The Thrifty Q

We all dream of walking into a thrift store and buying the perfect suit straight off the rack. The dream gets a bit wetter when we imagine it’s a perfectly cut tux, Ralph Lauren made, intact, and cheap! I have yet to come across one, but a boi can dream.

But, you can come across some pretty awesome thrift finds, even good enough to satisfy a stylish boi’s wildest dreams. Here are a few key things to remember during your thrift hunt:

  1. All thrift stores and resale shops are not created equal. Some are shitty. Some are great. I once found a shop that consistently had well made, leather brogues in my size (7 if you’re wondering).  In fact, my first pair of truly well made shoes came from this store. This was especially helpful since I fancy myself the “Professor” type.
  2. Build a relationship. Go back often, get to know the inventory, and introduce yourself to the shop clerk. The other day, I was at what can best be described as a “junk store” and the raspy voiced clerk told me, “Come back again real soon. I know most of the suits are big, but we’ll get more soon.” I shall. I shall.
  3. Take a risk. The great thing about thrifting is that you will not be breaking the bank. Not sure about that odd shirt? Buy it! I purchased a shirt that makes me look suspiciously like a Trader Joe’s employee and frankly I love it. It’s fun. I spent $4 and I enjoy myself in it. Also, don’t ever forget that you are buying as much for layerability as you are anything else. If it’s a kick ass pattern, buy it and put it under, over, between something.
  4. Most cities have a turn around resale shop. Resale shops purchase “secondhand” and vintage items that are recently in style. These shops are great places to find your basics – you won’t be finding anything particularly nostalgic unless you have a short attention span. However, you can find essentials like jeans, sneakers, and basic jackets. Plato’s Closet is a quality resale shop. You can find a list of other resale shops (where you can also sell your clothes for cash or trade) here.

Some of my favorite things are second, third, fourth hand:

Thrifting 1

Jacket originally from Target – lightweight, casual. Paid less than $10. Shirt originally from the American Eagle – great pattern that adds flair but maintains the simple color pattern; spread Collar, vintage fit $5. Bow Tie originally from American Eagle – $5.

Thrifting 2

Shoes originally from G.H. Bass – not only were these a great find for $20, but they are no longer made in all black. The Burlington Saddle Oxford retails new for around $90.  One of my favorite pairs of shoes, I plan to have them resoled in the near future.

GraietheObservantQueer

A native St. Louisian, Graie (aka GraietheObservantQueer) recently made the trip down river to the Big Easy – N’Awlins to spend the year being perpetually broke. A Queer, Jewish, social justice educator, and former middle school history teacher, Graie finds great joy in bending gender perception and challenging people to think out side of the accepted “norm”. There are few things Graie loves more than hirs wife, dog, social justice education, coffee, a nice tie, and a fly pair of wingtips.

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