, which gives out free clothing to those who qualify for assistance. I haven't found information on what the proceeds from the Hope Chest go towards, but I am sure it's for a good cause.

Upon first entering the store you'll see an entire section devoted to upscale furnishings. There are plush sofas, elaborate works of art, end tables, bureaus and even an antique roll-top desk. The furniture is priced fairly and donors will receive fifty percent of the selling price.

The clothing sections are theoretically divided into thrift and vintage, but the two times I've gone there was nary a flapper dress in sight. The LCOC says vintage pieces will be accepted at the manager's discretion, so perhaps nothing appropriate has yet to come along.

The women's department has a vast assortment of clothing sure to satisfy ladies of all ages. I found many clothes that girls in their twenties, like me, would wear and also many brands (such as August Silk and Alfred Dunner) that would appeal to the older crowd. Their prices are very reasonable and the clothes are in great condition.

I'm going on vacation to a warm weather climate next month, so I have been on the lookout for seasonable attire for mes vacances. At the LCOC I found:
  • a pair of white Union Bay capri shorts for $5 [new with tags; actual retail price:$32], and
  •  a pair of dressy plaid shorts for $4.

I really like the length on the white capris because they stop just at the knee. I am a petite, aka vertically challenged, woman and the capris that hit at mid-calf don't do my legs any justice; they make them look like stumps! But knee length capris worn with a midsize heel make my legs look long and skinny; Cameron Diaz, watch your back!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thrift shopping on MadTV

Please check out the clip below from MadTV; it's hilarious!  And not an ad, I promise!

Thrift shopping on MadTV.

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sale at St. Vincent's

An alert reader informed me that there is a 50% off sale this weekend at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store at Christ the King Parish on Route 28 in Cotuit. They are located 1/2 mile east of the intersection of Routes 28 and 130.

I have never been there before so if you go, please tell me what you think!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Are You a Consigning Woman?

Several of my clothes have come from Consigning Women in Harwich, but I've been hesitant to write about them because they contradict my mission statement.

This store, generally speaking is not cheap. My first purchase was a suit by Kenar with a $49 price tag; my only justification was the fact that it would have sold at Marshall's for $100. Granted, they do have designer clothes that are in great condition, but their prices are much higher than any other Cape consignment shop.  

The skirt in the picture below is part of the suit, the original jacket was orange corduroy but I no longer wear it.  Also pictured is a brown Limited jacket ($2.50, Our Lady of the Cape Thrift) and an off-white shirt ($19.99, Ann Taylor).  

As an incentive, Consigning Women does offer "Comeback Buks" which equate to a $0.50 coupon for every $10 you spend. Yet Tots to Teens Fashion Exchange, the consignment store I recently blogged about, also offers Comeback Buks, but they offer a $1.00 coupon for every $10 spent.

At any rate, if you like Talbots, Ann Taylor, J Jill or Banana Republic, then you will love Consigning Women. And if the clothes stay on the rack for more than a few weeks, they will start taking discounts off the original price. Consigning Women also has a really great selection of shoes (mostly new) and designer purses.

The skirt is from Ann Taylor ($13 [after $2 comeback buks], Consigning Women), the blouse is from Fisherman's House Thrift and the jacket is from Old Navy (United Methodist Thrift).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Advent of the Thrift Boutique

A rising trend in the world of secondhand stores seems to be the creation of the 'thrift boutique.' No longer are thrift stores resigned to being the musty church basements of yesteryear; today, consignment and thrift stores rival the chic boutique atmosphere of designer shops in the cities. Case in point is the newly opened "Thrift Haven" in South Yarmouth owned by proprietress Judiann and managed by her daughter, Gianna. Like the owner herself, the store is warm and inviting and as you shop, upbeat music sounds from playlists on itunes.

Because she just opened on Saturday, Judiann is still putting the finishing touches on the store. She already has a great selection of clothes though, and I tried several pieces on. As I griped to her afterwards, I am in between sizes right now, so only one shirt fit: a pink Gap tee for $5. In addition to hip women's clothes, she features men's, children's, and maternity clothes as well as a great selection of shoes.

Another great thing about her store is that she accepts consignment but, unlike other shops, she actually gives you the money up front. Most other stores won't give you money until your clothes are sold, but Judiann's philosophy is simple: you shouldn't have to wait to get paid! I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Update on New Thrift Stores

  • Hope Chest in Orleans is now  open for business.  According to, "Revenues from the sales of used clothing, furniture and household items will support the council's mission of providing short-term emergency assistance to needy individuals and families."  So stop by and show your support!  
  • I spoke with Gianna, manager of Thrift Haven in South Yarmouth, and she told me they will be opening on Saturday, May 10th.  Thrifters rejoice, the market is growing!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Tale of Two Thrifts

Chatham is an affluent community, so I expected their thrift stores to be of the same caliber; sadly, they were rather lackluster.  There are 4 Chatham thrift stores listed in the brochure, "Touring the Thrift Stores of Cape Cod":
  1. The Benefit Shop at the South Chatham Community Church 
  2. "Bear-ly" Used Unitarian Universalist Meeting House Thrift Shop
  3. St. Christopher's Gift & Consignment Shop, and
  4. First United Methodist Church, Chatham, Thrift Shop.
Saint Christopher's only has a small assortment of clothes, but they do have a great array of shoes.  Many of the shoes were in sizes 7 and 8 and they looked nearly brand new.  They also have a lot of high quality bric-a-brac, so I'd suggest visiting them if your home is in need of some decorating.  The one thing I purchased on my visit was the novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson.  Best dollar I ever spent!  If you haven't read it, go to the library and check it out!! 

First United Methodist Church Thrift Shop is "an all volunteer, mission-oriented shop" with an ever-changing selection of clothes, books, holiday decorations, knick-knacks, get the picture.  I had a wonderful chat with one of the volunteers (turns out we've shared  an employer), but I had trouble finding some wonderful clothes.  The only thing I bought was a hot pink tee shirt for $1, what a bargain!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

New Consignment Brochure and Other News

I met Wendy, owner of Tots to Teens Fashion Exchange, yesterday while I was browsing through her store. I had gone with the intent of shopping for my little sister, but I ended up finding a red jersey dress for $12 for myself as well. Wendy explained that while her primary target market is children, many women come in and find clothes that they can wear too.  Indeed, many of the brands in her store are worn by women of all ages including:
  • American Eagle, Aeropostale
  • Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch
  • GAP, Banana Republic, and J CREW, just to name a few.

Wendy also gave me a brochure, "Consignment Shops of Cape Cod," that lists 16 consignment shops across the Cape, many of which are located in the Upper Cape area.  You can find the online version here.

**THRIFT NEWS**If there's some sort of fashion signal for trying economic times, I think it would be the 'overnight arrival' of many new thrift stores on the Cape.  The newest one is called Hope Chest and it's located in the Friend's Market plaza in Orleans.  Hope Chest benefits the Lower Cape Outreach Council and in addition to thrift and consignment clothes, they will also have a vintage section.  

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Expectant Moms are Thrifty Too

The stigma attached to used clothing no longer exists.  In today's fashion world it's acceptable to brag about a great deal you bought at consignment whereas years ago, you'd be mortified if the words "used" and "clothes" parted from your lips.

This trend in second hand clothing doesn't stop with the frugal teenager, rather it permeates many sectors of society, often focusing on a specific target market.

For instance, there are at least 3 consignment stores on Cape Cod that cater to Infants, Toddlers, and Pregnant Moms-to-be:
  1. Repeat After Me in Orleans
  2. Tots to Teens Fashion Exchange also in Orleans, and
  3. Children's Orchard in Hyannis.
Repeat After Me is run by a local mother-daughter team: Sue Hall and Amber Dauphinais.  Amber has two children of her own and felt that a consignment store catering to young moms would offer an affordable alternative to other baby stores. If you're interested in donating or purchasing clothes, check out the full story here.

Children's Orchard, by comparison, is a national consignment store operating in 22 states.  They offer a discount club, called the MOMS Club, that gives you a one-time $5 dollar discount as well as other incentives and they also guarantee you'll receive top dollar for your donations.  You can visit their website at:

With the economy running amuck as of late, it's nice to know that:
  • there are wallet friendly alternatives out there,
  • and even your kids will think you're cool to be a Frugal Fanny.

Noah's Ark Thrift & Gift Shoppe

The first time I pulled into the parking lot of Noah’s Ark Thrift & Gift Shoppe on Route 28 in Harwich I saw a man and woman loading several handsome pine chairs into the back of their minivan. It made me hopeful that I would find some furniture at this shop because most thrift stores carry a lot of clutter and nothing of substance when it comes to furniture. I would like to do a segment in a future post about the many great secondhand furniture stores on Cape Cod, but I digress.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed to find a lot of knick knacks and not much in the way of furniture. Their website remarks that they have, "Nearly new clothes, antiques, small appliances, household items, special glassware and small furniture," so maybe the chairs were simply an anomaly. I would also argue about the 'nearly new clothes' selection; I spotted some new looking apparel, but most of the clothes looked like they had just come out of grandma's attic. I'm not saying they weren't in good condition, they just looked dated. Another small peeve of mine was that some of the clothes racks were literally on top of one another, making it difficult to browse.

Yet what the store may lack in furniture and clothing, they make up for in their selection of household items. I ended up buying a signed print, 'Sweet Romance', by photographer Harvey Edwards for $12. The print still had the certificate of authenticity on the back and I found the same painting on ebay, it had sold for $100. So check this store out if you need things for your home, but skip it if you need things for your closet.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Favorite Thrift Store on Cape

My favorite thrift store on the Cape is hands down Second Glance right behind George's Pizza on Route 28 in Harwich Port. Second Glance is a boutique, carrying clothes of the same caliber as those found at Consigning Women but at only a fraction of the cost. Plus, all of their proceeds go to the Family Pantry on Queen Anne Road in Harwich.  

Last time I visited I picked up a pink flowered skirt for $4 and a red chemise from Express Design Studio for $4 (shown above with an AnnTaylor plaid skirt from Fishermen's House Thrift). I also found an autographed watercolor by New Orleans native Peter Bryant for $7.50, originally $45. They also have the best selection of housewares that I've seen at a thrift store, including many items still in their original packages.

Several times in my posts I have made distinct clarifications between thrift stores and consignment shops, mostly in terms of prices. While the two types of used clothing stores do have similarities, there are several key inherent differences. Thrift stores are generally non-profit organizations that support a charity, such as Second Glance described above. Most of the employees are volunteers and those who donate clothes don't receive money for their donations. 

Consignment shops, conversely, are for-profit organizations that rely on donations from patrons who will receive a portion of the proceeds when their clothes are sold. Generally the donor will receive 50% of the selling price, but this varies from location to location. Examples of consignment shops on the Cape include the above referenced Consigning Women as well as Second Time Around Thrift & Consignment Shop in Hyannis.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Park Here

Holy Trinity Thrift on Route 28 in Harwich begs a laugh before you even walk in the door because there are numerous "thou shalt not park here" signs in front of their store. The women who work there are just as comical. One delightful woman made it her duty to become my personal shopper and pick out outfits for me despite the fact that, as she quoted, "I don't know what the young people are wearing these days." She did a pretty good job though, picking out clothes such as a 100% silk skirt suit from Ann Taylor. I tried several items on, none of which fit well, and ended up leaving with 2 slips to wear under dresses for $2 a piece. 

Now the slips were a bit borderline for clothes that I would buy at a thrift store, but here are is a list of items that I absolutely refuse to buy used:
1. Underwear and Bras (What would possess someone to even donate these in the first place?)
2. Socks, pantyhose or shoes (I know how bad my feet smell, why would I want them to smell like yours too?)
3. Kitchenware (pots, pans, silverware, glasses)
4. Bed linens or towels (tablecloths are okay)

...I may be thrifty, but I have my limitations!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fishermen's House Thrift Shop

Fishermen's House Thrift Shop, near the intersection of Route 28 and Old Main in South Yarmouth, is in my top five thrift shops because they carry better quality clothes from department stores, their prices are reasonable, their volunteers are helpful, and I always find something nice when I go. On this visit, I bought a brown striped skirt for $5 and a brown laced tank for $3. The women whom I checked out with were a riot because they couldn't believe what a great outfit I had found in their store. Side note: on previous visits, I have also picked up clothes from Ann Taylor, H&M, and Nordstrom's at this store.

**THRIFT NEWS**There's a new thrift store called "Thrift Haven" on White's Path (in the Subway plaza) in South Yarmouth that will soon be opening its doors. Their sign says, 'Quality used clothes for women, men, and children.' I'll let you know when they open.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Business Cards have Arrived

So I received my new business cards today! Even though I don't technically have a business yet, they will be a great promotional tool for my blog. My plan is to start distributing them to the thrift stores that I visit in the hopes of increasing traffic and getting my name out there as the Savvy Thrifter.

In the meantime, I found some great blog tools on and I'm trying to give my pictures more pizazz to increase my site's appeal. Lately I have been using my laptop's built in camera to take pictures, which accounts for all the weird angles you might have noticed! I was going to use the Pentax, but I don't know what I'd do with all the useless pictures of clothes and odds and ends. So, begrudgingly, I have to dig up my old digital camera, which is a piece of crap, and start using that instead. I also had the novel idea, much to my husband's dismay, to purchase a mannequin to display my savvy chic thrift outfits (the hangers just aren't cutting it). I've found one that I like and maybe it won't creep him out too much: my new dummy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Orleans Community Exchange & Thrift Shop

I must admit that I can be somewhat of a dolt on occasion. I have been to the Orleans Community Exchange & Thrift Shop several times and I have commented that it is a small shop. Well it is a small store if you don't realize that there are two more rooms in the back. It's amusing that I never noticed how the outside of the building was much larger than the inside. Oh well.

When you first walk into the O.C.E.T.S you enter a room full of display cases filled with jewelry and collectibles. The next room is women's clothing. They don't have a huge selection but the clothes they do have are of better quality and in great condition. Their clothes are priced like a consignment shop rather than a thrift, but it all goes to benefit students at Nauset High School, so who can complain about that?

 On this visit I picked up a pink paisley skirt for $5 and a pair of Banana Republic shorts for $6.   I paired the skirt with a peach Evie sweater from the Goodwill Store in Hyannis.  Across the hall from the ladies' clothing is a small fitting room. In the fitting room there are various thank you letters from students who have received scholarships from the thrift store. I thought that was a really neat idea and I told one of the volunteers as such.

The next room has a limited selection of men's and children's clothes. The last two rooms (that I didn't realize were in existence) are stock full of knick knacks, linens, household goods, clearance items, and coats. I deliberated over buying some funky candlestick holders for $3, but I didn't know where I'd put them. The store does get a lot of foot traffic though, so they'll probably be gone the next time I come in.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Don't Forget to Check your Clothes

I finally made it back to Cape & Islands EMS Thrift this week to check out their new warm weather apparel. The thing I've noticed about thrift shopping is that it's not always the store that I like; rather, it's the person donating clothes with similar tastes and sizes as me whom I like. Case in point, I go to the EMS shop several times a month but I rarely find anything. Yet I keep going back because new donations come in constantly and eventually someone will bring in clothes that actually fit me. So if this sounds like you, keep this in mind when you're out shopping.

Well this trip did prove to be lucrative after all, I bought:
~ a beautiful BCBG cardigan sweater $4     
~ a spaghetti strap dress from American Eagle for $3, and
~ a pink striped v-neck shirt for $4. 

I always try clothes on before I buy them--and you should too, most thrift stores have some type of closet or bathroom with a mirror--but please be extra careful to look the clothes over as well! I tried on that pink shirt at the shop and it looked clean and free of stains so I didn't examine it too thoroughly. Upon returning home, however, I noticed that the back was longer than the front because the previous owner had cut something off the shirt. My guess is that there was a sash that tied in the front and she didn't like it so she removed it. I will still wear the shirt, but it's a good lesson to remember; these clothes are, after all, used.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How to Contact Me

Due to the quick growth and success of my blog, I have created an email address where you can contact me with your questions, comments, or concerns on how I can improve on my site:

My first question is, what thrift shop would you like to see me visit next?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Third Dimension of Outlet Shopping

I deliberated about adding this entry because the Clothes Den in Orleans doesn't exactly constitute thrift shopping, but I got some good deals so I thought what the heck. I'm not sure what you'd call the Clothes Den as it falls somewhere between consignment shops and outlet stores like Marshalls, but essentially it stocks well known brands (AE, Delia's, Ann Taylor) at deeply discounted prices. However, much of their merchandise is, oh how do the big department stores put it? ah yes, irregular.  

Clothes I've purchased here include a hot pink American Eagle tee for $5 and a hooded shirt for $10 that, for lack of a better description, is missing the front.  The little bird makes me equivocally as happy as the grinning moneys on my shower curtain. I mean I know Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear would beg to differ, but whatEVER.

I paired the pink tee with a black lace tank (Marshalls), a multi-colored skirt (New York & Co) and a black belt (Mom's closet).  The hoodie goes well with a yellow tank ($3, Fishermen's House Thrift).  

Another Cape store that falls into this third dimension of outlet shopping is Price Point in West Yarmouth. It can be deceiving when you first walk in because they have all the old lady attire up front (Carolyn Taylor anyone?), but in the back they stock clothes from Vicky's (Victoria's Secret), J Crew, and Gap. I bought a pair of black Gap capris for $6 that I paired with a striped tank with a built in bra ($2, First Parish Thrift Brewster) for my yoga workouts.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Why I'm not a Fashion Show

I first started thrifting in high school, though back then it was in the hopes of scoring some classic vintage pieces rather than saving some green. High school fashion is unfortunately very label driven and so, wanting to fit in, I didn't want to risk my reputation by shopping at thrift stores. 

When I went to college, I found that my former high school friends had nothing on the Armani wearing, Gucci footed, Prada carrying fashion shows that some refer to as college girls. Yet because I lacked a cushy trust fund and the desire to be trendy, I didn't find the need to keep up with them. In fact, I was living on my own with my boyfriend and we had a budget to keep. 

And so as we moved from place to place and supported ourselves along the way, I finally learned the true value of shopping at thrift stores. It really doesn't matter what the label on the back of your shirt or the front of your TV says, what really matters is the the impression that will be left long after you're gone.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

First Parish Brewster Thrift Shop

A recent trip to First Parish Brewster Thrift Shop yielded:
  • a little white garbage can with swinging lid for the bedroom for $1
  • an almost new pair of Tommy Hilfinger [as my mom likes to call him] flip flops for $2, and
  • a brand new photo album from Christmas Tree Shop for $2. 

The photo album holds 500 photos and each page has space for 2 vertical photos and 3 horizontal photos which is a great idea because I take a fair amount of vertical pictures. Now I just have to get film for my Pentax camera (see 2nd post) and start filling that baby up! 

So you might be wondering how I know where to find all these great thrift shops. Well, most of the thrift stores I visit have a handy little blue pamphlet called, "Touring the Thrift Shops of Cape Cod." I have made it my mission to visit every one of the shops listed in the brochure, all 38 of them!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cape & islands EMS Thrift Shop

Cape & Islands EMS Thrift Shop, at the intersection of Main Street and Old Colony Road in Orleans, gets in new merchandise all the time. The last time I went they had pretty much cleared out the store because they're in the process of putting out spring and summer clothes. One of the volunteers told me that they were giving all their winter clothes to the Salvation Army. I thought that was pretty neat, because I've always wondered what happens to thrift clothes that never find a home; now I know that the cycle goes on somewhere else.

I bought a 100% silk shirt for $3, but I will see if my mom wants it because it doesn't really go with anything in my closet. That's one of the only problems I've discovered about thrifting: I will buy something that I don't need or want just because it's cheap and then I will never use it! One great tip I can give for buying clothes--a tip I learned from my best friend--is to only buy clothes in colors that are already a part of your wardrobe. For instance, if you find a cute shirt that you really like, but it's bright pink and all the clothes in your closet are green and purple, don't buy it! You will have to go out and buy more clothes to match that one shirt; instead, buy clothes in colors that will compliment each other so you can make many outfits out of a few key pieces.

I also bought a 3 piece cream and sugar set with a matching tray for $4 The tag on the bottom of the tray said the set had sold for $40, and it looked like it had never been used! I didn't need a cream and sugar set because I already had one, but I loved the pattern and knew I could do something with it. Later that day I had a brainstorm to convert the set into little pots for my herbs, so now they are full of soil and seeds and sitting in the sun in front of my window. 

The last item I bought was a shower caddy for $2. I never used one before I met my husband, but they are extremely useful! Especially because my two dogs love to climb into the bathtub and knock shampoo bottles all over the floor and eat the soap. Well not anymore! So I haven't had any luck finding clothes recently, but at least I've gotten some good buys! (Fade out with the Target jingle, 'you say good buy, I say hello')...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Tour of Hyannis Thrift Stores

Hospice & Palliative Care Thrift Shop in Barnstable Village has a great selection of clothes, everything from Ann Taylor to J Crew and GAP, and most of their merchandise is in like new condition. Items I have bought there recently include a Boyd’s Bear in mint condition for $2; a brand new 3-pack of men’s wife beaters for $5, originally $15; and a brand new Glade scented oil candle for $2.

Cape Cancer Thrift is also in Barnstable village, about a quarter of a mile from the Hospice thrift. They have a minimal clothing section, though they were offering a ‘stuff a bag for $4’ special the last time I went. My mom has been there before though and she picked up some cute shirts, so I guess, like all the others, it’s pretty much hit or miss. Cape Cancer Thrift has the largest selection of furniture of all the thrift stores I have visited and most of it is in good condition. My mom's friend bought her couch from there and she's very happy with it.

If you'd like to visit a few thrift stores in one easy trip, then check out these shops on Main Street in Hyannis:
  1. The Friendly Thrift Shop in the basement of the Federated Church
  2. High Hopes Thrift Shop in the First Baptist Church
  3. Cape Cod Auxiliary Thrift near Harry's, and
  4. Second Time Around Thrift & Consignment at the end of Main Street

Second Time Around Thrift & Consignment is one of the most unusual stores I've ever been in. The store is in a windmill, so it has very high ceilings and it's crammed full of stuff: clothes, shoes, antiques, furniture, jewelry, pottery from around the world. It's a little pricier than other thrifts because it's a consignment store, but most of the merchandise seems worth it due to high quality and good condition. On my last visit I picked up a light green H&M button up shirt for $5.  I paired it with a green tank (J. Jill, $10), a black peacoat (First Church Thrift Shop, $3), and a pair of Gap jeans (Wrentham Outlets).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Ambiguously Gay Duo

My favorite thrift store in Orleans is the Orleans Community Exchange & Thrift Shop in the center of town. It's a small shop but it's very nicely laid out and the women that work there are a pleasure to chat with. On my most recent visit, there were two drunk and flamboyant guys shopping for some clothes because one of the men had peed his pants and thrown up on himself. The less belligerent one, who had long orange dyed hair and makeup on, was trying to find some clean clothes for his partner (as well as a fabulous new purse).  As he shopped, he kept yelling out how the other one was such an embarrassment to him and how he couldn't take him anywhere.

Despite the distractions, I managed to find 2 shirts:
  •  a coral New York & Co sweater for $5, and
  •  a white ribbed turtleneck from Old Navy for $4.

 I didn't try the shirts on because I was afraid one of the drunk guys would stumble in on me, so I tried them on when I got home. The pretty coral one was too small so I gave it to my sister, but the white turtleneck fit fine and looked cute with a brown corduroy skirt I bought from United Colors of Benetton for $10 at the Wrentham Outlets.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Saint David's Thrift

I must share this amazing find I discovered at Saint David's Thift in West Yarmouth.  After browsing through their selection of clothes and not finding anything, I moved on to their housewares section.  A nice zoom camera with a case and $5 price tag caught my eye.  I've been wanting a new 35mm camera for sometime (I'm sick of this so called digital revolution), so I was happy enough just to get the camera.  Well, I went online to see how much it's retail cost is, and the same Pentax IQ Zoom 135m camera that I bought was on sale for $134.95! I saved almost 96%!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Mission Statement

I love nice clothes and good brands, but I am sick of paying huge prices for them at the big department stores. Even the discount stores such as Marshalls or Filene's Basement aren't cheap anymore. So I have set about to blog my thrift shopping experiences with the  intent to:
  •  display some of the chic outfits I have created
  •  offer tips on how to make the most of your shopping trips
  •  show you some of my favorite finds, and
  •  post reviews on thrift stores that I have visited to let you know if they're worth it.