What’s special about NY is that not everything is fresh, new and pristine and that it's a little bit, worn in or used and old. I think that character can translate into anything from a couch to a pair of shoes.
It came from my mother. Growing up, she would always take me to the goodwill. We weren’t poor growing up but, I didn’t differentiate between Macys and the Salvation Army. I didn’t look at that shopping experience as uniquely different. I just thought of it as one being more exciting, more fun, more of a treasure hunt.
My mom had a country house upstate and she would map out a location when we would drive upstate where we could find the goodwill, salvation army, she calls it Sally’s. So she would say, “do you want to go to Sally’s boutique?” Yes, I have $10 bucks, I am so ready to buy 5 outfits because they would have green tag sales, yellow tag sales. I would come back to school on Monday with outfits. Levis jeans, vintage t shirts, old Nikes and I never thought the idea of wearing something that someone else has worn is gross. I thought of it as, my clothing was more valuable than yours.
At times, I am sure that I took the look a little too far and did kind of look like a bum, but it worked in most instances, not all of the time, but most. The character of the clothing was more unique. I used to go this place, called Steve’s garage, I still won’t tell anybody where it is. There is only one person who knows where it is. It is this guy who would distribute to vintage stores in NYC but I would go to his garage and buy stuff out of his truck and the back of the storage unit.
The fact is, you can get a pair of 1972 Nike's that are from Japan, unworn even, or in pristine condition, just worn a few times. I would look at something brand new that came out and think that it was just a lame spin off of what I have which was, you know, far better.
I like to buy things that are used but it doesn’t necessarily have to be used. For me, it has to do with finding something that is not only extremely inexpensive, or super marked down on sale. It doesn’t have to be used, but it is the idea that I took the time to find something special instead of looking in a magazine for example and finding something that’s in, and then deciding I am going to go to a chain store and purchase that look. The idea of finding something that is more representative of me that someone may have had for a long time that I in turn may like to have for a long time, I feel it gives it value.
When I go to a store, what I am most drawn to and consistently look for is the least expensive item that I can find with the most value.
Over the years I went from buying anything that was under $5 regardless of if it was flammable, or covered in sequins, it would be mine. But, now, I try to give myself a set of rules when I am shopping. I follow those rules, so that whatever it is that I buy, it will last. So if it is a 100% synthetic I won’t buy. Those kind of things help me differentiate between quality and crap.
I am very competitive. I like to have the cheapest stuff, the best stuff because it makes me feel like I am appreciating a dollar and doing things better.
It never was a money thing. My parents, my dad’s a teacher, my mom was a judge at the time. It never had to do with $. I think what my mom instilled in me was the idea of looking for something and taking the time that shows an appreciation for that item. I guess. Yeah, so it never had anything to do with my income or needing to save money. A lot of people will spend $60 on one nice dress, to where as I will spend $60, same amount of $ as someone else, but I’ll get 5 or 6 things, ya know, for that same price, not that I need, but that I really like.
I actually am turned off by buying anything that is actually priced at the full price point. I can’t really remember the last time that I ever bought anything that wasn’t on sale, marked down or at a thrift shop. I can cruise through my closet and tell you stories of times and places and what season it was, where I was and how I found it. Almost, every single item in my closet. I like to save those tickets, when it has the red slash when it was on sale, this was originally $69.99, then it was marked down to $29.99, now it is 50% off. I like to collect those little tags and put them across my dresser because I look at that and say I did NOT spend $500 on all that stuff.
That has been an ongoing issue for me because I have.. well, you give me $300, this room is going to be full and that is an issue in Manhattan obviously, you don’t have a lot of space. So I do sales, I’ll have street sales with my clothing. There was a time once, where I filled, 2 summers ago, an entire corner of a street fair w/ my own clothing. My closets were not even nearly emptied from what I had done. They were just kind of more organized, and I made $1000 cash selling stuff that I had bought used at places like that to the same kind of customer. So that is what I kinda try to do to not let my closet overflow.
The one thing that I do is I say, if I am gonna buy 5 things, I have to get rid of 4 but it always doesn’t work out like that.