The Art of Thrifting

Floral couches spotted with mysterious stains. The faint aroma of cat piss culminating over a puce wingback. Mounds of faded and crusty plastic toys. Dolls with matted hair. Tonkas with chips. Stuffed dogs missing eyes, fur bleached from being left in the sun.

Buttery leather jackets that have traveled to places I’ll never see, with crudely sewn patches and worn down collars. Saddleback shoes with hardly any sole. Wingtips that have never kissed the concrete. The musty smell of mothballs and stale cologne lurking around every three-piece suit.

I walk down the long, narrowing aisles. My grandma’s voice drowns out the beeps and clicks of the cash registers ringing on the other side of the store.

“Those pants are gingham, not plaid, and the inseam is loose by the knee, you don’t want those” “That’s a sport coat, not a blazer” “It’s called houndstooth” “Never wear the hats; you don’t know where those have been”

I always try on the hats.

I snap my hand back from a cheap polyester blend. It’s a sour smelling, almost slimy between the fingers, and very limp fabric bound to fall apart at any moment. Polyester is like a used bandaid floating in the corner of a public swimming pool. Never buy polyester blends.

I come across a dark wool pea coat smells vaguely like a wet dog. I pick it up and examine the target areas.


-Jones New York; reputable


-Bottom left one is loose (easy fix)

-None are broken or missing


-No stains; light wear


-No noticeable tears; mild fading