Rich people in thrift stores also disgust me.
September 25, 2015 9:46 AM   Subscribe

"Saada: In some ways, “inconspicuous chic” is about a perceived entitlement to money, not money itself. People who flaunt their wealth by wearing tons of brands and being flashy are not considered wealthy; more often they’re seen as nouveau riche vis-a-vis old-monied. ...Maybe if they were bulldozing low income housing to build a huge Barney's I would be concerned, but to be upset about how rich ladies shop is almost pointless." ---- Clothes & Class - An Adult Magazine roundtable discussion of the minutiae of high fashion, low budgets, the history of class signaling and inconspicuous chic. With Saada Ahmed, Katherine Bernard, Durga Chew-Bose, Fiona Duncan, Hari Nef, Steve Oklyn and Arabelle Scicardi. (NSFW main photos and related ads. Extreme fashion nerdery)
posted by The Whelk (84 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite


 
Ugh. I had to give up on this about 2 minutes in because of the tone. Such needless namedropping - I don't know what Alanis Morissette had to do with anything in that comment, and did Fiona consider that maybe the 'rumored Danish royalty' beauty was the only one who recognized a pair of fairly obscure Danish slippers ...because he's Danish? Or maybe others recognized it but didn't feel like they needed to impress by actually commenting on her Instagram that they knew the brand? Maybe they missed that the picture was actually a 'name this brand' quiz? I'm actually interested in fashion and class, but this was indigestible for me and left me wishing I had my 2 minutes back.
posted by widdershins at 10:24 AM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also can't tolerate it, but will say that, as an upper middle class kid, I learned a lot about class, history, design, books, etc. from hanging out in and shopping at thrift stores in the 80s and 90s. Along with yard sales, trash picking, and punk rock they used to be very educational - a kind thrown-away alternative narrative in what then seemed like a much more monolithic, hard-to-get-around mass culture.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:37 AM on September 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd say the premise, "Is it ethical for rich people to hide their wealth?" is problematic. Is it materially any different than the "buying Doritos with food stamps" argument?

Reading further, I'm not sure how this discussion made it off the coffee shop settee.
posted by rhizome at 10:38 AM on September 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


Instagram is a visual superhighway of “look at me” moments, from “Look at the sneakers I just bought!” to “I’m walking in the CHANEL Couture show in Paris today!”

This is a pretty different Instagram neighborhood than the one I live in.

I had to give up on this about 2 minutes in because of the tone.

I agree; it's gratingly self-conscious. Also, it seems incredibly repetitive, and doesn't offer many ideas. The class resentment is also strange given that it seems that all of these people are well heeled, educated and reasonably traveled.
posted by Miko at 10:40 AM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just want to address the title of this post: EVERYBODY GO TO THE THRIFT STORE. Rich or poor or anywhere in between.

You wouldn't believe how many donations we have to throw away. Good clothes too! We just have no where to store them, and all the racks are bursting and we can't sell them fast enough. And we get more donations everyday. Every week we end up with ten to twelve sacks we can barely lift stuffed under the clothing racks, because we have no space. Some go to Africa, which is messed up because those are the ones we rejected. The rest are shredded to rags to be used in industry.

The books are the saddest. I was emptying two whole wheelie bins into the big paper recycling skip. Among them, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet and The Stand.

So please, please, please. It's so important to donate to charity, but it's also so important to buy from charity. The clothes are as good as new, and you're helping fix the problem of all the waste in the fashion industry.
posted by adept256 at 10:41 AM on September 25, 2015 [105 favorites]


Oh, I meant to add that a recent New Yorker had a pretty interesting story about Dolce & Gabbana's annual Alta Moda parties and the women who collect couture clothes.

Some go to Africa, which is messed up because those are the ones we rejected.

Another bad thing about this is that the discarded clothes are sold and given away so cheaply that it becomes culturally destructive - markets for traditional cloth and garments are totally undermined, meaning that people are put out of work, and local traditions of dress get eroded.
posted by Miko at 10:43 AM on September 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Another bad thing about this is that the discarded clothes are sold and given away so cheaply that it becomes culturally destructive - markets for traditional cloth and garments are totally undermined, meaning that people are put out of work, and local traditions of dress get eroded.

This is absolutely true, but the very tiny silver lining on this cloud is that there's something delightful about spending ten hours driving down dirt tracks in rural Tanzania and being greeted at the end by a guy in a t-shirt that says SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM
posted by theodolite at 10:52 AM on September 25, 2015 [26 favorites]


Or BENJI'S BAR MITZVAH 10/22/97 under an airbrushed caricature of the birthday boy
posted by poffin boffin at 10:55 AM on September 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: people who present themselves totally through stylists are a lost cause.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:59 AM on September 25, 2015


I mostly buy thrift and consignment because THOSE ITEMS ALREADY EXIST and I don't want to create demand for more stuff. I mean surely there are enough scarves in existence right now that we don't have to make another one for 40 years or so, right?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:03 AM on September 25, 2015 [20 favorites]


Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:22 AM on September 25, 2015 [14 favorites]


I don’t want to look rich or poor or effortless or simple. I like mixing signals, which is why I’m so into Comme des Garcons. You can’t tell what on earth is going on, only that it’s very unusual. Of course, because Rei Kawakubo does things so particularly, I can clock CDG, just as you can clock a rich person, from ten blocks away. Those who know the brand know how much it costs (or, how to buy it for less). But to “outsiders,” you just look bizarre.

So what you want to look is ... decipherable only by others who share your cultural capital.

Yep. Nothing elitist about that. You're totally deconstructing all that fashion bullshit. Uh huh.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:28 AM on September 25, 2015 [19 favorites]


The books are the saddest. I was emptying two whole wheelie bins into the big paper recycling skip. Among them, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet and The Stand.

TBF, there's not exactly a shortage of any of those.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:29 AM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I only buy Vutton, Dior Hommé , Lacöste, etc.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 AM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Haven’t you noticed the most beautiful women are the ones who are comfortable with themselves?

Hello. Would you like to talk about the naturalization of habitus? Because you are talking about the naturalization of habitus.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:34 AM on September 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada.

VERSACE VERSACE, VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:40 AM on September 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


I only buy Vutton, Dior Hommé , Lacöste, etc.

Dolce & Banana! Prader! Gukki!
posted by psoas at 11:40 AM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have noticed this trend of outrage occasionally pop up on Tumblr that those who can afford to buy new should leave the nice clothes at the thrift store for people who can't, and that people who buy plus-size clothes at thrift and take them in should be leaving them there for plus-size folks.

So I'm glad to hear "I just want to address the title of this post: EVERYBODY GO TO THE THRIFT STORE. Rich or poor or anywhere in between," because I buy the majority of my clothes secondhand, and don't plan to stop any time soon.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:42 AM on September 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


To be fair, I imagine the people in the transcript could be fascinating as guides to fashion museum exhibits, or runway moments. Like specialized art historians, with a real sense for aesthetics and how these condensed symbolic values can be deployed in negotiating a world.

They're just kind of ... crappy? willfully blind? ... at recognizing and analyzing what they claim they're analyzing: the subtleties of how those negotiations are laced with class distinction.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:47 AM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


The books are the saddest. I was emptying two whole wheelie bins into the big paper recycling skip. Among them, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet and The Stand.

TBF, there's not exactly a shortage of any of those.


Absolutely right, we get a few Austen per week. But, we need the shelf space for Twilight and Fifty Shades, which are the real sellers. That's the sad part.
posted by adept256 at 11:48 AM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd say the premise, "Is it ethical for rich people to hide their wealth?" is problematic. Is it materially any different than the "buying Doritos with food stamps" argument?

Yes. Because privilege.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:55 AM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


it's most ethical for rich people to get rid of their wealth by whatever means they can, because behind every great fortune lurks a great crime. Beyond that, I don't care how they dress.

well okay until my Marxist goon squads take over. after that, they can wear Mao jackets like everyone else.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


we need the shelf space for Twilight and Fifty Shades, which are the real sellers.

Really? In my area most thrift stores have a whole shelf for JUST TWILIGHT and the sequels, nothing else. You can see the dread shelf of Red&Black from the far end of the store. Do those books actually move? I've always wondered.

I mean surely there are enough scarves in existence right now that we don't have to make another one for 40 years or so, right?

V. true for scarves in particular. Moreover, the older ones can be much, much nicer in quality than the new ones. (Silk scarves for $1-$5! A very cheap way to up your professional dress game. You can even wash them at home.)
posted by pie ninja at 12:00 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


For fuck's sake. "Rich women from specific zip codes, like those beginning with 0 or 1" THESE ARE NOT LUXURY ZIP CODES. That's like the entirety of NYC and more. Man, those rich ladies in the Bronx! Intolerable! Or this person doesn't know wtf they're talking about, one or the other.
posted by corb at 12:01 PM on September 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


I love thrift shopping - even though I'm short and hard to fit. I adore the thrill of the hunt, and finding gorgeous bargains. I've thrifted since forever - for most of my adult life, most of my wardrobe has been secondhand. Thrifting is a terrific way of dressing well on a budget, and I look on it as doing my part to cut down on consumption (while still being a clotheshorse - I'm never going to be frugal and austere).

Are there really enough rich people thrifting that it makes an actual difference in what poor people can buy secondhand? In my experience, what a lot of people on tight budgets want from thrift stores is along the lines of Ann Taylor-type work clothes and Clarks shoes. Because the poors (and middle class) have to go to work and need clothes to work in. See all the Ask Metafilter "How can I find work clothes on a budget?" questions.

(Oh god STFU Fiona Duncan with your yammering about benzos and incognito royalty and how you like to hang out with the Real Workers when you go shopping. Argghh my teeth were itching by the end.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:05 PM on September 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


oh god yes incognito male model Danish royalty wtffffffff
posted by corb at 12:06 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


man, steve is such a drag. who invited steve?

but the rest is brilliant.
posted by andrewcooke at 12:09 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


For fuck's sake. "Rich women from specific zip codes, like those beginning with 0 or 1" THESE ARE NOT LUXURY ZIP CODES. That's like the entirety of NYC and more. Man, those rich ladies in the Bronx! Intolerable! Or this person doesn't know wtf they're talking about, one or the other.

Yeah that would be everyone in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, all of New England, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Luxury zip codes like Fall River, MA or some place in Maine with more moose than people.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:14 PM on September 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


The books are the saddest. I was emptying two whole wheelie bins into the big paper recycling skip. Among them, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet and The Stand.

That reminds me -- when I was a student, I'd try to find at least some of my assigned textbooks at thrift stores and used bookstores. (This was before e-books.) This didn't work for things like science textbooks, but for English Lit and ethnographies and the like, I could usually find at least some of my assigned reading for a lot less than full price. One semester I picked up almost all my English Lit books for a quarter each at Goodwill. I'm betting that Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet could be donated to needy students to make room on the bookshelves. Or you could just lure the students into your store.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:15 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have noticed this trend of outrage occasionally pop up on Tumblr that those who can afford to buy new should leave the nice clothes at the thrift store for people who can't, and that people who buy plus-size clothes at thrift and take them in should be leaving them there for plus-size folks.

So I'm glad to hear "I just want to address the title of this post: EVERYBODY GO TO THE THRIFT STORE. Rich or poor or anywhere in between," because I buy the majority of my clothes secondhand, and don't plan to stop any time soon.
posted by fiercecupcake


Yeah. I mean, it's one thing to ensure that people have access to clothing that they can afford. But there isn't that much of a shortage of thrift shops. So if only people who can't afford to buy new shop at thrift shops, then secondhand clothing becomes (or remains, since this has mostly always been the case) a class signifier, and kids who wear secondhand clothes, like I did, get picked on at school. Or go off to university and have all their classmates, along with the career center counselors and such, assume that they just have bad or no fashion sense, and then go on to make assumptions about the secondhand clothes-wearer's purported job-readiness, intelligence-linked observational and social skills, or other traits; because poverty is invisible from above and (most) people (the people in the fpp excepted, perhaps) make those sort of judgements without even realizing it or being able to consciously describe what it is about someone else's clothing that is forming the basis of their judgement.
posted by eviemath at 12:15 PM on September 25, 2015 [14 favorites]


steve's answers felt almost too on the nose, like of course someone named steve is the one who claims to not think very much about what he (I assume?) wears and then wants to throw down about theory. oh steve.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:15 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


We are finding new and innovative ways to package and distribute outrage.
posted by TrialByMedia at 12:26 PM on September 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


Eviemath, don't be silly. You can buy a Versace tie for $3. We can only keep the best clothes. A lot of them still have tags. A single loose thread and we reject it. No one is going to look at you and think 'second-hand'. Well maybe these snotty socialites from the article, but when are you visiting their planet? (Would you even want to? They're disgusting).

Rosie M. Banks, we sell everything from rugged work-clothes to formal wear.
posted by adept256 at 12:30 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]




I wish I could go thrift shopping with some of you and you could show me where the shops exist that have something other than extra-small faded ribbed sweaters from 1996 and frilly long-sleeved 80s dresses.
posted by bleep at 12:35 PM on September 25, 2015 [34 favorites]


I don't really have anything to say about the article (I've been solidly "slobcore" for 44 years) but I do have to add that that typeface has the most annoying lowercase "l" I have ever seen.
posted by Daily Alice at 12:36 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I first heard Macklemore rap, "...but shit, it was 99 cents," I started laughing so hard, because I suddenly realized how fucking STUPID I was to have ever chased a clothing brand, which I've done, many, many times.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:38 PM on September 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


of course someone named steve

Rank nameism on the blue? Let me hold forth on some critical theory on your ass.

On the other hand, I guess it makes sense to be okay with the shallowest kinds of prejudice cropping up in a thread about fashion... But I don't really care about namism anyway, so you know, whatever. (I blame Morrissey.)
posted by saulgoodman at 12:40 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wish I could go thrift shopping with some of you and you could show me where the shops exist that have something other than extra-small faded ribbed sweaters from 1996 and frilly long-sleeved 80s dresses.

Christ, yes -- this has been my experience as well. If I'm looking for nice place settings or something, thrifting is great; for actual clothes in a size 12 or above, forget it.
posted by holborne at 12:51 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think the bounty of thrift shops largely depends on whether or not there are buyers at the thrift shops who exist just to buy thrift shop clothing to take it to higher end 'vintage' shops. If those don't exist, you can do quite well.
posted by corb at 12:52 PM on September 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


Turnover is key in the thrift game.
posted by rhizome at 1:02 PM on September 25, 2015


more moose than people

In fairness, this sounds pretty luxurious to me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


for actual clothes in a size 12 or above, forget it.

Your profile location shows you in the absolute worst place I have ever thrifted. Come tour the hinterland. We are a big country of big sizes.

Also tourist thrifting is imho the best way to acquire (a) a sense of place (b) souvenirs.
posted by feral_goldfish at 1:20 PM on September 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


My wife and I have to scavenge thrift stores for shit to resell on ebay to make ends meet. Also 90% of our clothing comes from there. The main problem around here is that the stores are lit like shit, and lots of the clothing have minor stains that render them unsaleable and they aren't returnable. It's not something we like doing, but both of us work jobs that don't pay enough for us to live.

Also lot of thrift stores in poor areas (I'm looking at you goodwill) are fucking predatory. In a middle class area you'll see shirts priced at 4 dollars, in poor areas with limited access those same shirts jump up to 8. The clothing will be worse quality, and often goodwills in those areas become downmarket biglots, selling refuse from other stores but at list price and with zero returns.
posted by Ferreous at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2015 [14 favorites]


I don't know what thrift stores in the UK do right as opposed to thrift stores in North America but I have always had a more pleasant experience as a customer there than back home. I wonder if the charity shop aspect in the UK veers more towards feeling curated and creating inviting stores (at least the ones I've been to anyway). Here it feels as though it is supposed to be grotty to give people looking for used clothes either one of two feelings: quiet shame or illicit thrill (see: high school kids). I am a thrift store shopper upon occasion (though having a large bust makes that super hard) but the whole shopping experience has a markedly different feel to me here.
posted by Kitteh at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


for actual clothes in a size 12 or above, forget it.

Are you shopping at the place where all the donors are superwaif models? Our clothes are donated by actual humans. We have a 15" rack just for size 16.

(That's an Australian size 16. But the size on the label is usually meaningless, we just eyeball it)
posted by adept256 at 1:23 PM on September 25, 2015


In fairness, this sounds pretty luxurious to me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl


Maybe if you're a moose. Or like to swoop down and eat them ...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:23 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


That said, you can certainly dress well using only thrift stores and have zero class signifiers visible. The problem is that it requires being able to go to the store multiple times and be able to come away with nothing. If you go in needing clothing and don't have time to be selective you're going to come out with a less than optimal selection. The time to go often is certainly a luxury needed to get the best results.
posted by Ferreous at 1:26 PM on September 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


Are you shopping at the place where all the donors are superwaif models? Our clothes are donated by actual humans. We have a 15" rack just for size 16.

I'm thrifting in New York City, where the average woman is, shall we say, smaller than I am. Perhaps not superwaif models, but...yeah. Thrifting has basically been a wasteland for me in this city.

As for just eyeballing it, I'm becoming more and more convinced that this is basically how all clothing lines size their garments: "Yep, looks like a 12 to me -- slap a label on it!" Ok, I'm obviously exaggerating, but sizing makes very little sense to me a lot of the time.
posted by holborne at 1:31 PM on September 25, 2015


Ferreous, ask the staff when the truck comes in, see if you can come in the following morning when all the new stuff has been put out. All the good clothes go FAST because people know this secret.
posted by adept256 at 1:31 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've shopped in thrift stores all over the country, from Manhattan to Long Island to Chicago to rural Wisconsin to San Francisco and its outlying areas - both in upscale and working class neighborhoods. I have about a 4% success rate, where success= I found something I can wear to work, and almost all of that 4% took place about 10 years ago when I could get away with looking more rumpled. The "effortless" thing they talk about in the article is actually really important. Your clothes should disappear on you - that is the biggest class signifier. Not that shopping in stores is that much easier, it's not. But at least I have a better than 50% success rate there. Especially this time of year.
posted by bleep at 1:32 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


And as a constant reseller, it's often not what you'd think that's the big resales. For a long while our bread and butter was what I could only describe as "middle school art teacher clothing" Think bob mackey originals and storybook knits (gaze into the abyss). The other day I had someone seeing if I could overnight express them a oversized garfield pajama shirt from the 90s.

Often the middle high end brands (think anthropologie, lacoste, saks fifth ave) don't actually sell for great prices. I think it's because they operate on a much higher fashion trend churn so their resale is mediocre.
posted by Ferreous at 1:32 PM on September 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Man, I'm just dabbling in this article throughout the day and it just keeps getting better. It's like a Bret Easton Ellis novel in seminar form.
posted by rhizome at 1:32 PM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


Until a month ago, I had been in private banking for a decade, and about 50% of my clothes - suits included - are from thrift stores.

I feel like my hit rate is close to 20%.
posted by jpe at 1:37 PM on September 25, 2015


Yeah, if you do find higher end suits/slacks that are near your body type, you can always get them tailored to better fit you for a fraction of what a new suit would cost. For suits jackets the shoulders are the real dealbreaker; if those don't work, forget it.
posted by Ferreous at 1:41 PM on September 25, 2015


I have largely ceased thrift shopping because the prices here are unreasonable and the merchandise is hugely picked over by professional buyers on a daily basis. I went to four different shops looking for a basic white man's dress shirt and found nary a one that didn't have stains or frayed cuffs. I used to be an avid thrift shopper who found many wonderful things over the years, but I'm not going to pay 20 dollars for a used and cheaply made dress. If the clothing has seen even reasonable wear, you're not going to get as much wear out of it yourself, and frankly, I just don't have the patience any more.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 1:46 PM on September 25, 2015


I pretty much owe my career to the Goodwill store near here. My first job coding was as an intern for [large chemical company] who paid me $8/hr but wanted me to wear jackets and ties and such to work everyday so $10 suits from Goodwill were my salvation. I lasted there two years before I managed get a job paying 2-1/2 times that much and let me wear jeans and t-shirts but I'd never have gotten my start without thrift store business wear.
posted by octothorpe at 1:48 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


t octothorpe: Did you go to the CHES-A-RENA goodwill? It's such a great name for a shopping plaza and they usually had surprisingly good selection.
posted by Ferreous at 1:52 PM on September 25, 2015


I love thrifting while on vacation. It is my version of souvenirs. I rarely buy anything new. I am not as poor as I was, but I love nice clothes and could never afford to dress well without buying used. I do notice that better shoes are now only available thru eBay or consignment.

So many of my travel memories are finding things that are just right and are evocative of the place.
posted by readery at 2:06 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think part of the relative dearth of stuff has to do with the rise of fast fashion combined with the general economic downturn. Less durable goods are around and more people are forced to use thrift stores due to tightened budgets.
posted by Ferreous at 2:11 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


the stores are lit like shit, and lots of the clothing have minor stains that render them unsaleable

If you think you're hallucinating a stain, there's a stain. The worst (hardest to detect) are stains on heather or tweed. I found an otherwise interview-worthy skirt suit in a thrift and then never dared wear it because I hallucinated a water stain on the skirt.
posted by bad grammar at 2:13 PM on September 25, 2015


So many of my travel memories are finding things that are just right and are evocative of the place.

The Mrs. and I went to Miami last year, and on the first day I found white pants. Never took em off.
posted by jpe at 2:15 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


The other day I had someone seeing if I could overnight express them a oversized garfield pajama shirt from the 90s.

Yeah, that's super hip right now. (seriously. I just can't wrap my brain around that aesthetic, but it's what the kids are into these days.)

I buy a huge proportion of my clothes from thrift stores, but I've come to realize that I'm pretty privileged in having (or perhaps more importantly, the desire to make) the time, money to waste on stuff that potentially doesn't fit or I just don't like, and a standard-sized body.

This is definitely a fashion-nerd kind of conversation. There's definitely a little bit of the working/middle class fashion nerds talking shit about people who can afford the clothing THEY want to wear but instead walking around all day in yoga pants. I empathize.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 2:21 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


storybook knits (gaze into the abyss)

how has this not spawned a dozen fpps
posted by psoas at 2:22 PM on September 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


the stores are lit like shit, and lots of the clothing have minor stains that render them unsaleable and they aren't returnable.

Would it be viable to use a blacklight flashlight? They're around $10. Used as a Cat Pee Detector, ours showed up a ridiculous number of false positives, i.e. other faint stains that we would never have noticed.

You'd need to create some artificial darkness for the device to be effective, e.g. throw a dark blanket over the clothing item and then peer under the blanket at what the blacklight reveals. So it demands a certain amount of shamelessness (the real shame of course as you point out being on the stores themselves).
posted by feral_goldfish at 2:36 PM on September 25, 2015


My zip code in Pittsburgh begins with 1. I live in an upscale zip code! Yay!

I rarely buy clothes for myself, but I buy most of my kids' clothes from secondhand stores. I like having more clothes that are less expensive, because then they're less likely to run out of clothes when I fall behind on laundry.
posted by Anne Neville at 2:46 PM on September 25, 2015


Ferreous, how do you even make any money? I gave up trying to sell on eBay because it was just not worth it. I was almost breaking even (almost), but nothing more.

The things that sold were never what I'd expect, either.
posted by tel3path at 2:48 PM on September 25, 2015


The clothing will be worse quality, and often goodwills in those areas become downmarket biglots, selling refuse from other stores but at list price and with zero returns.

Ah. Thank you for explaining something that had totally baffled me when I went to the local Goodwill a few weeks ago to donate some electronics. Besides the expected stuff, there were shelves full of cruddy packaged merch clearly not donated by people like me, and not priced all that cheaply, either.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:52 PM on September 25, 2015


Practice, experience and judicious use of the ebay app on smartphones to gather historical price data. Basically you have to trade a lot of time doing research and prep to get and sell things that are worth the investment.

We don't have one here but there's goodwills that are based on weight and are nothing but massive bins that get filled and rolled out through the day. Those places can be goldmines, but they're notoriously brutal because of the sheer number of resellers at them. I'm talking stealing stuff from carts, fights over items and massive amounts aggressive behavior.
posted by Ferreous at 3:00 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's been a few times in my life when I've had to be around old (or at least older) money. It's pretty rare in those circles to see high fashion. But oh, there's a plethora of well-worn prep. And for the record, they don't spend a fortune on automobiles or many other symbols that the middle class and nouveau riche attach status to.
posted by Ber at 3:00 PM on September 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


We went to the Chicago art expo the other day and there were a huge number of people there who were clearly moneyed but you could tell by the manner of their dress that they were wearing incredibly expensive versions of casual stuff an average person would wear. Not noticeable at first, but upon closer inspection much better made.
posted by Ferreous at 3:04 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I wonder who is spending on ~fashion~. And how many are people who can barely afford such things. Old money, as Ber mentions, prefers rumpled preppy attire.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:10 PM on September 25, 2015


Pardon the stupid question, but who is SNP? It's driving me crazy.
posted by queensissy at 6:36 PM on September 25, 2015


This panel was conducted by Sarah Nicole Prickett, editor-in-chief of ADULT.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:40 PM on September 25, 2015


Who are these people? I hate all their pretentious asses.
posted by Sassenach at 6:50 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thank you! I obviously could not make it through the entire thing (I've tried three times now), and part of it was not being able to identify who this person was.

I would like to offer this to you and all others in this thread as partial recompense for putting up with me of late: the Reseda Goodwill. I live in LA proper and drive out to Reseda regularly just to visit this magical place. Cheap, clean, well-lit, the staff is super-friendly, and I can find stuff in my size. Not just stuff, but specific items that I'm looking for.
posted by queensissy at 6:59 PM on September 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I understand the thrill of the chase (finding something perfect at bargain prices and all that), but I hate-hate-HATE thrift shop clothes myself: it's too much of a throwback to my childhood , where everything I wore was either homemade, hand-me-down, or both. If something was store-bought it'd been through at least two older siblings and/or a few cousins before it got to me; the only times I wore something nobody else had already worn it was always homemade.

So while I'm certainly no fashion plate --- I'm a step or two above 'schlub' --- at least what I have was new when I got it, even if I've worn it to rags. I've done my life's fair share of hand-me-down clothing.
posted by easily confused at 5:13 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


In Chicago there are rich thrift and poor thrift. Some sites curate a section of brand name goods, and the charge 20 to 30 dollars a piece. I can't afford it! I realize that these pieces sold for much higher prices but it takes the thrift part out of it. Once I saw a bedroom set priced higher than its actual retail value. It cost 2000 dollars in the thrift store. (I'm specifically bitter about this salvation army on Clyburn and Ashland) I generally avoid those stores, because they up everything perceived as name brand to the point where I can't buy enough to feel like it is worth my effort.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:39 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


In Chicago there are rich thrift and poor thrift.

My experience (from 5 years ago so ymmv) was that the best thrifting in Chicago was in Lake County. Take the Metra to Highland Park or Lake Forest and bask in old money hand-me-downs.
posted by dis_integration at 7:29 AM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing a lot of people overlook is the point of thrift shops/op-shops/charity stores is their purpose is not to provide cheap clothing for people who cannot afford new it is to make money for charities by taking stuff they got free (donations) and selling it. So if they do get something 'good' they are actually serving their purpose by pricing it higher.
I love charity shops in the UK - people seem to throw/give away great stuff more readily than they do in places like Australia. Some people complain that high streets in part of Britain are being over run by charity shops by I see that as a feature not a bug.
posted by Megami at 1:32 AM on September 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have just moved to London, and I'm bewildered by the prices in charity shops. Every time I've gone in, it turns out I can buy essentially the same things, new and cheaper, from say, ASDA Living.

Buying off Ebay, with postage included is generally cheaper. The only real deals I've gotten were when I was at a swanky village fete, where the clothes stall was clearly because they expect a fete to have a clothes stall, so they marked everything down to 50p at the end. I should have just bought semi-everything.

Final point - Where the hell do I buy cheap crap in London? I've just moved here, winter is coming, I just need layers of acceptable (not label) clothes, and sheets, and towels, and knick-knacks, and buying new will make me broke. I'm scanning ebay and freecycle.
posted by Elysum at 3:12 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eviemath, don't be silly. You can buy a Versace tie for $3. We can only keep the best clothes. A lot of them still have tags. A single loose thread and we reject it. No one is going to look at you and think 'second-hand'. Well maybe these snotty socialites from the article, but when are you visiting their planet? (Would you even want to? They're disgusting).

I can't tell if this is serious or facetious.
posted by eviemath at 2:36 PM on September 28, 2015


adept256 is dead serious, and needs to cough up her thrift store's name and location.

(The AskMe cat rule, adapted.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 4:43 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


And perhaps plane tickets for all of us so that we can take advantage of these incredible savings?

But more seriously, as adept256 kind of noted, young-me was not rubbing shoulders with the sort of people who regularly wore new high fashion. Young-me was being judged by upper middle class people who bought fast fashion, and thus noticed when other people were wearing last year's (or last decade's) styles, and were more impressed by that sort of timeliness than by the details by which one can spot old money timeless fashion. Secondhand and hand-me-down clothes are, kind of by definition, behind the curve. Last season's Versace tie for $3 would have been little help, even had that sort of stuff been available in my region.
posted by eviemath at 7:14 PM on September 29, 2015


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