Thrift Store Blues

I'll admit that I love clothes. I love the process of picking out things that go together in an interesting way. I believe that fashion does affect one's psychological state. You look professional, you feel more professional. You have a fun outfit on, it lifts your mood a little bit. I do have some problems with the high fashion world, but I love the process of coming up with outfits that work in an interesting way in the real world. However, I also have a boatload of student loans, just finished planning a wedding and furnishing a house, and I work in an art museum. A girl has also got to eat. Put that all together and the first thing to go in the budget was my appreciation of J. Crew and Ann Taylor Loft (enter Target and Marshall's!). I won't even mention the cost of a dress I once bought at Harrod's in London or my totally awesome straw hat from the horse track in Lexington, KY in more carefree times. But I have always loved thrift stores. In MI where I am from they are totally fabulous. Suburban Detroit has some as big as grocery stores. In Astoria, Queens you can get J. Crew cashmere for $1, and enough clothes for a whole summer for 10 bucks. I do realize now a thrift store is only as good as it's neighborhood and the taste and budgets of it's residents. Say whatever you want about the architecture of western Queens, if the Salvation Army is any sign the residents have got style sense.

Then I moved to Albany. The first time I went in the Goodwill on Central Ave it had only stuff from Target at basically the same price as buying it new. The whole point of thrift stores is cheap clothes that were originally much more expensive. You put up with the smell and the inconvenience of the layout because there is the possibility of finding a beautiful, normally $150 dress for 3 dollars that you will wear for years. Or you at least want things from a different time period you could not acquire any other way. I want to feel like I am in my grandma's attic, and I want it to be dirt cheap. I want to have fun hunting. This is pure thrift store bliss. I did have a great time with my friends at a tiny thrift store in Greenwich, NY and we found some great pieces, but the name of the shop alludes me now. Then I discovered the Troy Goodwill, and that is slightly better than the Central Ave. location. The accessories are not bad. I have gotten some cool shoes I have worn a lot. I like all the kitschy glass pieces. But again with the huge shipments (seemingly new) from Target at basically the same price as new! Why would I want that? It is already cheap at Target. Not to mention that the whole fun of thrift store shopping  is the variety! You have 50 of a dress I can get at Target for $20 for $16 instead? Bore me to pieces, and depress me already.
The Salvation Army by my parents house in MI is a regular low brow Victoria and Albert. I got ceramic Molly bookends that were fabulous, beautiful linen napkins, kooky brooches. It is such a blast going there and there are great things as cheap as a quarter. The rummage sales at Olav Shalom can be fun. I got this there and love it. Will Capital Region thrift stores return the fun to thrift store shopping or have I missed the good ones? I have thought maybe they just aren't as cool over here. Can someone help out a girl employed in the arts?


  1. You should totally try Clothes Mentor out on Central Ave! It's consignment, not thrift, and you probably won't find sweet older lady vintage YSL. You will find heavily discounted Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, etc. I say because I know, also being a working girl with a mountain of student loans and a house to furnish.

    I've also heard people have done well at Great Finds thrift store on Washington & Henry Johnson Blvd. Haven't been myself, though.

  2. Thanks, I will have to try the Clothes Mentor.

    I did go in Great Finds once when I first moved here. Maybe I will have to give it another shot!

  3. I second Clothes Mentor. I picked up two sandals and a pair of shoes all brand new (tags and all) for less than twenty bucks - and that was less than what one of them would normally cost.

    There's a church thrift store (St. John's perhaps?) that you can get as many clothes as you can fit in a bag for three bucks. It can be hit or miss, but I've stocked up on caridgans and skirts for the summer.

    As for thrift stores in MI - love them love them love them! Some of my favorite pieces are from Michigan.

  4. Great maybe I will check those out this weekend, thank you!!

  5. The Goodwill is like that here too! WTF is the point if they are the same price as Walmart and Target? I've seen a beat up couch in a Goodwill trying to sell for $200. Are you kidding me!? Crazy!

  6. Yes! That is what I am saying you are already giving things up by shopping there! So ok if something is beat up and needs a little help that is ok if it was originally awesome and has great infrastructure. Like a nice dress that needs a little stitching will last a very long time, but a Target dress for the same price? Why? Should be a dollar.


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