23 July 2013

The Learning Curve

The longer you thrift shop, the better you become at spotting the good stuff, even at a glance. It is especially gratifying when you just know something is really good, and the brand name had nothing to do with it.
Only yesterday, I turned up a nice looking pair of black tassel loafers. I spotted them from afar, their quality being so obviously superior to that of the sea of low grade, worn out, smelly shoes in which these were floating. I could literally see the clear quality of the leather from ten feet back by comparison. I'm a brown shoe guy 97% of the time, but I was thinking these would look pretty sharp with grey pinstripes,or even a tux, to make the purists commit hara kiri. Anyway, I like them, and they fit me.
Bonus points for the fact they've been worn perhaps two or three times. Certainly worth every penny of $9.99 I paid for them.
It wasn't until after I had decided to purchase them that I saw the label. W.S. Foster and Son of Jermyn Street in London. Believe it or not, I didn't know much about this firm, but I did know that an address on Jermyn Street in London is nothing to sneer at. Brief internet homework revealed these to be a pair of their Arlington loafers, which retail for 345 British pounds ( i.e. $578 US Dollars). Score one for the good guys!

There is a very real learning curve with successful thrift shopping. In the beginning, one finds well recognized brands, cheap. But one quickly learns to spot real quality, cheap. And in the end, with patience, one gets the real good stuff, cheap. But it only works if you stick with the curve.


Peter said...

Finding good quality shoes second hand is nice, but it's just great when you find them in such good condition!

I just had a very similar incident happen to me as well: I found a pair of Brookes Brothers shell cordovan loafers (the ones by Alden) for eight dang dollars! These were in almost unworn condition too. I feel bad for the poor guy who paid $650 retail! (although perhaps $650 to him is like $8 to me... who can say!)

Here's to the succesful hunt!

Pigtown*Design said...

Agree! Sometimes the real jewels seem to be glowing!

David V said...

Be glad they weren't labeled from a well known "Designer" Then they'd have been $12.99.

Alex said...

Foster is an extremely old school shop, one of the last remaining on Jermyn Street (which has a few more chains like Hackett, Tyrwhitt and Lewin on it these days) - like stepping back in time - great find and great shoes. You lucky bugger!