Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Garment District in Boston

I meandered off the beaten path a few weekends ago and headed up to Boston to see the sights and sounds of the city. Naturally I had to do a little thrift shopping while I was there and I had one particular destination in mind: The Garment District. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the place, their catchy advertising jingle seems to explain it best: “The Garment District; it’s not a district, it’s a store.” I must admit that 'store' might be a misnomer because it’s more of a warehouse than a store, but you get the idea.

The Garment District puts the Goodwill Store—or any other thrift store on Cape Cod—mercilessly to shame due to their sheer volume of clothes.  Thankfully, the clothes at the District are divided into four sections to make browsing a little easier:
  1. Retail
  2. $1/pound clothes
  3. Vintage and
  4. Thrift.
The retail section sells new merchandise and is similar to a year round Halloween store.  It's subdivided into pop culture, party accessories, rock accessories and new clothing.  Some examples of new merchandise they sell are: wigs, Go-Go boots, boas, women's western wear (I am not making this up!!) and so on and so forth.    

The $1/pound section is extremely popular with students; in fact, one of my college roommates, who was handy with a needle and thread, often scrounged through the piles of clothes for things she could mend. It can be a little intimidating to a novice thrifter because you literally have to dig through heaps of clothes but some liken it to hunting for buried treasure.

The vintage section has clothes from the 60s, 70s and 80s.  Each era is classified by types of clothing, such as dresses, pants or blouses. Don’t expect the vintage clothes to be in perfect condition, often there will be rips, tears or stains on the fabric, but the prices are cheap so you get what you pay for.

The regular thrift store takes up the majority of the building. They have a nice selection of designer clothes at rock-bottom prices and most of the styles are pretty current.  They also have an enormous shoe section.  You could probably spend the better part of a day browsing through the store, so I recommend having a list of things you need in mind before you go.  When I went, I was looking for suits for work and a nice evening dress for a fancy dinner.  Of course I didn't find anything, but I did have fun trying on the vintage apparel!

So if you're headed up to Boston for a day of shopping, don't forget to add The Garment District to your list!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Bevy of Thrift Shop Reviews

A fellow thrifter named Wendy contacted me over the summer after she stumbled upon my blog. She was coming to the Cape on vacation and was planning to do some thrift shopping. In her email she said, "Your blog has so much information! After reading your archives I'm got out my maps and I'm ready to shop." Of course I was very flattered to hear from one of my readers but imagine my surprise when she sent me a list of shops she had visited--complete with reviews!--after she got back from vacation. So now I must say, Thank YOU Wendy!

Below are excerpts from Wendy's thrifting adventures; I've tried to include reviews of shops that I have not yet visited.

    It just so happened that we went on a day that had 1/2 off all tops. Considering the prices of the tops were only $2 each, this was a great bargain. I found a Michael Kors sleeveless knit top guessed it - $1! Also found a new pair of espadrilles for $5 - don't know if they are still in fashion, but they were new and cheap!
    $$ - not very thrifty, but I found a (new) cute cover up for over my bathing suits for $12.
    I really liked this store, but again, you had to watch the prices.
    Cute little store - found a great lace cami and a safari-style sage green jacket for $20
    Best store so far for selection and prices!!!!
    Great prices, poor selection - although I got a great J.Jill linen top for $2 and a picture of my Mom next to the Thou Shalt Not Park Here sign!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

2 Jarves Street in Sandwich

I realize that I have been unfaithful to my blog over the past several months, but there is due cause I assure you: it is summertime on Cape Cod. For most natives on this fair peninsula, it is common knowledge that one must avoid all major causeways on the Cape (i.e. Route 28, Route 6A, and the Mid-Cape) from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Accordingly, most thrift stores are located on somewhat busy streets and therefore must be avoided.

I have tried once or twice this summer to venture out to the neighborhood thrift stores on my lunch break but it is like prying open the jaws of a gator trying to get there. Each four-way stop or traffic light presents new challenges and no matter how many back roads you take, it seems as if they too are backed up with tourists, snow birds, traffic details, bicyclists…the list goes on and on.

At the end of June, before tourist season really began, I did stop at a thrift store in Sandwich that I had never visited before. The ‘Touring the Thrift Shops of Cape Cod’ brochure refers to this shop as Saint John’s Episcopal Church Thrift but it is more affectionately known as 2 Jarves Street. The shop is tucked onto a side street in beautiful downtown Sandwich and looks more like an antique store than a thrift shop. Indeed, most of the store is filled with furniture, books and linens, but they do have a small selection of clothing. There are shelves, racks, and drawers filled with clothes so take your time sorting through the piles. I found one shirt for work, which is pictured below with a pair of slacks from the GAP, but I don’t remember what I paid for it. I would recommend stopping by this store if you’re in the area, but don’t make it your only destination because you could leave empty-handed!