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How To Shop In NYC: Killer Advice for Thrifting

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You live in New York City. The capitol of designer digs and fashion icons. As a fashion writer, I have found myself in a really awkward position. I’m broke. I can’t afford stuff from Fashion Week, so I shop at the damn Salvation Army on Manhattan in Greenpoint (sadly now closed, RIP).

I scored a sweet-ass designer coat there last winter for less than what it was tagged. In this crap economy we can still be broke and “oh, so beautiful”. So, here’s how to make the most of your thrift shopping. From when to go, how to talk to the people who work there, and what items you should really be looking for–this is your broke-ass guide to pop some tags.

The Best Time To Get Thrifty

When it comes to scoring big on killer items, there’s a science to this shopping stuff.

  • End of season shopping. So for instance, in the winter look for summer fashions and vice versa. People often get rid of jeans at the end of summer just before back to school shopping. You’re more likely to find flip flops and sandals in May than mid July.
  • Holiday shopping. Especially the end of December/beginning of January. Everyone is feeling really gifty during the holiday season, and they are more likely to donate big ticket items–especially when someone else just bought them something to replace it.
  • Tax season is a great time to go thrift shopping. Everyone is making last minute donations to get a little bump on their income tax returns, so you are likely to score sweet furniture and appliances this time of year.

  • Break up season usually runs end of November to March, which makes the day after Valentine’s Day a prime shopping day. Why? All those pissed off women who got dumped via text message have just donated their boyfriend’s favourite clothes. True story. I once donated all of my boyfriend’s prized Cleveland Brown’s T-shirts to charity. I even made him a mix CD titled: You Can Pick Your Shit Up At Mountain Mission.

How to Swindle That Hella Tight Gucci

“You get more bees with honey.” My Mom has told me this crap my whole life. I never really got what she meant by this, because one of my favourite pastimes is telling people to fuck off. I embraced this whole “being nice to people” thing, and ya’ know what? It works. I’ve got free drinks, airline upgrades, three day weekends in Barcelona–and one bad-ass hella tight Michael Kors coat.

Simply put: Be nice to people. When someone in the thrift shop says, “Can I help you?” They aren’t trying to Pretty Woman you like those Beverly Hills bitches, they sincerely want to help. A girl in the Salvation Army hooked me the fuck up last winter when I got too fat for my coat. I told her straight up that I really didn’t have much money. Her response: “Don’t worry about the price. Just find something that fits.”

Further proof you do get more bees with honey. Thanks, Mom.

What’s Hella Don’t & Hella Tight

When it comes to sifting through another man’s trash and making it dope, there’s a few things you should know about thrift stores.

  • Labels, labels, labels. Get to know designers. I bet there was a place in space and time that I totally missed out on a sweet pair of Dolce & Gabbana sunnies, because I didn’t know who D&G was.
  • Read the latest fashion magazines before you head to the thrift shop. That way you can spot random “it” pieces to add to your wardrobe.
  • Go for accessories. That little pill box purse someone junked is sure to shine bright on your shoulder. A lot of high priced items will be hidden on those shoe shelves, too.

Lastly, if you see something in the thrift store that you cannot live without–go for it! Fashion isn’t necessarily about what everyone else thinks is cool. It’s about you. I have rocked a pair of cowboy boots for seven years that I scored in a thrift shop in the UK. I know. Cowboy boots.

I started getting so many compliments I’ve had them re-healed. Probably because they’ve got me laid so many times. Macklemore was right, “One man’s trash is another man’s come up.”


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