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June 19, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 5 Faves: 0

The New Found Popularity of "Poppin' Tags"

By Rachael Ellen More Blogs by This Author

Do you sense it? There has been a disturbance in the fashion force. Yes, it’s not uncommon to see styles change, evolve, and  repeat again (I still can’t figure out how metallic go-go boots ever came back around), but what we are observing now is a true phenomena people. Alright, sure, some have been doing this before it became the popular pastime and the budget cognizant choice, but now it has become a culturally accepted trend in our society: Second hand shopping.

The stereotype associated with thrift shopping years ago was an unflattering one: people would completely overlook and avoid the neighborhood Goodwill and Salvation Army sheerly because of the label that accompanied it. Over the past few decades, however, the cruel classifications of “homeless and poor” have vanished. People have recently begun taking advantage of their local second hand store and are no longer hiding it, but are bragging about it and sharing their amazing finds with their friends!

The Three Types of Second Hand

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of how awesome second hand shopping can be, we need to make some clarifications.

First things first, there is actually an organization called the National Association of Resale Professionals (I am not clever enough to make this up folks) that began in 1984 with a mission: “To provide members of NARTS with professional development, educational opportunities, communication within the industry and member services in response to member identified needs and priorities, and to develop public recognition and represent the Resale Industry.”

Now our good friends from NARTS do a little more than sport a nice mission statement; they also break down the differences between a resale, thrift, and consignment shop.

1.) Consignment Shops: The shop accepts the merchandise on a consignment basis and pays the owners a percentage when the item is sold.

2.) Thrift Shops: These are your Goodwills and Salvation Armies of the second hand bunch. They’re organizations that are not for a profit, but instead raise funds for charitable causes. Some thrift shops do donation based merchandise mixed with consignment.

3.) Resale Shops: For those familiar with resale shops, a popular example that comes to mind is Plato’s Closet (fun fact: Plato’s Closet is a franchise that is popping up all over North America, spreading north toward our Canadian friends). In resale, the stores are purchasing their products right from individual owners.

Pre-Owned? Must be lesser quality...

Another wrongly placed stereotype has weaseled its way into our culture, causing people to associate pre-owned merchandise with lower quality goods. That is far from the case! Products that are second hand are still functional, usable pieces. The only difference is you didn't pay full price for it! Depending on where you decide to shop second hand (especially if it’s a thrift shop), you are going to be surrounded with a lot of merchandise, and some of it may be a little rough. Don’t be overwhelmed. Have some patience, and keep in mind that with some gumption, you’ll find a piece that stands out from the rest. The great thing about thrift shops, other than the enormous amount of stuff, is that the prices there will be much cheaper than the items found in a typical resale or consignment hub. That being said, every second hand store will carry items that fall into your personal “subpar” category. The trick is to stay positive! Half of the fun of being a second hand shopper is the hunt for the great deals!

Incorporation of Thrifting Into Your Every Day

What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t practice what I’m so passionately preachin’? First off, I have to confess: for inspiration, I am jamming to Pentatonix cover of Macklemore’s popular hit “Thrift Shop.” Between the catchy phrases and the true expression of how great a bargain feels, I can’t help but feel accomplished of my own wardrobe. Right now I am sitting in a cubicle dressed all business-casual and such in a blue blouse and a pair of black dress pants. Got the mental picture? Well, every item I’m wearing, including my jewelry, I didn’t pay full price for. Some of it I got ridiculously cheap on sale at the end of the season, but some came from a humble thrift shop. If you guessed the black dress pants were my second hand score, you receive ten points for Gryffindor! They cost me three dollars at a second hand shop in Hudsonville, Michigan called Revive. Little victories like this have morphed my shopper motto.

I believe that, one: you should never pay full price for clothes. Ever. Secondly, I believe that when you are shopping for basic clothing articles like pants, shorts, and plain colored tees, go cheap and go the Goodwill way. Eventually the desired quality will be there, you will just have to keep your eyes open and your thoughts positive.

With resale and consignment shops, the price of products is going to be higher because it is a business, they are in it for the money. Don’t take that as a knock against them, but just be aware. Sometimes, their designer sections will have major scores that are fractions of what the original price could have been, but other times, you can purchase the same item, new and on sale for a similar cost. Be a proactive and smart shopper ladies and gents, because each item you plop in your closet cost you a precious buck or two.

Now that you’ve got the insider scoop, without further adieu, go out and start poppin’ tags and begin your second hand story!


The Association of Resale Professionals. The National Association of Resale Professionals, n.d. Web. 13 June 2013.

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  • Go NARTS (how crazy is that?)! I LOVE second-hand shopping! Great Blog!

  • good ideas Rachael, I always clean out my closet at least twice a year and donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army depending which direction I'm driving. I'm always afraid to go in and shop though because I think I will find the clothes I donated and want to buy them back! Wouldn't that be uncool!

  • I totally understand where you are coming from Nancy! On more than one occasion, I have frequented a store to find the pieces I donated on the rack! The funniest thing though, is seeing other people pick up you're old piece and make comments on it (the usual "what is this?" and "That's awful" have been tidbits I've heard)!. If only they knew!

    And Victoria, thank-you! If anybody can explain to me why the acronym in NARTS, I would be forever grateful! I'm stumped!

  • I love shopping at Plato's Closet! I revamped my entire wardrobe (and I mean 10 pairs of jeans, oodles of shirts, a brand new winter coat, two dresses, and a pair of never worn knee high boots) for about $85. When my sisters were still going through growth spurts as school age kids I bought their back to school clothes from Platos. Combine my student discount with frequent shopper cards and 50 cent t-shirt day, you can imagine the haul! The cashiers were never happy to see me and my sisters come in the store!

  • They have student discounts?!
    I have been so sheltered...
    What do you need to do, just flash your college I.D. and then be on your merry way with armloads of clothes?

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