Nina Ha

Nina at In Your Wildest Dreams thrift store. 

“Just take those old records off the shelf,

I’ll sit and listen to ’em by myself.

Today’s music ain’t got the same soul.

I like that old time rock ’n’ roll.”

– Bob Seger

As with music, the same can be said of fashion, home goods or automobiles: They don’t make them like they used to.

But if you’re in the market for nostalgic Americana, look no further than your local thrift store. It’s a smorgasbord of kitsch finds, retro davenports and childhood memories.

Admittedly, there’s a plethora of knick-knacks and bric-a-bracs – media towers overflowing with VHS tapes, a ceramic No. 1 mom trophy or stuffed animals with unknown origins.

However, there’s tremendous opportunity to hit pay dirt with a little patience and persistence.

Thrift store enthusiast Mary Liu cruises vintage stores for one-of-a-kind jeans, classic newsboy hats she bejewels and unique vases to hold her vast variety of homegrown roses.

Mary happens to be my mom and I learned from the best.

As a young news reporter making a paltry income in the Pacific northwest, I filled my home with quality furniture from St. Vincent de Paul and my wardrobe with haute couture from the Salvation Army.

I enjoyed taking a scratched, but sturdy student desk and upcycling it into my dream workspace using adhesive contact paper in a faux marble finish.

My signature suit was a $4.50 well-tailored cherry red blazer and skirt that I donned for countless broadcasts and station promos.

As a mom, I’ve found overalls to complete our family’s Minions/Super Mario Bros. costumes for Comic-Con, all the while passing the bargain-hunting skills along to my kids. To gracefully paraphrase Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” this is something awesome.

From a household name such as Goodwill to a Bakersfield consignment gem like In Your Wildest Dreams, you can explore the extraordinary world of thrift shops while shopping locally.

Mom of three, fashionista Maureen Beccari found a Versace coat and other compliment-collecting pieces at Encore Boutique downtown.

“The service was wonderful. They helped me put fantastic outfits together with jewelry and shoes,” said Beccari.

Profits from sales benefit The Mission at Kern County.

Buying secondhand is not only fiscally wise, it’s also environmentally responsible. According to a Columbia University study, a typical American produces about 2,500 pounds of trash every year. Creatively reusing our resources can drive down consumer demand for new products, which helps us leave the faintest of carbon footprints possible for the next generation.

So take a journey to the past. Your next purchase could enliven your closet, help a good cause and the environment, or be the next best thing on your turntable.

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.

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