On The Hunt: The Salvation Army

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Recently InSing did a review on our Praisehaven Family Store! See their awesome review below 😀

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Vintage shopping has devolved into mass fashion. We’ve all heard of Jeffrey Campbell’s Lita shoe being bulk-ordered online, the array of knock-offs available at Bugis Street, and don’t even get us started on the overhyped Cambridge satchel bags. If your style is about individuality and you’ll consider throwing your shoes at the next person you see wearing a Zara skirt, it’s time to hit up the real thrift shops in Singapore. Far from being retrofitted with vintage bric-a-brac and retro wallpaper, these stores are packed with old (sometimes musty-smelling) clothing items, books, music instruments and other knick-knacks donated by the public with prices starting from as low as $2. Don’t expect clothes or items to be neatly displayed by SKU codes, instead you’ll likely be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of different fabrics, colours, textures and smells. Keeping focus however isn’t difficult if you stick to these simple tips that’ll help you make the most out of your trip and NOT emerge looking like a character from a bad ’50’s sitcom. Note: All featured items were bought from Praisehaven Family Thrift Store which is run by the Salvation Army. Tip 1: Quality is key While sifting through racks of hipster-worthy button down shirts, you might get sidetracked by the array of attractive bright prints and gaudy-hued apparel. Don’t get swayed, thrift shopping equals pre-loved and thus it’s essential to make sure your item isn’t damaged. This means no missing buttons, busted zips or five-year-old coffee stains. If you must have add a slightly damaged piece to your wardrobe, it’s time to start proclaiming spoiled zippers as this season’s key trend.

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For myself, I found a 50’s yellow houndstooth-printed midi-skirt with a ruffled hem. After checking that the zip was intact and it fit my frame, I decided it was a keeper, and all for $10. Tip 2: Quantity is a good sign If you can’t stand the thought of wearing clothes that previously belonged to an 80-year-old man, keep your eye out a stack of identical clothing items displayed. Chances are they’re leftover stock from shops that didn’t sell well; and thus unworn. When selecting shoes, take your time choosing between the selection of identical pairs. You don’t want to go home with a pair of scruffy shoes that everyone has tried on, or worse, walk away with mismatched sizes or soles.

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While skimming through the stacks of clothes at Praisehaven, I spotted a bunch of mint rose sleeveless polo t-shirts ($10) sitting pretty on a stuffed rack. I purchased it but not without meticulously picking out the best-looking one first. Tip 3: Take calculated risks Apart from clothing, Salvation Army also sells electrical appliances, musical instruments, cameras and other dusty treasures. Most of them have seen better days, guitars usually require restringing, appliances require new batteries, and garments have to be nipped-and-tucked to be 21st-century-ready. If you can afford to buy something not knowing if it’ll work, take the risk, or just come ready with AA or AAA batteries.

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There was a pile of film cameras for sale the day I went. While the options didn’t look promising, I spotted a decent-looking Olympus model going for $5. Upon reaching home and fitting it with new batteries, the camera proved to be fully functional, and I proudly saved myself money which otherwise would have gone to buying Lomo cameras. Tip 4: Keep an open mind You never know what to expect when walking into a thrift store. You might find an easy-to-alter size XXXXL pair of granny pants (true story), or chance on pre-loved wedding dresses (great as cocktail dresses when dyed and altered) so be prepared to stick around for an afternoon. I relived my love for Archie Comics ($4) when I saw a small stash of them on a shelf displayed alongside teen fantasy novels and self-help books. Despite having to disinfect it and straighten out dog-earred pages, I enjoyed my bus ride read, post Salvation Army. Plus, it played up the preppy/vintage/old school vibe I was going for with my outfit.

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How did I do?: Preppy rock chick or 20 going on 50? Top to bottom: Sunglasses, Aldo; Mint rose sleeveless polo t-shirt, Praisehaven Family Thrift Store ($10); 50’s midi skirt, Praisehaven Family Thrift Store ($10); Olympus film camera, Praisehaven Family Thrift Store ($5); Archie comic book, Praisehaven Family Thrift Store ($4); Black leather sneakers, Converse Praisehaven Family Thrift Store | 500 Upper Bukit Timah Road | Tel: 6349 5334 / 6349 5304 / 6349 5312 | Opening hours: Mon-Thu 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 10am-9pm; Closed on Sun Article with courtesy of InSing, available at : http://shopping.insing.com/feature/on-the-hunt-salvation-army/id-53783f00