It’s Monday and I am excited about the new week because it’s an opportunity for me to correct the mistakes of last week and to plan ahead for the fresh week. Today, I want to talk about thrift shopping better know as ‘Bend Down Select’ in Nigeria.
We all know that times are hard and right now the economy of the country is ‘very favourable to everyone’ even the wealthy are not left out this time. I know lots of people might frown at the idea of ‘bend down select’ saying they are bigger than thrifting but one thing I have come to learn from my frequent thrifting experience is that thrifting is fun and you might be lucky to get very valuable substance at a ridiculous price.
If you’re new to thrifting game, here’s a few pointers to help you make the most of a visit to a thrift experience.
Know What You Want and Have A Need In Mind: Don’t get carried away by all of the clothes you see. Be creative, be practical, but also be sure that you can actually use everything you pick up at thrift stores. Before stepping out have a list of what you want to buy and how you want to style them. For example, the last time I went to a thrift store, I needed a lacey top because I had a skirt I wanted to style it with, having that in mind made me choose wisely. In Nigeria, if you don’t have a need in mind you will end up buying what is not useful to you because it’s cheap.
Inspect all Clothing Properly Before Eventually Settling For It: I’ve had many bad experiences from thrift shopping because I chose not to examine each clothing properly. That’s why you should always closely examine your thrift pieces before taking them home to prevent every thrifter’s worst nightmare. Make sure you give the surface level of each garment a serious eyeball for stains, tears, snags, signs of damage or over-wear and to ensure the surface appliques are intact. Don’t forget to turn your piece inside out to examine its interior for lining tears or stains, loose threading along the hem and other hard-to-see issues.
Don’t Be Afraid To Leave Empty-Handed: Thrifting is not like your regular shopping that you go in with a list of what you want, get it and go. Thrifting is a scavenger hunt, where you can hope and dream about the Ultimate Bargain but have to expect not to find it. If you don’t find what you are looking for in the first place hop on to the next place and do a lot of exploring before settling for the best.
Don’t Be Afraid To Tailor: Just because a secondhand clothing item doesn’t fit you doesn’t mean you have to leave it behind. Every time I see what I like and it’s a bigger than me, I simply pick it up and give it to a professional tailor to rework it into something nice sometimes altering the original design. This is especially wonderful for dresses and jeans and tops.
Take Your Time: Don’t think of going to the market for a ‘bend down select mission if you are in a hurry. What makes thrifting very interesting is the fact that you go around different stalls looking for what interest you. When I was much younger, I spent close to five hours in the market thrifting.
Come Dressed To Shop: My outfit for thrifting is a legging, a tank top and a cross-bag. A legging and tank top so that I can try out different outfits easily. A cross-bag so I know my things are safe and I am not worried about someone doing away with my valuables. You can never be too sure; so ensure that your phones are not in your back pocket while you are doing serious ‘bend down select’. When I was 15, I watched a man empty a woman’s bag that she placed close to her legs while she was busy struggling a skirt with another woman, when it time to pay for the outfit she couldn’t find her money and it was so painful. I was too scared to say anything. I feel bad now that I think about it.
Places you can go for thrift shopping and find good stuff in Lagos are; Aswani, Cele Under Bridge, Yaba market, Kantagwa, Iyana ipaja, Ikotun and much more.
What has been your experience with thrifting? What market have you bought the most favourable fashion piece? Please share here