Do Men Thrift?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Topic of coversation last night with Mr RF:

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 raised a few interesting comments to the question 'where do you buy nice mens clothes cheap'

Val123 comments:
"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.



Linda said...

A big NO WAY do my son & partner ever step foot in the op shop. Half an hour at most at Westfields before the stress gets to them. My daughter is coming around to recycled clothing clothing(shes 12).I have always loved opshops since I was little. I like this blog by a male thrifter

Unknown said...

Ah Linda thankyou, thank you! Thats the other men's thrift blog I've been searching for. Thanks for commenting too.. it appears that opshopping is definitely a women's game!

pippi said...

my husband would rather shoot himself in the foot than go into an op shop, particularly for clothes.

I agree. Women just like to shop. Full stop.

Ania said...

my boyfriend likes shopping (to some degree) but gets bored when he comes thrift shopping with me. he definitely can't get into the whole "take forever to sort through all the crap" spirit. we've even shopped with a mutual (guy) friend of ours, and it was a no go. he needs to have something specific in mind that he is looking for. if he doesn't find it, he's done. also, unfortunately he is tall/narrow/lanky, and most vintage clothes were built for short/stocky. i'd also like to mention that i was brought up shopping in thrift stores, while he probably didn't step into one until he was an adult. the aforementioned guy friend, on the other hand, is a heterosexual fashionista and can spot designer labels and digs vintage clothing.


Heather said...

I am a thrift store addict and I have been since high school. My sister and use to grab a cart and throw everything we liked into. Once it was full we would try on the clothes and put back what didn't fit.
I have tried on numerous occasions to get my husband to go with me but he refuses. Much like the rest of the men he insists that it is dirty and stinky which is never the truth. He doesn't like to shop in the first place.
On the other hand my daughters who are 3 and 7 love hitting the thrift stores with me!

Something Else said...

Hmm....I think the lovely Mr O is in the region of "thrift shopping" and "not touching it with a ten-foot barge pole". Well, by thrift shopping here, I mean "flea market shopping". He just doesn't like shopping - besides the fact that I have never seen a man with so many pairs of jeans and bad surf t-shirts he's had for literally 20 years (which I keep asking him if I can cull down to a few decent ones and knit the rest into a bathmat....), so he doesn't actually need any clothes. Just a wardrobe makeover. Eherm. HOWEVER, he is happy for me to go flea-market shopping cos he loves a bargain as much as I do. As for my male friends....none.

Eddie said...

Actually my husband used to be against getting anything from a thrift shop but he has recently changed his mind. He recently felt that he needed more nice trousers and shirts and I directed him to Oxfam's online shop. There he found Georgio Armani trousers and Thomas Pink shirts for next to nothing.He is so thrilled with his purchases that he now has me looking in charity shops for him.
I even think that next time I go charity shopping and he is around he will want to come along. Oh no! He has caught the bug!
As for the smell issue it has gotten much better than when I was a teenager. The only problem is now that I suspect at least British charity shops of spraying their clothes with highly perfumed fabric softener or something like that. I am very sensitive to perfume and it is just not a smell you can get rid of - trust me I have tried! But at the end of the day it still beats the smell of smoke and unwashed people that I remember from my teens.
Great Topic Erica Louise!


Glamour Drops said...

Well my husband obviously needs to be informed that he is out of step with the rest of the male species on the planet, because he LOVES to op shop. In fact, he will disappear most Saturday mornings with a "I'm just popping into Savers, just in case...." I know what that means! But he comes back with the most amazing vintage clothes - beautiful silk ties, cuff links, shirts... and occasionally the odd handbag present for me. Gotta love that!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend loves thrift shopping with me, we often go together and we love it when we find 3 for $20, or what have you, deals because usually one of us will only find one thing but the other will find two. We go at least once a week and he was thrifting before we met.

Maybe he should start a blog, but he runs off with his finds as soon as we get home and starts wearing them straight away; nothing has ever smelt, otherwise I wouldn't let him wear it! (I do wish he'd wash it once before wearing though, just to get the shop smell off them!).

What's For Tea? said...

I think my betrothed must be another exception to this rule. Perhaps because his dad was an antique fiend but I have to drag my fella out of the op shop even when I've put in at least an hour of hard yards!
Mr Tea is a fan of the old school, and dare I say it the dapper, but I am proud to say he can sift with and find a gem with the best of them.
We pass many happy Sundays not spending much, other than quality time and good taste, thrifting with the best of them x

Unknown said...

Wow I am impressed to find out there are man that do thrift along with the ladies, and I'm a little jealous of that.. I'd love to go treasure hunting with Mr RF. I shall have to inspire him somehow. x

JeTaimeVintage said...

Trick is to find their weak spot, my partner never comes shopping with me-unless its my birthday as can get away with taking me shopping for 50 bucks. I know he has a weakness for tacky american 70s shows like Miami Vice so took him to a sale full of 70s bar futniture, disco lights, retro lounges and neon signs which he loved. I think most men like big things (think shed/speed boat/something that takes up a whole corner of a room), not things that you find at your average op shop. They are less satisfied with clothing, they only consider it a problem if we do, and then its our job to change it anyway. I will try and photo document male op shoppers for you, that might be a fun project ;)

Frugal Down Under said...

I watch Daniel Troppy on You Tube. He thrifts luxury women's and mens clothes for himself, his clients and for selling.
My partner hates shopping full stop. But he's very happy with the Ben Sherman shirts I pick up for him for $5 each in local op shops.

NessaKnits said...

My husband had a horse racing day to go to for a work function this week. So he went to Vinnies at Balmain? or somewhere near where he works and got Calvan Klein pin striped navy pants for $20 to wear, and was very proud of himself for doing so. He also won money at the horse races, one on a horse named Me! Me! Me! .. lol

NessaKnits said...

I should add that probably the last time he went into a thrift shop before this was to get a suit for a B&S in his late teens. He still has the suit!! Maybe my son might inherit it one day ...

Piya said...

I am also enjoys thrift shopping, even shopped with a friends too. I liked op shops thanks for sharing this here with us all...

D&G Clothing

Jess said...

You were right. Definitely interesting. I think that maybe our natural insticts may make for some of why women shop more than men. My husband will rarely come with me, but when he does he's usually happy with his finds. Though I agree with Mr. brooks, men's stuff is usually pretty bad, but that's just because men are much harder on their clothing (even dressy clothing) and will donate it even if it's falling apart.
Very interesting post. I'll have to send my sister over to read it as well. :)


Dee said...

My hubby hates shopping full stop. He used to recoil in horror at my op shopping and would shudder if I talked about it with his top ip curled. It brought back bad memories of second hand and hand-me-downs of his child hood where he was picked on. In 23 years he has come a long way and no longer reacts so strongly. As students putting ourselves through college I clothed our entire family very well through op shops and the kids wore a lot of designer stuffs which we couldn't afford. the kids didn't have his experience and love it when i went op-shopping because they knew it meant i would return with treasures for them.
Now I still like to op shop and the girls all love to come with me. We have fashion parades when we get home. Hubs is even delighted when I find neat things for him. recently he came with my daughter and I on a brief op shopping adventure (I knew he wouldn't last for long). I set him the task of finding jeans and shirts to fit himself. He hunted and found a pair of jeans and was very happy with them.
Then he happily sat on the couch provided near the front of the store and played on his ipad while we finished our shopping. It's not his 'thing' but he is ok with how much further I make our clothing budget stretch and how it allows us a few other things we other wise couldn't have (like his iPad mini).

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