I've always been a fan of 2nd hand items...things that are new to me and yet inexpensive. It's always been kind of a fun challenge to find bargains -- knowing and enjoying the savings. It's like a trophy or a victory every time I find a great object or piece of clothing at a hole-in-the-wall thrift or outlet store.
And with the economy in its present condition, thrift stores are popping up everywhere.
I will say, I'm not a fan of every one of them. I love used music stores: old records, used CD's, vintage concert shirts and posters. But, I'm not a huge fan of antique/junk stores; though, I have found some cool things at the ones in Port Townsend. There used to be one called April Morning that sold all kinds of colored glass and Tiffany lamps. They were beautiful, and even though I couldn't afford them, I gleaned plenty of enjoyment just wandering around and admiring things: cute little port glass sets, bar trays, fringed table lamps.
There's also a great basement thrift store in Port Townsend that really chooses their items well. High quality, good brands, decent prices.
On the corner in the U district in Seattle, is one of my favorite vintage clothing stores. They sell used denim, t-shirts, and fabulous 40s/50s dresses and shoes.
On occasion, I find an item or two at Goodwill or Value Village. Mostly, kids clothes. In fact, very rarely do I buy anything brand new for my son. Since he's bound to grow out of it before he wears it out (at least for now), there is little reason to go all out and spend 20 or 30 dollars on an outfit or a pair of shoes.
Today, I bought a few items for him at Dungeness Kids Co. in Sequim. They had a lot of cute clothes...good brands, fun gift items. Most of the clothes they sell are new...lots of organic cotton, earth-friendly options, recycled plastic and wood toys. It was a fun place. And while their used clothing section wasn't very big, the selection was of good condition, clean, and inexpensive.
Shopping second-hand definitely has its perks. Usually, the things you find have already been washed (and shrunk), so you know it will fit the same way after you wash it as it does in the dressing room. Also, if things go wrong with it...you decide you don't like it after all, it gets a pull, it loses a button...you don't feel quite as bad as you would if it was new and cost a lot more.
If you haven't tried it, you should. It's almost garage sale season. If you have kids or are having them, bargain-hunting is a must-learned skill.
Even if you DO buy new...promise yourself to never buy full price. The mark-up on clothing is ridiculous. Wait for coupons, buy out-of-season (for example: now's the time to stock up on winter-wear, long-johns, coats, boots, etc.), buy off-brands and buy way ahead of time (I stock up on sizes for my son months before he's ready for them when I find great deals on staple items like t-shirts, jeans, and pajamas).
If you must buy brand-name...hit the factory outlets, try off-market internet sites, wait a few months till it goes on sale.
I used to work at a specialty clothing store. It's what stopped my excuses for buying full price. The woman who owned the store once received a shipment of skirts and dresses from India that she wanted me to ticket and display. The cost per item? $8. The price she sold them for? $80. Need I say more?
Join the 2nd-hand revolution and save yourself some cash.