Mike and his family live in Oyama, BC, part of the beautiful Okanagan. When Mike graduated from high school, he chose to purchase his suit at a thrift shop – shoes and tie too. I had a chance to have a Facebook chat with him and asked him about his thrifting experience.
TSFP: How long have you been a thrift shopper?
MW: I think I started thrift shopping for myself in grad 11, so about four years ago. I would go to the Kelowna MCC Thrift Shop with my friends and we would check things out there maybe once a week in the summer. My mom volunteered there quite a bit, and I even helped out once in a while, which enabled me to get a preview of the donations. My friends and I found some great stuff down there and exploring the donations was very interesting. So I suppose that’s how it all started. Since then my major source of shopping is Value Village and the MCC Thrift Shop. I shop there because it’s inexpensive, there is a lot of selection, there is a wide variety from clothing to kitchen utensils, and they have everything that suits my ‘hipster style.
TSFP: How did you come to the decision to buy your grad suit at a thrift shop?
MW: My grad suit wasn’t a big decision for myself. My mom was volunteering there one day sorting clothes and she found the suit. She brought it home, and it was my grad year at high school. I still needed a suit and I needed one soon, so I tried it on and it fit pretty decent. Renting or buying from retail is quite ridiculous, I must say. It just wasn’t worth it for me to spend more than $100 for one night. I wasn’t big on grad either or the whole high school experience, so I felt no need to stand out and flash the crowds.
I think it’s a good idea to shop thrifty for grad because it can be super expensive and who knows? You might grow still, that’s risky business buying things that are expensive and may not fit in a year’s time.
TSFP: How did your friends react?
MW: My friends were not too shocked. Most of my friends rented for grad and all wore the simple black and had their moms pimp them out a bit with a little flashy additions in sewing. They gave me the classic high school high five or a fist bump and that was about it.
TSFP: Anything else you want to share about thrifting?
MW: Value Village is my favorite store to shop in. It’s big, and I find all my clothes there. I am a dedicated fan to them. I recently bought a rain jacket at Value Village that is retail over $400 and bought it there for $18. I think that makes my point.
Thrift is the best, but you have to know what you are looking for when you go in and be picky with price. I always look at the price, the fashion itself, and make sure it’s not stained or has big holes. I also check brand names. If you know what things are worth retail, it makes knowing a fair price for retail better.
Great advice, Mike! I think it’s so great when grads don’t buy into the pressure of having to spend a fortune on their apparel. I think Mike looks awesome in his suit. Next week, I hope to share a story about a young lady who did the same with her prom outfit.