Me: Why don't you ever go op shopping?
Mr Recycled: I haven't had a reason to
Me: A reason to?
Mr Recycled: Yes, you have to have a reason to go into an op shop
Mr Recycled you see, does not share the same passion for op shopping as I!
Photo c/o we heart it
Do many men actually enjoy a thrifty shop? On the Op Shop Tours I lead across Melbourne's Bayside suburbia, I may get one or two men in a group of 10, most of which are accompanied by their female partners, sisters or daughters.
A blog article on fluther.com raised a few interesting comments to the question 'where do you buy nice mens clothes cheap'
"Goodwill. Also, if you can find a second hand store within ten miles or so of an affluent neighborhood, that’s a good bet. The thing about Goodwill is all of their stuff gets taken to one huge warehouse, and dispersed throughout the city from there. Smaller 2nd had stores just sell out exactly what they take in, so if you can find a DAV or a thrift store near a nice neighborhood, that would be good. I’ve gotten some originally wildly expensive clothes for less than five bucks that way."
To which MrB00ks replies:
"I’m sorry, but just going in to a Goodwill store makes my skin crawl. The men’s clothes stink to high heaven"
Val123 in response:
"To me, going to a Goodwill store is like going on a treasure hunt! On the face of it, everything looks so….cheap, and crappy. You dig and you dig, and then you get something that finally catches your eye, and when you get it home, in decent surroundings, you find that you have something REALLY special! I’ve picked up Mucha prints, $100 (new) blazers, Italian leather sandles…you just have to look."
And MrB00ks finishes off with:
"Ahh, but you have never browsed in the men’s section, saw a nice shirt and stopped to try it on, only to almost vomit from the smell once you have. I swear to all that is holy unless it has a new price tag from the original store, if it is in the men’s section it will stink and have major sweat stains somewhere on it."
I do wonder when MrB00ks last stepped foot in a thrift store? A generation ago, smelly second hand clothing may well have been a more common occurrence, but these days charitable shops filter through donated clothing before it hits the shop floor, particularly with the larger chains; Salvos, Vinnies, Oxfam (UK), Red Cross, Savers (US), Goodwill (US). When I speak to op shop staff, they often tell me they receive a lot of donations, but much of it does not end up on the shop floor because it is 'rubbish'. Most op shops do not put stained, holed or smelly clothing out for sale.
Mr Recycled finished our conversation last night, when he says "maybe it's because women just love to shop", and you know, I think he could be onto something.
Do women prefer to thrift shop because we are 'programmed' to gather, and men to hunt? The hunter-gatherer theory may just be speculation for some, but it appears to be true that many men prefer the easy, quick hunt - find - take home that high street retailers offer. Retail shopping is easy; clothes are advertised online or in catalogues, they are stocked by size, colour, and type of garment. Thrift shopping is not; clothes are often jumbled together, are in no particular size or style order, quite often the men's or children's clothes can be found mixed into the women's 'section' (or garment rack).
A quote from an article on recession chic shopping:
"Yes, some items found in thrift shops may be...junky. But hidden treasures abound. In this shopping milieu, patience is a virtue."
Is op shopping therefore a predominantly women's pursuit because we love the hunt?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of female thrifty bloggers broadcasting their thrifty finds on the internet. So far, I have only found a few thrifty bloggers which are written by men:
- Stan Williams is the Elegant Thrifter, and author of The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Detail. Stan signs off his blog posts with "Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!".
- Minneapolis based Justin Peddycoart trawls his way through American thrift stores, and documents his finds via a blog he started publishing in 2008 entitled THINGS I FOUND (at the thrift store).
So tell me readers, does your partner / fiance / husband / brother / dad shop second hand? Do you know of any thrifty blogs written by men? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this one.