Thrift shopping is addictive, but it's also a skill. As with so many things, skill is gained through vigilant practice, and eventually one develops a set of "gut feelings" about a place or time that can help guide them. Some thrift trips will require tedious hours spent rifling through the swill to turn up a lone gem, others will throw themselves at you. This morning, my gut told me to stop by a particular store for a quickie, and it paid off in spades, and not a moment too soon.
had them repaired, a lot. They were a regular favorite a year or so ago, before they were supplanted by a pair of tassel loafers that look like shoes but wear like slippers. Lately, I've been wearing them sparingly, as they are unfortunately on their last legs.
stylish British royal, which I most certainly am not.
I had all but resolved to go on out and purchase a (gasp!) new pair. I was ready to throw a heavy stack of dollars at Alden or Allen Edmonds, really, I was. But being the consummate cheapskate I am, I just couldn't part with the dough. The very idea seemed reprehensible. So I went to Ebay. I don't do Ebay, because I have no patience for bidding, but I figured I could find something in good shape with a reasonable "Buy it Now" price. I found a nice pair of Allen Edmonds "Mac Neil" wingtips in calf for $65, and I almost bit. At the last minute, I realized that it was 2 a.m., and I had been drinking rich oak-aged beer ( more on that later), and I was feeling more than a bit impulsive and perhaps I should wait. So I went to bed instead.
This morning, after dropping the boy at school, I ran some errands. After a trip to the supermarket, I had the feeling I should stop by a local thrift shop I pass on the way. The place is disorganized, chaotic and filthy, and I don't often do too well there. But I felt compelled to pop in, you know, just for a minute. The shoe racks are right by the front door, and within 30 seconds of my arrival, I spotted these:
in shell cordovan! I'm sure of it, no tiny creases, only soft, supple leather with the tell-tale "waves". Never one to push my luck, I decided to leave at once. The trunk was full of groceries, and Mrs. G was sending "where are you" text messages. Best to high tail it home. There was no price on the shoes, but I already knew that whatever they would charge would be a mere fraction of what they are worth. The kind lady at the counter looked them over, frowned a bit, and said with trepidation, as if expecting an argument "seven dollars?" I gladly agreed. She said "these are not so good." I said "I buy them here then pay my repair guy $50 for new heels." "That's expensive." she says. "Not as expensive as new shoes" I say. "No, I guess not." she says.
I almost forgot...
Liberty of London...
H. Herzfeld of New York. $1.99 each.
I was in the store for a total of five minutes, maybe. I knew it was worth stopping there this morning.
Go with your gut.
p.s. the Shop is busting with new goods, including items from Cording's, Brooks Brothers, and USA made vintage L.L.Bean. Stop by.