I celebrated my birthday last week, and was gifted this gorgeous blush-colored Zara dress from my blogging partner-in-crime Sunita V. And as if that wasn't sweet enough, she also gave me a cute straw clutch with black ribbon detailing. These gifts are absolutely perfect, of course, but they were made even more amazing by the fact that Sunita scored both items at The Sharing Place Thrift Shop, an East Harlem gem that the NY Daily News named the city's top thrift store last year. (Proceeds from the store benefit the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services organization next door.) I decided to take my birthday dress and clutch out for a spin on the Williamsburg waterfront, and paired them with the Dolce & Gabbana wedges Sunita and I recently rehabbed.
Now, because Sunita and I are good friends and avid secondhand shoppers, a thrifted gift is considered completely kosher between us. But I'll admit you sometimes have to tread carefully when it comes to gifting thrift. While there are plenty of people that I would unreservedly give a thrifted item to (i.e. my mom, boyfriend and other close friends), I totally recognize and respect that a thrifted gift is not everyone's cup of tea. If you're not 100% sure about how a thrifted gift will be received, I say go the safe route and hit up the retail racks instead. But if you know your friend/relative/partner well and they appreciate your merciless deal-hunting skills, thrifting can sometimes be the best way to find a great, eco-friendly gift on a budget.
If you're thinking of gifting thrift items for the first time, here are a few tips:
- Because thrifted items can very rarely be returned or exchanged, you should be fairly confident about a thrifted gift's fit and/or appeal before purchasing. Can't make a guess on sizing? Stick with non-sized gift items like scarves, jewelry, books or housewares.
- Although this is important every time you thrift, be extra careful when checking a potential gift for stains, holes or any other type of damage, and make sure everything you gift is carefully washed/dry cleaned before gifting!
- A lot of unused stuff can end up at thrift and consignment stores, so keep an eye out for those brand new, still-tagged items. Conversely, also keep an eye out for those very old, hard-to-find items, especially if you're shopping for a vintage-lover or antique collector!
- Avoid gag gifts. Though your mileage on this may vary, I find that most thrifted ironic/gag gifts tend to lose their humorous luster after a month or two, and usually end up right where they started: the donation bin.
And if you're an experienced thrift gifter, I'd love to hear about some of your finds! Have you ever gifted something amazing from the thrift shop?