The way of the thrifter

Thrift is in, says 'Cheap Date'. Laura Tennant flicks through the new bible for bargain-hunters
Thriftiness. It's got a penny- pinching, Victorian, tight-lipped quality, hasn't it? But thrifter is a different thing altogether. It rhymes with drifter and grifter and sounds vaguely green and tunnelly. Okay, so it's not a real word yet, but be assured that in six months' time we won't know how we got along without it.

Neologism is the cornerstone of style journalism, so Kira Jolliffe, coiner of the word and editor of new mag and handbook for thrifters Cheap Date, must be feeling pretty pleased with herself. Thrifting is all about the pleasure of second-hand clothes and getting things cheap. "Second-hand clothes, by stint of their uniqueness and sheer mass, force the mind's distinguishing processes and imagination, making buying more creative," as the editorial puts it. "Let's all bother, be brave, express ourselves and look sexy. Be free." God, it's sooo post-modern. Go out and pluck that neglected fitted rayon shirt from the margins, challenge the hierarchy of style, reverse that suffocating dualism of "good" and "bad" taste.

Readers of the grungy, Generation-X, home-made press will be familiar with The Idler, now rather grand and important but once produced from a bedsit by a team of two. Cheap Date is a kind of little sister. Not only is Jolliffe the former music editor of The Idler, but the mag itself is produced by little sisters, including Minnie Weisz (cf Rachel) and Daisy and Bay Garnett (cf theatre producer Rose). As if further cred were needed, model Iris Palmer is the editor at large and the outsize Sophie Dahl has donated her body to the centre-page spread. Having said that, the launch party on Wednesday in, quelle surprise, Notting Hill, was full of the sort of pale, reedy girls who look good in Twenties-crepe-de-Chine-underwear-worn- as-a-dress-with-no-bra. (This being, of course, vintage dressing's dark secret: beautiful people look daring and eccentric, normal people just look frumpy). But I don't want to carp. Why, at Prada you can achieve that authentic second-hand look for a hundred times the price.

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