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verb/adjective I wish would go away

with 2 comments


As in:

“Hey, I love that sweater – where’d you get it?”

“Oh, this old thing?  It’s thrifted YSL.”


“I thrifted it at the flea market last weekend.”

Something about it just makes me go yuck.  Why not just say “vintage” or “I found it in a pile of crap at Beacon’s Closet”

Style bloggers overuse it.  In the same way design bloggers over use “curated.”  “Thrifted” isn’t pretentious in the same way “curated” is – but it still bugs me.  I don’t have a good reason why.


Written by rarface

January 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

Posted in Randoms

2 Responses

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  1. The irritation might derive from “thrift”‘s implication in a surprisingly ostentatious culture of thrift-shop buying by the upwardly mobile middle-classes, and the bizarre angling for prestige that comes from being a superb thrift-shopper. (Unfortunately, the sinister David Brooks got here before me, I think, in diagnosing this situation — though, like me, he borrowed from Pierre Bourdieu.) This is an interesting socio-linguistic issue, though: after all, “thrift,” whether noun or verb, is already implicated in economy — in its etymology, it betrays an original meaning of “thriving” or “prospering,” which has become overtaken — thanks to the Protestant Work Ethic — by saving, not spending, etc (even though both meanings appear to have been coterminous). Its new use is a direct reflection of middle-class consumer habits.

    It’s a shame that rarface herself didn’t consider checking whether “thrift” was ever a verb before the present. It was. Thank you, Oxford English Dictionary. (First usage by not-yet-forgotten Walter Scott-knockoff writer, Richard D. Blackmore, in the fin de siecle hit Lorna Doone):

    trans. To save thriftily, to economize.

    1869 BLACKMORE Lorna D. ii, Not that I ever bore much wealth, but because I had been thrifting it for this time. 1885 L. LEVI in Pall Mall G. 13 Jan. 6/2 The earnings of agricultural labourers..if well thrifted, leave a surplus.


    January 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    • yes! I do think it has something to do with the whole “shopping as talent” thing. so it is similar to the “curated” situation which I find annoying because, while finding nice things on the internet and posting them for all to see is great, and can take a certain amount of effort and taste, it’s hardly much of an artistic act.


      January 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm

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