If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely love thrift stores. I know, I know, some people (my sister among them) are probably cringing at the thought of wearing something used. But, for me, the whole experience is like a treasure hunt. In the states I find it incredibly hard to pass a Savers or Goodwill without taking a peek at the goods. But, you guys, Savers and Goodwill don’t hold a candle to Guatemalan Pacas.
Pacas are large bundles of used clothing that get sent to Guatemala to be resold. Some people rent actual store space to sell the clothing, but some simply bust open a paca on a tarp in the street and invite passerby to sift through it. You would think that there would be absolutely nothing of value in these giant bundles, particularly considering the fact that most pieces are sold for 5 or 10Q. But you would be wrong. You definitely have to have patience and be willing to dig through the piles, but pacas are kind to those who are determined. Many volunteers sport J. Crew, Express and GAP scored at pacas. And in my short time here I have procured some gems (Gap skirt for 20Q – $2.50, Banana Republic sweater for 5Q – $0.60, Lauren Conrad shirt for 3Q – $0.36. American Eagle sweatpants for 1Q – $0.12, Express shorts also for 1Q – $0.12).
As much as I love the legitimately good clothing, however, I might just love the ridiculous clothing more. The costumes, the vintage pieces, the downright ugly. The things you just can’t imagine anyone ever wearing. And I’m not the only one. In fact, during our time together at Reconnect we decided to have a Paca Party. I, unfortunately, didn’t bring my A game due to a variety of factors. But, thankfully, the others in my training class did not disappoint.
Photo Credits: Justin & Carolyn