Retail Therapy

So as I slowly get my blog up to date I figured I'd start with something random and fun.

When I need new clothes, I go to my nearest ropa americana.  Its basically a thrift store filled with unwanted clothes shipped down from the states.

I'd like you to imagine the thrift store nearest you. Most likely your picturing some huge warehouse filled with outdated, slightly moldy, over-sized clothing donated to the goodwill or salvation army by a soccer mom. You've tried shopping there a few times, but found the sheer vastness of bad clothing a bit overwhelming. OR Its possible you conjured a vintage store or consignment shop with beautiful pieces and heirloom jewelry from a range of decades. A place where you can ask about the story behind the clothing or the last person who owned a particular item. OR, like many, many Americans you may just buy brand new clothing when you want to update your look and don't venture into thrift stores unless you are costume shopping.

Thrift Stores can be a headache. BUT, every once in a while if you keep searching you might find a great item at a perfect price. I enjoy the thrill of ropa americana shopping but I can only go when the conditions are right, meaning: 1) I hate all my clothes and NEED something new, 2) I have plenty of free time to wander and scour the racks, 3) I have a set budget. If one of these things is missing I wind up wasting time or coming back with disappointing purchases.

Lucky for me, we've got lost of old clothing here in Chinandega. I've found some amazing items during various scavenger hunts around the city. For example, on my most recent birthday I spent $4 on a Diane von Furstenburg wrap dress and a $6 J. Crew Silk Shirt. Ive also spent $5 on brand new jean shorts, $3 on a day dress, $1 on a few cute shirts and 50 cents on some fun skirts.

In terms of pricing, I think the amount you pay corresponds more to brand of the items than the condition on the same item. American Eagle, Aeropostale, Hollister, etc were all big brands here for a while and you'd would've have trouble paying less than $10-15 for a shirt no matter the condition. On the same shelf you could easily buy a $2 banana republic or American Apparel or H&M shirt. Recently, I've run across ratty Forever21 clothing that cost more in ropa americana stores than it would if you were to have it shipped to your house in the states from the actual company.

Any who, ropa americana shopping here makes me miss thrift stores in the states....well, maybe I just miss the organization of the thrift stores. Most of the time I'm sorting between huge piles of semi washed clothing haphazardly tossed on the floor. If I get lucky, I'll find myself meticulously combing through a rack of clothing that holds clothing for small male children, pregnant women, and exercise enthusiasts from the 80s. And if I am super lucky, there's an attendant thrusting a basket into my hands and telling me a green velvet vest with red leopard trim looks great on people with my complexion and is perfect for Christmas =/

Because ropa americanas tend to hold a hodge-podge of random item, you never know what your fellow citizens might wear. Ive seen shirts advertising pineapple soda from the Bahamas (Junkanoo!), too many Old Navy 4th of July shirts, and my very own neighbor owns a shirt usually worn by the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. (see below) He has no idea what the shirt means- His mom just thought it'd be a good fit.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear that you're having an interesting PC experience! The locals where I served in Africa called thrift stores Dead Toubab stores since they figured that people who donated nice clothes had to be deceased. I also remember my french teacher, who was almost 7 feet tall, in a t-shirt with a picture of a dolphin and the caption "I love dolphins". Not sure if he knew what it meant but it was too cute to see this majestic, tall guy with that shirt. So cool to hear/read about your experience in such a beautiful country.