Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It just never occurred to me!

Well, I thought I would share a finding with everyone this week. For many people, they'll probably just read this and go D'uh!!! but it was something that I had never even considered before - that is finding decent workout clothes at various thrift stores around town. I was surprised, I guess, because 1) I had never looked for exercise clothes at thrift stores in the past - even though I do frequent them on a somewhat regular basis and 2) I forget that other people either fade in and out of their exercise habits or they might just not want to be caught in last years fashions or they might be growing or shrinking out of clothing. Whenever I get a new piece of workout gear, I generally tend to wear it until it is a little bit of overstretched, smelly, disgusting, raggy fabric. I would die of embarrassment to put my old gear in the bag going to Goodwill or the ARC... it would be tantamount to putting my old ratty undies in the bag! LOL! Anyway, for those reasons, it just never occurred to me to look... until this past week.

Finding this out this week has made me very happy. I like having a bit of a selection of workout clothes so I don't have to wear the exact same thing day after day after day, plus you need to change up your gear based on what the weather is doing outside... so it's good to have at least a few pieces to choose from... but I hate how expensive exercise clothes can be... I have a hard time stomaching paying $50 for a t-shirt that if it were made of cotton would be $9.99. Of course, I have tried sewing lycra fabrics before and it is a major pain in the patoot... so I'm guessing that is at least part of the expense. Still, I just don't have the fortitude or the financial resources to pay out that much money. I would rather put the $50 toward a race entry fee!

So, while I was out shopping for regular clothes this week (I have a closet full of clothes that just hang off my body... it looks really horrible and isn't doing much for my self esteem... I decided to glance around to see what workout clothes were also available at the same locations. What I have found is that some of the thrift stores in my area have a better selection than others. Some of my observations - although this is purely my first impression and is based on the stores I go to in my neighborhood... what you find in your neck of the woods might vary greatly.
  1. My local Goodwill is NOT the place to look for used workout clothing. Yes, they did have some, but not as large of a selection for a similar if not bigger stores than some of the other stores in the area.  My guess is that our Goodwill is usually pretty busy and their selection is probably more picked-over than other stores in the area because of that. 
  2. Don't discount a store because it is small... this week one of the smallest stores I visited... a private resell shop called The Dig on McLoughlin Blvd in Milwaukie... had proportionately one of the largest selections of athletic apparel. In fact, they had a whole section devoted to workout gear. The down side was that most of their stuff (including all their normal street wear clothing) was geared toward smaller sizes... mostly smalls & mediums with a few larges and even fewer XL's.
  3. Value Village had a decent selection (at least at the location I went to). It wasn't great, but it was better than GW and the clothing was generally in better shape overall. I really like VV's layout. They have stuff segregation by garments AND by size with a separate area for exercise clothing. 
  4. The best place I found this week was the Red, White & Blue store on McLoughlin. For a large scale resell/thrift shop they have some of the nicest clothes around and they had a bunch of workout gear. The two caveats I have for this store are A) they mix ALL their sizes together... so you have to go through everything and if you see something you think you might like, you still won't know until you look at the tag if it's something that is actually in your size... frustrating. B) Also, they accept CASH ONLY... no credit, no debit, no EBT, no checks, nada... just cold hard cash, which I rarely have on my person. They have an ATM onsite, but I refuse to pay $3 in service fees just to buy a $4 shirt! That being said, I found several workout shirts here this week... alas they are mixed in with everything else on the racks... okay maybe that's actually caveat #3. Still, if you're in the area, it might be worth checking out.
  5. Another thing to keep in mind is that most of these thrift stores cater to more generalized sizes; S, M, L, and XL. If you are wearing larger sizes 2X, 3X, etc. It will be harder to find stuff at these stores. But then, I feel like that's the case for ALL clothing, unfortunately. I find it kind of ironic that we are a country plagued with an obesity epidemic, yet the majority of the clothing still caters to those who perfectly conform to the prescribed height/weight charts... like everyone else is supposed to go around in mumus... or naked.
  6. You have to be a regular shopper at these stores to find the best stuff. I will admit that I'm not that disciplined. I go in from time to time and if I find stuff, great and if not, I usually don't go back for a while... which is probably the exact opposite of what I should really be doing since all of these stores advertise that they get new stuff in daily and you only find the really great things by going and checking out the incoming selection consistently.
I hope that others will find this post helpful and that it's not just me that was surprised by this... if everyone else really is going "d'uh!" could you all just keep it to yourselves and let me go on thinking that I'm helping out in some small, small, microscopic way? Thanks!


Sharyn said...

I'd love to see some photos of your exercise/thrift store finds!

Jo said...

Sharyn, Unfortunately, I didn't buy anything this week. I saw several things at RW&B store that I really liked... including a short sleeve light blue Nike top that would look so good w/ my navy running skirt, but alas I went w/out any cash and haven't been back! When I buy some stuff, I'll be sure to post it. I also saw a couple of tops I liked at The Dig, but they were too small... boo hoo hoo!!!