Green Eye for the Hip Guy
Monday, Mar. 16, 2009 | 05:57 PM AT
Image courtesy linz4449 on ebay.
Ahem, gentlemen... this one's for you. Yes it's about shopping, but it won't hurt, I promise. It's all about looking like a million bucks on a charity shop budget. I get that most guys would rather comb their hair with a cat than go shopping, but bear with me-- thrift store shopping can be FUN! You know who told me that? A guy. His name is Danny Lourenço and he's an ethical fashion guru. He owns Rien a Cacher, a boutique on St Denis (corner Rachel) that sells locally produced, organic and recycled clothes. Dude has a very funky sensibility and some very useful tips. (Ladies, even we can benefit from some of this advice).
Oh, and to take the sting out of thrift store shopping, I even have a $50 certificate to Frip-Prix Renaissance to give away. But you have to keep reading!
Before we launch into the tips, here's what you get out of it:
1. Savings: You get a chance to look very good for very little money.
2. You help the planet by preventing waste. Did you know that the average Quebecer buys 23 kg of clothes a year and trashes 21kg? I'll bet my writing hand that isn't fair trade or organic clothing either. So do your bit for the environment and reduce the amount of new stuff you consume.
3. If you're shopping secondhand, you'll often buy more made-in-Canada stuff than most stores are selling brand new. This means better quality and probably fairer labour conditions.
4. Ironically, many used clothes are in better shape than brand new ones. That's because back in the day, clothes were built to last more than one season.
5. You'll be able to buy natural fabrics like cotton, wool, cashmere as well as Italian leather, etc that you probably can't afford brand new.
6. When you shop vintage, you develop a look that's all your own. That's seriously sexy! Seriously. And if you're worried about not having a sense of style in the first place, take along a lady friend (or a guy with pizazz). Make it social. Make it work for you.
So you ready? Let's do it!
So here are Danny's frip tips:
1. Be prepared to spend some time: Guys, you're going to have to stop thinking about shopping as hunting (where you pounce on your prey) and instead think of it as a kind of strategy game. The idea is to go when you've eated and peed and are relaxed. Budget for at least an hour. Then really take your time to browse through the racks. Try stuff on (blasphemy, I know) and make frip shop browsing a habit.
2. Ignore size labels: Ladies are more used to this than men. Often stuff at the thrift store is mislabelled (which is why it ended up there in the first place). Sometimes sweaters (especially pure wool and cashmere) are shrunken. So do an eyeball test-- if it looks like it's going to fit you, ignore the label that says small or XXL and try it on.
3. Shop season forward: Don't wait till it's 30 degrees to go looking for T-shirts and shorts. Think about the two seasons coming up and imagine what you'd like to wear as you browse through the racks. By buying this way, not only are you saving tons of cash (trendy stuff is expensive and you're less likely to say no if you need it NOW), but you're more likely to score some real treasures (because no one is looking for them yet).
4. Vintage is IN: These days, argyle and vests are all the rage. So instead of buying some made-in-a-third-world-sweatshop knock off, why not buy the real thing? It will just take longer (remember, planning, not hunting!)
5. Some things are BETTER used: Think jeans or a leather jacket. Both get sexier as they age. So get that yummy snuggly jacket at a fraction of what you'd pay brand new.
6. Fair game: Buying secondhand may be easier in the ethical dilemma department. And I'm not just talking fur coat-- fur trimmed jackets, hats, etc all fall under this category.
Right, so this is the part where you tell me your story. In exchange, you get a chance to win one $50 certificate to Renaissance (which is a king's ransom in a thrift store!). Frip-Prix Renaissance has outlets all over the city and aims to give a second chance not just to clothes and household items, but to folks having trouble finding work.
So, tell me: do you have an item that you gave away to a thrift store or threw in the trash that you now wish you'd held on to?
Leave me a comment or call our Talkback Line: (514) 597-5626.
By the way, if you're leaving a comment, don't get frustrated when it looks like nothing's happened when you press "post". There should be a 10 second delay after which your screen will go grey. If this happens, all's well. Then the system waits till I log on again to post items. Good? Good. If you're worried your comment isn't reaching me, you could always send me an email: email@example.com
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