The Gospel of Thrift (Stores)
Current mood: bouncy
Category: Fashion, Style, Shopping
I have been thinking about thrift…
'Thrift' started with my mom. We would make a date of scouring all the good thrift stores to find
vintage clothing, or nice stuff for a buck or 2 rather than $20 new. It wasn't a secret. I wasn't
ashamed of shopping at thrift stores, I bragged about it. Of course, when I got older I was
excited to discover others who loved thrift, with some that was the only thing we had in common.
In Hawaii we had a "Boutique" of free thrift clothing. Take some, leave some. It was rad.
In a sense, thrift is an art.
Honest moment: Okay, I am not too much of a thrifty. I just go every once in awhile. I wouldn’t put it in the “hobby” classification, just something to do at times with rewards.
Anyways, I have been pondering this. For the most part in the area I live, I am discovering that thrift isn’t exactly the ‘thing’. For one, it is crazy expensive. I mean, these people are charging the out the wazooo for some junk! Or I went to the brand name thrift store the other day. Everything was “Banana Republic,” “Gap,” intermingled with other brands which I have never been classy enough to the names of. Still, the retro thrift isn’t so much the thing (though I can get things that are new, yes, pretend vintage and that is okay if intermingled with other styles). It has taken me more than a year to begin to believe this. As I wear the perfectly worn old tee with the paint peeling off, I am noticing that no one else is. There are the Tennis-skirt moms and cute-heals business women. I am not either one of those, though I have discovered the tennis skirts are very comfy to take walks in, and I have even graduated to wearing shoes in the winter which are apparently tasteful enough to be complimented. But I find it odd that Thrift isn’t cool. Do they not like the old pictures? The peeling paint? The barely-there material? Or yellow armpits? Okay, I understand that last one.
I am starting to see this in a new light. I sometimes feel self-conscious in my old tees. At least I know when it isn’t the appropriate social norm to wear them. I can look down at my shirt and actually be aware that it looks old. Not like cool-old. But moldy old (as for a lack of a better word). I have lived in denial for so long, not seeing the reality of the state my tee-shirt was it. No wonder people think it looks old. Its because it is. Such an odd realization.
This experience of “understanding” brought me to a new level of knowing God. You see, we are like thrift. We are old. We are yellow armpited. We are worn out. We are used. We have stains on us. This is the reality. Others might see us that way. Then others might think we are “cool” looking because they are “cool” looking. When really, we might both look like crap but be in denial of such a factor. All to say, though God sees us how we really are (He knows the reality of our situation) He still accepts us. Jesus paided quite the price to buy us from the thrift store. It is a weird image to think of me as an old-tee shirt with Jesus blood filling one of those ghetto cash registers. He thinks we are cool enough to buy. He loves us. In fact, He was our designer, making us back when we were pretty. After He buys us He won’t just hide us saying “Dude, my creation looks BAD, totally not like how I wanted it to be, I can’t let anyone see this so I’ll tuck it away in this drawer for no one to see forever.” Nope. He doesn’t do that. Instead He is like, “I am so going to wear this for EVERYONE to see!” So what makes us cool? Looking like a bad tee-shirt on Jesus’ spirit who lives in us? Or the fact that its HIM who wears us around, loving us this much, entrusting us this much to let the real beauty, God’s character, shine from behind that shirt. The gospel of thrift.
Don’t fret. I am not planning on entirely giving up thrift; I still appreciate its goodness. I still like it, even though I now have the talent to let myself see it through a new lens. Oh, yes, Wonderful thrift! After all, I guess Jesus likes thrift 🙂
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By C. S. Lewis
Release date: 05 February, 2001