Every woman, young and less young, know that you can score some real treasures in a thrift store. It’s becoming easier and easier to be fashionable whilst hunting through the bargain bin and scraping hangers left to right, especially with vintage always being “in” and the unspoken fact that grandpa sweaters will always be cool. But what about the “automatically ignore and pretend it shouldn’t even be in here” section called, “Lingerie”? Lingerie, yes, as in attire worn under clothing or for intimate pursuits, as I like to say. Can a level headed female even consider prying through camisoles and bras worn by others? Let’s explore that.
The first issue is undoubtedly hygiene. I do not support buying used underwear, panties, knickers, or whatever else you can call them. That would be crossing the line in many books. But otherwise, lingerie is just like any skirt or halter top you’d buy at the thrift store. It has been worn by another person, who wears different lotion and touches different things and showers more or less than you, but sweats just like you. You still buy that sweater. “But what if other…stuff…has been on it? You know, because it is lingerie?” Well, no one knows what the girl did in the skirt you just bought and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know. In any case, the solution is called water and laundry detergent. Genius inventions they are. Now, if you can’t get pass the fact that somebody did do something hot and heavy in an item, by all means don’t fluster yourself over it. But I may point out that there are several reasons to buy thrift lingerie…
1.) It’s cheaper, no brainer. But the thrift store isn’t the only place to find it. There are literally thousands of Ebay auctions going on right now for bras, many new with tags, of various brands: Maidenform, Victoria’s Secret, Ambrielle, Frederick’s, and more. All you need is an account and the dough. I have won 3 Victoria’s Secrets bras in my size, in pretty colors, and in excellent condition for under $30 in TOTAL. Crazy awesome, I know. You can learn practically everything about the bras condition just by looking at them. If there’s no visible sweat stains, snags, stretched elastic, or rogue under wires, you are good to go. Don’t hesitate to look for nightgowns, corsets, garter belts, or other pieces as well. Chances are they were worn only once (and taken off quickly,) received it as a gift and it was the wrong size, or they just didn’t need it anymore. Also check out online or local swaps. My home swap site is Rehash but also try swap.com.
2.) If it’s damaged, you can fix it. Many items are brought to the thrift store damaged or so worn out it’s more like a dishrag than something made for a human to wear. If the former is the case, you still have a cause to explore. Vintage night slips are common hanger holders in my local Goodwill. They are cute, functional, and were well made for a woman’s physique. But they may have gotten some abuse over the years. If you find something and its strap is sadly ripped, sew it. If there is a hole in the lace, replace it. Better yet, revamp it and make it your own. Just think, no other girl in the world would have the same 1950’s full slip with the 2013 limited edition Swarovski crystal stretch lace.
3.) You can sell it. Vintage sells. Vintage lingerie sells very well. My suggestions are to look long and hard for good, quality pieces. Look beyond the 1980’s and try for older, more classic items, like stockings, garter belts, garters, cinchers, bras, bralettes, teddies, robes, camisoles, etc. If you are unsure about the approximate era of an item, use a search engine to look up any info you have about it. Type in the brand, serial number, or exact item name to start out. Or ask a lingerie expert, there are plenty of bloggers out there who have years and years of collected items to brag about and discuss. You’ll want to be as specific as possible in order to bring in customers. To make items with crotch panels more useable, use a seam ripper to remove the old one and sew on a new strip of fabric.
There are plenty of hidden beauties within your local thrift store that would love to make you look good. All you have to do is find it, clean, and treasure it. If you think it’s weird I’m wearing some other woman’s bra, oh well. At least I’m looking neat and perky underneath your Grandpa Joe’s cardigan