What Does ‘Thrift’ Even Mean?
“I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet.” — Carrie Bradshaw
In an early episode of Sex and the City, Carrie heads to the Village (aka the vintage shopping district of Manhattan’s elite) in search of a seven dollar vintage dress to match her five hundred dollar shoes. A chorus of sartorially-savvy New York voices echoes “where though?” Carrie’s seven dollar vintage dress store must be located in the same part of Manhattan where newspaper columnists amass Manolos and one bedroom apartments cost the same to rent as a shoe closet in Bushwick. That being said, there are still amazing gems to be found if you search hard enough through New York’s endless piles of old, discarded clothing. With this in mind, hundreds of shopaholics, collectors, and costume designers alike descended on the twice-yearly Manhattan vintage fair at Metropolitan Pavilion last weekend.
The ubiquity and persistence of vintage fashion is undeniable and the ever-increasing number of online stores dedicated to reselling decades-old clothing is proof of this. At some point during the 1990s, wearing clothes from decades past moved from the realm of hippie to the realm of hip ... and so did the prices. Wearing secondhand clothing is no longer solely the realm of the poor and we can “thank” Carrie Bradshaw and Chloë Sevigny for the outlandish price of Levis nowadays. ($300 for a pair seems to be the going rate for ripped 501s in Soho.) Lisa Marie Smith of Orlando Vintage in Florida feels the pricing of vintage clothing is justified, “Vintage excites people because of the variety, the quality, it contains history and you can have a one of a kind item no one else has,” she told me. It feels safe to say that if a piece has been around since 1970s and is still in great condition you can expect many more years out of it.