Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One's Trash is Another's Treasure

The art of thrifting takes time (a lot of it), knowledge of your likings (and dislikes), and letting the imagination flow freely.  I rarely shop at thrift stores mainly because of the first part.  It's very time consuming, but when my schedule is open, I take a sneak peak at what's new and wander around the store for hours, hoping to find a fabulous find.

Thrift stores are like sunken ships.  The exterior is sad, located in secluded, random areas, yet there's so many treasures buried in between the other ugly one-of-a-kinds that perhaps someone's Great, Great, Great Aunt once wore during the Great Depression.  And even though there are many clothes that are depressing, like the warped shirts that have been stretched out too much or the poop-stained granny panties for example, there are still garments that have life in them.  Accessories, toys, and books too.  

Chanel's Quilted Lambskin Classic Handbag
Monday was my lucky day.  After having a sushi lunch with the boyfriend, I ended up stopping by the Unique Thrift Store by my house before heading home.  I wasn't actively looking for anything in particular but as I walked around the store going through the rows and rows of clothes, I finally see a wall full of purses and bags.  Excited, I headed over.  I've been looking for a small messenger bag/traveler's purse with a long strap.  I specifically want Chanel's quilted lambskin classic handbag with the cute chain detailing in black, but I just can't settle down with a fake.  (It's something about me being a designer and hope to God that nobody would buy replica's of my work, although I know it will happen either way).  

Anyways as I pass a fake Chanel purse, I look and see a tannish, light brown Dooney and Bourke messanger bag/traveler's purse, like the one I wanted.  First thing that goes through my mind, (it's fake).  I reached over and picked up the purse and thought the leather was impeccably real.  Opened it up, felt the interior and the exterior thinking (damn, this is a good fake).  Next thing I look at was the stitching. Designer bags have quality stitching, no doubt about that.  Never crooked and straight like a pin needle.  It's one of the reasons why consumers pay for a bag that expensive (that and the leather, the hand-painted monograms, brand name, etc... you know how it is)!  Surprisingly the stitching was spot on.  To make a final judgement of whether or not I should get it was the metal detailing.  Before passing up on the fake Chanel, I looked at the interior to see if the words "Chanel" was engraved in the brass.  It wasn't.  The Dooney and Bourke purse did have their brand name associated with even the smallest detailing on the inside, which made me determine that this was indeed, real.  Excited that I finally found "the one," I purchased it, went home, and immediately carried my new baby by my side as I ran errands at Sam's Club.

Oh yeah, what's even better was that the purse was only $22.  Originally $30, but with Mondays being 25% off on all merchandise, it came out to be $22!  As far as the value of the purse?  I believe the authentic leather alone is worth at least $50 if not more.  But it's brand name and the style of it adds value which increases it to around $200-$250!  

Thank you to whoever donated this purse.  It's simple and casual, perfect for bike riding, small trips, and to a recent college grad who is on a budget.  Your trash has become my treasure.  =]

Lina Chen

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