Friday, December 29, 2006

Natty, but Cheap. Thrift-Store Tricks from a CQ Fashion Insider

How do you shop at Salvation Army, Goodwill and no-name thrift stores, but still look like something that stepped off the glossy pages of an upscale fashion magazine like GQ (Gentlemen's Quarterly Magazine)?

I discovered a few answers to that question quite by accident when I picked up the November issue of GQ, which featured a cover shot of Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade. The entire issue, dedicated to sports legends and superstars, offers excellent profiles and smart features. Check it out at the library.

My favorite piece was a savvy and surprisingly frugal article called "The Art of Wearing Vintage." The article features fashion maven Derrick Miller, creative director of New York-based Barker Black shoes.

The author of the piece --The Sartorialist ( -- is "shocked" that Miller wears vintage (translation: thrift-store garments) but always looks as if his outfits are "tailor-made for him." Miller and his brother both look natty, but nice in the photo by Scott Schuman, who also wrote the piece.

The GQ question for Miller:
Q. How do you shop at thrift stores and "not end up looking like a dorky college student?"

Here are the style tips that answered that question:

1. Avoid Vintage stores, which are usually overpriced, Miller said. He loves going to the Salvation Army in upscale neighborhoods, even when he's on vacation.

2. Shop for quality fabrics.

3. Don't obsess about labels. If something is ugly or looks terrible on you, a fashionable, trendy or expensive label will not change that harsh fact. Put the ugly thing back.

4. Fondle the sweaters: "If you're hunting for sweaters, this is the one time it pays to touch every piece in the store."

5. Obsess about buttonholes and shirt-patterns: Make sure buttonholes work and are not frayed. Seek out shirt patterns you like.

6. Socks and underwear: Don't buy used socks and underwear!!!



The Frugal Duchess Boutique


Kimber said...

I enjoy shopping at Goodwill and the Sally Ann also. Why? Because I get truly unique clothes. I love those cute little Jackie O blazer tops that scream business and fun at the same time.

Amelia said...

Thanks for posting these suggestions, I agree 100%. It feels great to get compliments on thrift store finds. In thrift stores, as in "regular" stores, discretion is key! And don't buy something just because it's cheap.