Between college and my early forties I did not thrift much. I also did not shop much. I don’t even remember what I wore in my thirties, and after I went from zero to three kids between the ages of 36 and 38, I don’t even remember getting dressed. But after my twin girls were in pre-school, I raised my head from the haze and it turned out I had nothing to wear. That is when my interest in thrifting re-ignited – I was starting from nowhere and had no idea how to dress so figured I had better start cheap.
Luckily in the interim shows like What Not to Wear and the beginning of fashion blogging had emerged. I dug in and began researching and read tons of thrifting tips. One common tip is that it is not worthwhile to thrift t-shirts.
In my experience it is worth thrifting tees by designers you like – if they are in excellent condition.
Thrifting guides often counsel against thrifting tees because they are frequently stretched and worn out before they are donated. The cotton blends that make up many tees tends to pill. Furthermore, since they are “just tees” people do not always take care of them the way they do more expensive purchases. But after years of experience, I have realized some tees are worth thrifting.
I would not have looked as this smallish plain tee if it weren’t for the Maya Negri label. Maya Negri is a well regarded Israeli designer and I like a lot of her things. So I perk up an eye when I see her name. Why I took it:
- The label itself gives it potential resale value.
- In my experience it is worth thrifting tees by designers you like – if they are in excellent condition. Although it may look plain, both the material and subtle differences in design make a big difference, even with t-shirts.
- Tees at the thrift store usually cost about $1.25 so it wasn’t a huge risk (see #1)
Tip: be sure to hold all items, particularly knits like tees, up to the light to check for pilling. If a tee is pilling put it back. The material is usually not thick enough to withstand shaving.
Do you buy designer tees (thrifted or otherwise)? Do you find there is a big quality difference between designer tees and their cheaper equivalents? Do you even wear tees? Which are your favorites?
* I looked up the expression to a tee and found it first appeared with that spelling in 1777 in J. Giles Poems. “I’ll tell you where You may be suited to a tee.” source The Phrase Finder