F*cking AWESOME: Thrift Shops No Longer Getting a Bad Rap (or Maybe They Are--Depends on How You Look at It)

So I’m watching the Macklemore video “Thrift Shop” for the first time the other day. The clip shows the rapper hitting the clubs all decked out in his Sunday Best, complete with green alligator shoes on his feet and a girl on each arm.

Although he looks the part of baller, he's rapping the praises of having built his fashion savvy by shopping the "thrift shop down the road." The lyrics and imagery antithesize all the excess and high-end brand consumption that defines rap and hip-hop.

Instead of bragging Cristal this Rollie that, Macklemore's talking 99-cent fur coats.

A couple things came to mind while watching the video: Perhaps the memories are still so vivid that now I won’t even come within a hundred miles of a secondhand store.

My mother being an interior decorator tries to get us to mix-and-match cheap with chic and to evoke eclecticism, which may also include incorporating with a designer or couture piece a one-of-kind gem from the Salvation Army. Her rationale: Gathering inspiration from multiple sources makes for great art.

I bear no ill will toward Goodwill. They obviously transitioned me to the fashion maven I’ve grown into today (LOL!). As a young adult finally earning my own income, I initially couldn’t afford $35 Levi 501s. But I could at least depend on the neighborhood resale shop to drape me in style.

I can totally relate to Macklemore’s sporting a "big-ass coat."

My freshmen year of high school, I visited my favorite haunt Amvets one day and--I swear!--I bought this big-ass pinstripe blazer, which hung on me like a Hefty trash bag on Olive Oyl, about 10 sizes too large for my 90-pound frame. Clearly, it had been somebody‘s grand pappy or father’s coat.

To make matters worse, I knew it smelled weird before I left the store, but tried it on anyway and thought it looked fly enough that if I took it to the dry cleaner they could process the odor out.

They lied and, apparently, I was delusional in my quest.

Since I hated to throw away my $3 special (along with the $10 I spent to clean it), I took it to school to see if I could give it away to any of my male classmates since no female colleagues I knew wore over-sized clothing.

While awaiting its fate, the jacket stunk up my locker and then proceeded to antagonize the guy I gave it to well into the next semester, when he told me he could no longer endure the stench; he HAD to throw the jacket away.

That experience damaged me, sticking with me like a bad pop song you can't shake from your head.

Now, the thought of wearing somebody else’s clothes (when I can afford not to) makes me itch. My affliction may not be as dramatic as the idiosyncratic Billy Bob Thornton’s fear of antique furniture, but admittedly I’m not too far off from him!

Like Macklemore, I’ve never bought a $50 tee shirt.

But when I got my first real job, an office job while a junior in undergrad, I bought a $200 tee shirt (my whole paycheck at the time) and by virtue of its price (or maybe because I really have no taste?) it was not spotted on any other fashionistas strutting the campus hallways. That’s why at the time I spared no expense. I didn't want to run into someone copping my style.

I’m a bit more sensible, now, when it comes to tee shirts, anyway. Because I can buy them at Walmart, Target (pronounced “tahr-ZHAY”), and any of the various teenybopper stores lining the Super Mall. For three bucks, I can sport a fresh one every day of the week and still retain the other one-eighty-five in my a$$ pocket.

One thing I won't skimp on, though, is shoes. That's another story in itself.

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    Cindy Barrymore

    I am internationally published, award-winning journalist who has worked in just about every facet of media from TV and film to magazines, promotional materials, newspapers, and books. I currently work as a media consultant, which (in addition to coaching executives in Corporate America) also includes writing and shooting photography for PR and journalistic publication. I have covered entertainment, specifically, since the 1990s, as well as performed as an actor and singer in TV commercials and industrial film, and studied arts, fashion and pop-culture history. My writing has published in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Us Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Vibe and Circus magazines. My photography has appeared in People, the Daily Beast, OK!, Self, Life and Style, Glamour, and on E!, Wendy Williams Show, and Oxygen, to name a few. I've interviewed celebrities as diverse as Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Kiss, STP, Dio, Kanye West, and Presidents Clinton and Obama. In between blogging for Chicago Now, I also founded my own successful entertainment blog ChicaHollywood.com and have also blogged for VH1. As a kid I once danced on the shows Soul Train and Hangin' with MTV. I have three graduate degrees in communications and continue to further my academic education. (Hopefully, I will finish my PhD this decade!) With this blog, I look forward to making you think and to ask questions. But most importantly I aspire to make you smile. Because hopefully as I do with myself, I do not take those wacky celebrities that seriously.... Kim Kardashian for President! Lindsay Lohan for V.P.

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