I first watched this video about three weeks ago — and I keep thinking about it. What a smiling rebel this woman, Jessi Arrington, is. I love the “life lessons” she shares from her experience acquiring clothes solely from thrift stores or as hand-me-downs. For example: That shopping second-hand saves money and the environment… It is almost physiologically impossible to be in a bad mood when you’re wearing bright red pants… Fitting in is way over-rated… Developing your own unique personal style is a great way to tell the world something about you, without having to say a word… and, “It’s okay to let go… I don’t need to get emotionally attached to these things, because around the corner there’s always going to be another crazy, colorful shiny outfit just waiting for me, if I put a little love in my heart and look…” Good advice. No: Great advice, and in terms of your decorating style, too. First spotted on The Simple Dollar

  1. Lauryn says:

    Yay Jessi … very cool and very inspiring! I used to buy 90% of my wardrobe second hand but that has decreased somewhat over the years (Seattle, honestly, being a much better place to buy secondhand than my current small midwest town). But after watching this (and scoring two very cute sweaters for ten bucks yesterday!) my thrifty-gal soul has been reinvigorated. Thanks, Pam!

  2. vintigchik says:

    Probably 80% of my clothes are 2nd hand vintage. I adore vintage clothes. They are fun and when I change sizes or want a new outfit, I can resell my clothes for a whole new wardrobe. It’s my favorite form of recycling.

  3. Michelle H says:

    I love this piece! I buy a lot of second hand and vintage clothing. I also, re-sell my clothing at our local clothing resale shop and pick up of few bucks here and there, or I donate it to our thrift store here that supports local charities. This is very inspiring!

  4. RetroSandie says:

    Oh, yes, I’ve gone to second-handing it big time! I shop Saver’s and the Salvation Army. The money all goes to good causes. I now buy all my clothes and coats, jackets, shoes, boots, purses, belts, scarves, undies, robes, nightgowns, pj’s, household, craft stuff, pans, pots, glassware, and mid century decor used!! And boy have I found some good stuff! I just found out a cool Sid Dickens tile I got for maybe 5.99 is worth close to 100.!! And I just LIKED it! I’ve gotten my crackle jugs and vases, artwork, lamps, shadow boxes, Blenko, Vera scarves, furniture (my gorgeous blond mahogany bedroom set), and even my beloved kitties (one from a rescue, one off craigslist) SECOND HAND!!!!! I’ve also found goodies on Etsy, eBay, and craigslist. I plan to get out to flea markets and scour for more thrift shops next year when the weather gets nice again now that I’m finally settled. It has become a way of life for me now, and I LOVE it! Besides the mid century things I’ve had for years, and stuff I got from my mom, I love pointing everything out to anyone who comes to see my cute little retirement home. Oh, and when it’s time for stuff to “go-around” again, I always donate back to the Salvation Army! It’s all good!!! 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    I do love to shop used as well, but lately I’ve found even my successful shopping trips a little more disturbing than exciting. I’ve learned that many styles I admire in regular stores will be available at Goodwill if I wait only a month or two (sometimes with the tags still on!), and the HUGE constantly changing stock is a paean to consumerism run amok.

    Still, the treasure hunt can be lots of fun. I came up with a massive iron candelabra on Black Friday at Goodwill for $3 — perfect to put a little flame into our fireplace until we can get the chimney worked on. And like Jessi pointed out, buying used provides an excellent way to keep away from the sameness of retail. Having just moved I’m now on a bunch of catalog mailing lists, and I am hard-pressed to tell whether I am flipping through CB2, West Elm or Pottery Barn. Restoration Hardware’s tome approached the Sears Catalog in size with each page as grey as the next.

  6. Just Another Pam says:

    Thanks for the great article and the wonderful link, Pam.

    I was looking around my place the other day and realized virtually nothing is not second hand in this house including my clothing unless it was a gift so not only was it timely for me but rather comforting as well.

    Shopping retail holds no charm on so many levels from lack of originality to, all too often, quality. I went shopping with a friend who’s looking for a long, lean piece and everything she showed me she was interested in is a knock off of mid-century but starts at 7,000 dollars and up. Really. I’m now taking her around to vintage shops where little, even with the best of Danish names, breaks 1,500.

  7. AmyEbbertHill says:

    I used to call it La Maison de Bonne Chance when I was poor and shopped Goodwill to stretch my dollar when my children were young. I still shop there because it kills my soul to pay full price retail. Another great place to shop is your local pawn store. We bought our vintage wedidng rings there, and I just picked up a beautiful aquamarine ring for my daughter’s birthday next March.
    I enjoyed the clip, but ti seems wastful to me for her to donate the clothes back at the end of her trip. I am so tight I squeak, I guess.

  8. jen says:

    love this! my love of retro for the house came from my love of vintage clothes. thx for sharing this great talk. of course, palm springs is probably one of the best thrift spots in the US!

  9. susan says:


    Leave it to you to make me smile from ear to ear!!!!! What a great video. I love second hand shopping, always have, but the message was far more reaching than buying used. Love your self.

    Thanks Pam:)

  10. nina462 says:

    I shop my local Sal Army store on a regular basis. I can find good clothes, for very cheap. Some are even brand spanking new with tags!
    I couple weeks ago I was gifted with a bunch of vintage dresses & coats. As much as I really, really wanted the dresses to fit – my niece in Chicago now has the styling dresses. My other niece scooped up two of the wool coats. I am left with the black wool w/mink collar & cuffs (I wouldn’t give that one away!); + a few other items. As much as I look at my wardrobe & wish for something new—I feel shopping second hand…well, it’s NEW to me, right?

  11. Jimmijams says:

    G’day from Australia. My partner, an Advertising Creative Director, our 2 year old daughter and I are all proudly and smartly dressed via our local ‘op shops’ (thrift stores). Great to hear you have the Salvation Army stores and a thriving op shop culture. Australians have lovingly referred to the Salvation Army as the Salvo’s and St Vincent De Paul Society as Vinnies for many years and now both those organizations have marketed their stores as Salvo’s and Vinnies respectively and are attracting a younger generation of shoppers.
    We’re hoping to visit the US next year, so aside from Palm Springs, what are some other great hotbeds of vintage style and recycled shopping that we should try to add to our itinerary?

  12. Lauryn says:

    Seattle, definitely! Great vintage and thrift stores there. Capitol Hill and the Fremont neighborhoods especially. And make sure to hit a Value Village … most of my wardrobe came from those stores when I lived in Seattle. Plus it is a damn fine city, one of my favorites … gorgeous scenery everywhere you look, great food, and, of course, great coffee!

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