“God Forbid! None of my children will wear bend-down-select!”
My father called out as he marched into his room. He slammed the door so hard, he almost unhinged it. How could anyone have suggested the idea of thrift shopping in his precious house-hold?
We were well below average at this point (We lived in an uncompleted building without floors and a toilet) so my little mind concluded this type of shopping must be reserved for the ones even poorer. Maybe, wretched.
Typically pronounced bend-down-select, coined from the act of bending to sort through clothes at the thrift markets. Unlike in Lagos where there were warehouses and markets solely for thrift, there were no such markets in Akure. The vendors simply poured out their wares on the sacks they transport them in beside the roads– usually at night as if the sun posed a threat or they sold Shea Butter.
A couple of years later in OAU, Mozambique hall. It was a hot day, and I laid miserable in bed swatting flies with one palm, fanning myself with the other. Vendors would bring their wares from time to time and this day, a thrift vendor came. Window shopping seemed like a less despondent task and so I dug in. She left with a smile on her face and 15 fewer T-shirts, I had just spent 7,000 on 15 T-shirts. It felt like striking gold, getting a new wardrobe at such a little cost. Nobody would know they weren’t new and I didn’t embarrass my family by going to the market
That same year, I spent my holidays in Lagos and that birthed a completely new thrift experience for me.
One night on my way home from work I passed by Yaba market, one of the biggest thrift Markets in Lagos… Thank God? There were so many vendors, each struggling to call attention.
100 100 Naira! Come and buy your fine fine shirt 100 Naira.
I was dumbfounded. How can clothes be so cheap? I stopped and went home with a big bag. Some of which had one or two defects but I was too excited to be careful so I didn’t really inspect them.
After visiting a good number of thrift markets around the world, I have found that contrary to popular misconception, it is actually a practical way to cut lifestyle costs without necessarily cutting back on your ideas of luxury. For example, I love vintage and designer pieces, and they don’t come cheap.
Except, of course, you know where to look. 😊 And after at least 5 years of active thrifting, getting scammed and a number of bad choices, I can smell good deals from 100 steps away.
Now, I am so addicted to thrift shopping I even have a business that’s almost 2 years old now. (Patronize a small business today if you haven’t).
Here are some of my favorite finds from little hauls last month.
This lovely dress is Marks and Spencer and it cost less than 5$. It was new and the fabric is really solid. I mean it’s a designer dress😏
I bought this Zara Jumpsuit from my neighbor’s wardrobe. For a steal also.
You probably would have guessed by now that I love button-down dresses. I do, especially because of the versatility. You can choose where the buttons open and close and they’re so much easier to wear.
This African print dress was such a great find. It features an elastic waistband and off shoulders which makes it wearable at least 3 ways. The best.
Couldn’t have left this piece behind.
Everybody needs a little black dress, even better when it’s a wrap dress.