I keep hearing it said that you can't find good stuff at thrift stores anymore. Well, I have to disagree. Granted, it takes time and the ability to withstand a lot of ugly 80s dresses and unmatched Tupperware, but I am continually amazed by what people discard.
My most recent find, and the impetus for this post, was a Vivienne Westwood handbag- casual, wearable and in perfect condition. Just in the last year, I have found Bakelite bangles, 1950s Pyrex mixing bowls, a pair of Junya Watanabe pants, a 1940s Mexican silver bracelet, a vintage green wooden Japanese box, a Catherine Malandrino sweater, Marc Jacobs shoes (and not "Marc for Marc Jacobs" either!), a 1950s handpainted Mexican circle skirt, a pristine 1950s party dress, a set of 8 fabulous 1960s party glasses, French eyeglass frames, and an undercarved aquamarine lucite bracelet. There's more, I promise you.
Yes, I spend more than the average amount of time in thrift stores. Yes, I have acquired the ability to edit out a lot of bad visual and odorous bombardments. These amazing finds are out there. For me, the thrill of the hunt has always outweighed any of the potentially negative experiences of shopping second hand or "segundo mano" as many of these stores are called. And since I'm shopping there to find the raw materials for my recycled garments, these "extras" are the payoffs that make these shopping trips more than worthwhile.
So, I encourage you to take a little side trip when you're headed to the mall. Take a little spin around your local thrift stores and do it more than once. You'll greatly improve your odds of finding something truly spectacular.