Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Thrifting Body Image

I've always loved thrift shopping, but could never put my finger on why. Maybe it's just college-budget friendly. Maybe I enjoy the surprises. Or maybe I'm just cheap

Until I went thrifting with a friend last week, and she mentioned how she hates shopping for clothes - except in thrift stores. "There's no anxiety here," she said. "Instead of having to choose a size or try to fit into the 'right number,' there's only one size of one shirt." 

casey the college celiac
If the shoe fits...
If the shirt fits, it's meant to be. If not, darn! Not my lucky day. That's it - no "sucking it in" or crying in the dressing room required

As I removed yet another pair of jeans that didn't fit (unless baggy is the new butt), another question stared at me from the dressing room mirror: What if we lived like we were thrift shopping? What if we didn't try to force ourselves to fit the mold but found what fits us?

casey the college celiac
Flower power hand-me-downs!
Whether because of their age or love of play-do, I've found that kids have an easier time rejecting the mold than teens and above. My scrapbook overflows with pictures of me rocking hand-me-down flowered tights, tank tops and my favorite faded denim skort with colorful beads hanging from the hem. (Don't ask how many times my mom sewed those beads back into place). 

Then middle school hits. High school, work uniforms, college, business dress and clothes designed to hide flaws with their shape as much as their price tags. 

But that's not the life I want

I want a life of scrounging through boxes of clothes while the thrift store stereo blasts songs about marijuana and broken hearts - at least until I find a bright red miniskirt just my size.


casey the college celiac
Skirt selifes....
I want a life of signing up for Weight Lifting next semester. The class came free with a confused, slightly concerned look from my adviser. 

I want a life of not knowing exactly where my blog posts are going and just letting my fingers click 
a path. 

I want a life of being the only writing major (thank you women's studies minor!) to present a paper at my school's Colt Conference for Political Science and History. I walked out smiling - even before I learned I won an award. 

casey the college celiac
There's a smile hiding behind that!
I want a life that hugs my hips and is accessorized with a grin.

Most importantly? I don't want to live afraid to return a shirt to the rack if it doesn't "feel like me." 

As a preteen, wearing secondhand clothing was nearly as uncool as lacking your own flip-phone. In college, there's less judgement - mainly because students are too sleep deprived to care about their (boho chic or fashionably deprived?) classmates. 

casey the college celiac
Sportin' a hand-me-down shirt, thrifted jacket and pants on our hike!
After spending four hours eating, laughing, searching (and finding) parking and thrifting with a friend, though, I think second-hand clothes can form more than our wardrobe. They can patch together a self-loving, adventure-searching, stubbornly individualized identity. 

All for five bucks a piece or less. 


*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's link party!*


Do you ever thrift-shop? How do you cope with or succeed when clothes shopping? Comment below! 




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