A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Art of Thrifting

The Uptown Dandy's Current #1 Thrift Shop Steal
Edward Green for M. Bardelli, Cashmere Cotton & Silk - UK 8.5F Last 202

With so many potentially promising targets, thrifting in New York City requires preparation and focus.

Beginners should start by identifying shops that bring a steady supply of items suit your fancy. To do this, focus in on specific neighborhoods. Thrift shops in Harlem just wont have the same of inventory as a shop in Chelsea, Carnegie Hill, or Brooklyn Heights. For the budget-minded, focus on shops that aren't aware of the high quality items that they have on hand. If you've found a shop that charges top dollar for "high-end" labels such as Giorgio Armani, Prada, or Burberry, while the Kiton or Borrelli sportscoats hang forlornly in the mens clothing section for 50% off of the $16.00 price tag, then that shop should be moved to the top of your thrift shop checklist.

Once inside the shop, be sure to thoroughly scour the premises  - clothes racks are sometimes disorganized, so you dont want to miss out on the deal of the century because you didnt take the time to skim through the Mens XXL wear. Also, if you have the time and inclination, always be on the lookout for hidden gems that might not fit you but can be easily re-sold on eBay or Craigslist to fund additional clothing purchases of items that do fit you (yes, one of the first steps toward recovery is admitting that you do, in fact, have a problem).

Ultimately, the "rush" of thrifting comes from that moment when you realize that you've come across the deal of the century (or the week, depending on your thrifting schedule). As previously noted, part of the thrill comes from knowing that you've pulled one over on the shop's management. Sadly (or happily, depending upon your point of view on these matters), the addictive feeling of euphoria will not dissipate as your sartorial triumphs pile up like Christmas cards on the mantelpiece.

Hopefully, the joys of thrifting will find a permanent place in your heart, even as the item in your closet designated  "#1 thrift find" changes from time to time. As it stands right now, my current "#1 steal" are my Edward Green Cadogans (shown above) rebranded for M. Bardelli Cashmere Cotton & Silk - almost new, $24.99.

To Recap:

1. Identify your target neighborhood. Zero in on shops located in the higher-priced zip codes. Some will price their goods accurately, but some won't.

2. Identify your target thrift shops. You'll find out pretty quickly which shops don't know Brioni from macaroni.

3. Plot your plan of attack - maximize efficiency by utilizing mass transit to hit multiple shops within walking distance or along the same bus route or subway line.

4. Separate the wheat from the chaff. Scour the shop from top to bottom - leave no shirt unturned, but skip the Prada or Dolce & Gabbana  - that will always be overpriced. Go for the custom Martin Greenfield suit that's priced at $5.00 because the FIT grad student in charge of pricing never heard of the guy.

5. See the big picture. Don't be afraid to buy the covert coat made on Savile Row, even if it doesn't work for you because its 3 sizes too big. Make the purchase, re-list the item on eBay, and turn the cash into an item that will work for you. There's nothing more American than the random eBay flip every now and then.

Happy Hunting!

1 comment:

  1. Great little write up. Definitely have to pass onto some of the more "shopping challenged" individuals I know.