Inspiring Thrift Shop Living

Macklemore & Lewis:
"Thrift Shop" Living

Here's something we haven't had in a while at Vita di Moda - a little guest post!
I don't know about you, but this Macklemore song has been stuck in my head for a solid week due to being played on a loop constantly, so when I saw this article inspired by the song I knew I wanted to post it. I really believe in thrift stores - a lot of my favourite pieces have come from second hand shops - so this article gets two thumbs up from me. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, there was one song that climbed to Spotify’s number two most-played slot — Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” It’s a testament to the rap duo’s growing popularity that their song has climbed up to number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the number two spot on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. This success comes through a strong social media strategy, clever branding, an aggressive tour schedule, and word-of-mouth, as Macklemore and Lewis released their debut album “The Heist” without help from a major record label.

Brand Clothing is Not Cool

“Thrift Shop” slyly skewers mainstream culture and even includes a not-so-subtle jab at R. Kelly’s sex tape scandal (“Probably shoulda washed this, smells like R. Kelly’s sheets.”). The irreverent take on thrift store living and embracing secondhand style was inspired by the artists’ dismay about commercial trends. In an extensive interview with Esquire, Macklemore talked candidly about his awareness of celebrity branding and marketing campaigns. Macklemore said, “I see brands being cool because of their name and because of who wears the brands ... the one thing I will never do is buy a shirt because of its name.”

Second-Hand Clothing

Not so many years ago, most consumers wouldn’t dream of shopping at thrift stores to expand their wardrobes. With the financial crisis, dismal unemployment numbers, and increased cost of living, many people turned to secondhand stores out of necessity. Now, they’re finding shopping at thrift stores can be as fun as it is frugal.
Macklemore and Lewis’ hit celebrates the thrill that comes with scoring a great shirt or pair of shoes for only a couple of dollars. The song glorifies unique finds (“gator shoes,” “brown leather jacket,” “flannel zebra jammies”) and rips into people who pay big money for a brand-name t-shirt. In many ways, it is the opposite of most rap songs that glorify money, brands, celebrity lifestyle, and flaunting excessive wealth. For Macklemore and Lewis, this was an intentional way to make their listeners think about looking amazing while spending as little as possible.

Go to Every Section

Take some tips from Macklemore’s Esquire interview: “It’s about searching for whatever comes up ... check out the women’s section, the home section, the hat section.” For these rappers, it’s all about the thrill of the hunt. Keep your mind option to possibilities and only buy pieces you’re sure you’ll use. This approach will keep your pocketbook full and your wardrobe fresh. It’s also important to look for the unexpected — crazy prints, unique shoes, unconventional silhouettes. Pairing your thrift store finds with some pieces from a department store creates a personal style that’s all your own.

Be Frugal in Everything

The thrifty lifestyle glorified in the song is about more than just finding a killer outfit. Think about other ways you can save money and live thriftily, in keeping with the song’s principles. Most people seek out brand names everywhere from the department store to the grocery store. Start cutting coupons and buying off-brand food items to save yourself a bundle of money. If you need a car, consider a used vehicle and take just a few minutes to get quotes for used cars online. Or stop eating out a few nights a week and work on cooking yourself meals at home.
Many of us crave a champagne lifestyle on a Pabst Blue Ribbon budget, but Macklemore and Lewis’ “Thrift Store” is a great reminder of what’s important. Leaving the brand names behind and scouring your local thrift store for some amazing finds can liberate you from society’s incessant focus on consumerism.

Written by Marianne Posner

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