Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Working Woman's Reality: Power Thrifting

I have thrifted in many stressful situations; through snowstorms, with unwilling companions, through debilitating hangovers, to name a few, and I have always managed to persevere, come away with a deal, and successfully avoid alienating my friends and family. But this week, I was introduced to a brand new thrifting stressor of a much greater magnitude; a full time job. That's right, no more freelance for me. In the truest spirit of the American Dream, I have traded in my lance of freedom for health, dental, and vision insurance. Now subject to the whims of the man (who dictates that I stay at work until 6:00 every day, at least until my probationary period ends),* it is no longer possible for me to arrange my work schedule around trips to my favorite NYC thrift stores**. This has induced a rather serious crisis, as all the deals are during the week, and weekend thrifting is terrible.

I had little choice. I was DYING to thrift, it had to happen, somehow. The particular place that I had in mind, I knew, was open until 7:00. I did some google mapping and figured it would take me approximately 22 minutes to get there. If I left work at 6:00, I could get to the store by 6:25, and have 35 minutes to shop. An insultingly short amount of time, but I knew if I stayed focused, I could come away with something.

The plan was implemented. It got off to a rocky start when I didn't leave work until 6:08. Already 8 minutes behind schedule, and now my fate was resting on the MTA to be functioning in any sort of normal capacity, which, these days, is certainly asking a lot. I waited a solid 6 minutes for a train, and almost bailed. Who was I kidding? I was just going to get there right as it closed, and it was going to hurt even more than to not go at all. I nearly threw in the towel.

But my compulsion prevailed, I stuck to the plan, a train came, did not malfunction, and I arrived at the store at approximately 6:35. Andrenaline was coursing through my veins by the time I walked through the door, and I was worried that I was so overexcited that I would make poor decisions. I knew I had to choose what sections I wanted to hit up and most definitely wouldn't have time for the whole store. The sections I chose were patterned blouses and skirts, and blazers and jackets. After the most focused and intense 20 minutes of thrifting in my life, followed by the most focused and intense try on and edit session of my life, I came away with these four fantastic pieces.

I actually found this on my way to the register, as the staff, who are incalculably super bitchy and super sweet, were screaming at me to get in line to check out and stop shopping. It is a silk dolman sleeve sweatshirt, essentially, with the most gigantic floral print you've ever seen.

This might very well be my new favorite thing in the entire world. It's a long open front shawl collar jacket with a Medieval scenic print. Really. If there is one thing that I love, it is a sophisticated integration of popular fantasy themes in print design.

On the other end of the spectrum, this geometric color block printed silk blouse.

Another long open front jacket, with leather applique detail at the shoulder.

As if that all weren't success enough, upon checking out, the guy who rang me up punched a couple of buttons on the register without even looking at the price tags and charged me $14 for everything. My total should have been well over $20. I didn't ask any questions and gave him the cash. Then he told me I had a pretty smile, and that I didn't need a receipt.

Most definitely a successful first attempt at power thrifting. Let's hope I can squeeze in another session this week....

*I know, gross.
**Not quite in tune with the ethos of thrifting, I will not ever disclose my NYC stores on this blog. They are simply too valuable, and could be too easily ruined if ever discovered. Sorry.


  1. I love your thought process here. Can't tell you how many times I've gone through the same thing...and it's so awesome that you totally scored. Oh, and stay frosty! Probationary period has to end sometime!

  2. "that you didn't need a receipt" = pocketing the cash.

  3. sounds like NYC thrifting is far more cutthroat than out here in the midwest...

  4. @ mary: i have to say that i am pretty certain he didn't pocket any money. the transaction was much more, "F this i am not looking at these price tags, who cares this is dumb." because there actually was a receipt but it fell on the ground and that was when he said i didn't need it. when i looked at it he just edited a few things out. @ sarah, i will stay frosty, forever.