I, like many others, have always disdained second-hand stores. I never visited Goodwill Stores or St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army Stores. I naturally assumed they were for people so badly off they couldn’t even afford to shop at discount stores like KMart and Ross.
Of course, I’ve never been wealthy but worked and managed. However, as time went on I became aware of some of more subtle differences between cheap bargain clothing and the really good stuff that had originated in some of the better stores. I. Magnin, for example. Sadly gone now, but how many of us can afford to blow $1,000 on a men’s sports coat? if you peek into Nordstrom you’ll be shocked to see Bally shoes starting at about $450 and going up fast. Allen Edmonds shoes will set you back about the same, but this American shoemaker, like British bespoke shoemakers, will repair and renew your shoes for life so as an investment, they’re well worth the cost…but how many of us can afford that sort of expense, especially when we can buy a very nice pair of shoes for under a hundred dollars in many stores?
How many of us can stand the expense of $75 and up for a necktie and/or a shirt? At my age, I well remember when you might find Levi’s on a shelf down out of sight in some clothing stores. They were really only for cowboys and factory workers, and at $3.75 a pair, they were a good sturdy buy. Now, jeans are high-class and ridiculously high-priced casual wear.
So where are we going with this? Well, if you, as I do, appreciate gently worn really high-quality clothing for pennies on the dollar, maybe you’d better start checking out some of the thrift stores in your area.
Now I’m not saying the stores are bursting with top-quality merchandise, but the neat part is that most of the employees in such stores don’t try to differentiate between items of clothing. To most of them, a shirt’s a shirt, and a pair of shoes is a pair of shoes. When they do happen to think they’ve come across something of value, they may place a higher price on it, but that’s actually rather rare.
So you happen to be browsing among some well-worn shoes when you come upon a like-new pair of Allen Edmonds shoes and better still, you (if you’re like me) wear an 11B. You can’t walk into Nordstrom with a handful of money and pick those up. Special order and wait. A like-new jacket from I. Magnin for $10? I researched this online and a shop in Seattle has one very similar on sale for $850.00 (Oh yeah, it’s used too.)
After listening to a few friends I began checking around and now proudly own a wardrobe of some really fine clothing, all like new. Shirts, ties, trousers, jackets and oh yes, a $600 topcoat from Canada that I picked up for $8. Brand new. $600 6″ Italian boots for $20? Yes!
And needing a walking stick to help support me due to my one-eared lack of balance, I’ve come to appreciate collectible canes and now have more than my wife ever wanted me to have and each one is unique and collectible for about $3 a copy.
These stores like Inspirations Stores can offer much in every sort of merchandise from kitchenware to books for a dollar or so, but clothing is where the real deals are to be found, so go on down and at least check out some local thrift stores and you’ll see. (Just don’t expect to return goods and get your money back, so shop prudently!)