Thrifting vs. Vintage

Thrifted vintage Fendi dress.

Sometimes terms like vintage and thrifted are used in confusing ways, but to a dedicated second hand shopper they are distinct. Thrifting first and foremost means shopping a charity or thrift shop that sells donated clothes to raise money to support their cause. Thrifting is my favorite way to shop second hand:

  • The money I spend thrifting goes to supporting a worthy cause.
  • Shopping in a thrift store is truly a treasure hunt – although most stores sort through the clothes to remove damaged, stained and otherwise unwearable clothes, thrift shops are generally completely neutral about what they sell.
  • And, at least around here, they are pretty much neutral as to label as well. The H&M tee and the Stella McCartney tee cost the same $1-3, thank you very much.
  • In a thrift shop you can find everything: new and old, known and unknown, mass produced to home made.

Vintage is generally acknowledged to be clothes produced 20 or more years ago. A vintage shop is not the same as a thrift shop. A vintage seller chooses her clothes, sometimes focusing on a particular era, but generally not selling anything produced within the last two decades. A vintage store, like a consignment store, chooses and edits their offerings – and the shopper pays a premium for shopping for this selection.

It does get confusing though because you can buy vintage at a thrift store, but everything at the thrift store is not vintage. In my experience, most things in thrift stores are relatively recent but once in a while you might even find designer vintage – my favorite!

Have you shopped in thrift/charity shops? What is your favorite find?



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