Thrift Shop Pub Crawl

The first time I heard of a 12 Pubs crawl (way back in 2010) I thought it sounded sort of fun, if not entirely doable.

4 years later I have a mild panic attack whenever I see a group of holiday-jumpered revellers approach a bar I occupy. But a few months ago, when chatting to my friend Ruth about doing a day of hitting some thrift shops and then heading to the bar, I thought – why not both at once?

Luckily, I have a group of fabulous clothes-minded friends who were up for the challenge – and we had a great time, as you can see below.

One has to try on funny hats when one is among friends
One MUST  try on funny hats when one is among friends

It’s all pretty simple –

  1. Pick an area with a lot of thrift shops (and bars!)
  2. If you have a large group, come up with a loose schedule – for example, say you will be at Bar A at 1pm and leaving at 1.30pm. You will be in Bar B at 2.45pm and leave at 3.15pm. Hit the thrift shops between those two bars in the mean time. If someone immediately finds a shop to be a no-go, they can go on ahead to the bar and get an extra tipple in. If you have a smaller group (as we did) you can play things a little looser. We were all pretty much moving at the same pace so we just made our way down the street, picking bars ahead of time and hitting all the shops in between. In the end we only hit 3 bars – but got to 15 thrift shops, which for 5 hours was really good work!
  3. Have fun. Duh.

While I love to shop alone, digging through thrift stores that is much more enoyable as a communal endeavor – after all, you have multiple sets of eyes flicking through the racks on the hunt, and if they’re the right sort of friends they’ll share what they find!

A few tips –

I went for my standard marathon-shopping outfit – a long black thin-strapped tank top, black tights, and slip off shoes (not dissimilar from my Travelling Look) and a coat with snap buttons. All of this allowed for super fast changing. And provides a good base if you’re trying on a jacket/kimono/cardigan/etc.

Have your smart phone handy. I was in a vintage store a couple of weeks ago and found an amazing coat priced at €50. I was on the fence. Great coat, but a bit pricey for what was supposed to be a frugal shop. So I googled the brand label, and a description of the coat…and found versions of it selling on eBay for everywhere from $450-$700*.

So I got the coat.

A Most Excellent Find
A Most Excellent Find

I’m not saying that everything you pick up needs to be designer – maybe there was a dress in Penney’s last year that sold out before you could get it, and now here it is in a thrift shop for a fiver – great! But it is good to be aware of the brands along with the obvious things to look at when thrifting (wear and tear, etc.) You (probably) don’t want to pay €20 for something that you could still get new at H&M for €25.

So – if you’re a little skint post-holidays but still want to get your shop on, I highly recommend grabbing some friends and trying out one of these for yourself. We’re doing another one at the end of January and I can’t wait!

In the end I walked away with two bulging bags with great finds – and the drinks made me a little more adventurous in what I picked out!

One of my favourite finds from the day
One of my favourite finds from the day

*The coat I have has a label sold in Anthropologie and Free People, hence the how pricey it was originally in the store, and why it was selling for so much. But I also did a reverse image search and discovered a woman selling the EXACT SAME coat with the Denim & Co. label (that’s right – Primark). I could see the label clearly in the picture, and she confirmed in her blog that she bought it in Primark in the early 80s. Exactly the same coat, down to the most minute details. So sometimes the knock-off effect works in reverse if enough time goes by – I’m sure they both came from the same factory, but the 25 year difference affected which company wanted sell and market it.

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