Suppose there was a store that had a "curated" collection of upscale labels at prices so low you'll be tempted to buy an evening gown you don't need, in a size you haven't been since the Carter Administration, just because it was too fabulous to pass up? That's how I feel everytime I enter Chestnut Hill Academy's Clothes Closet, hidden away in the school's basement on Willow Grove Avenue. Do I need a size 4 black velvet formal? God no. Do I buy it? You betchya!
I figured out a long time ago that the best thrift shops are located - where else? - in the best neighborhoods. Gladwyne, Bryn Mawr, Narberth, Wayne, Chestnut Hill - all happy hunting grounds. Hospital thrift shops in affluent areas are notoriously ripe for the picking thanks to the habit of doctor's wives of donating perfectly good designer clothing just because it's "last season." Same goes for consignment shops like the one at Chestnut Hill Academy that has a steady flow of high-end goodies from parents who send their kiddies to this pricey private school.
The best tip I can give aspiring thrift store junkies is never go when you "need" something for a special occassion. That's when you're susceptible to squeezing yourself into a bolt of magenta silk that makes you look like Last Call at Club Va Va Voom. Go with nothing in mind, as if wandering around the Louvre. Odds are, you'll find a masterpiece. That was my attitude when I visited the Clothes Closet this week.
What did I need? Not a thing. But, oh, what I found! A flared, tweed jacket with a metallic thread, raglan sleeves and over-sized buttons. Perfect for these sunny, crisp October days. Best of all, the orginal Macy's price tag was still attached. It had been $79. My price? $6! (Less than a tuna on rye.) I also snatched up a metallic copper belt for $2 and a black chiffon bolero with delicate sequin embroidery for $8.
Where will I wear my new treasures? To watch the Ryan-Biden debate tonight with a large glass of merlot in hand.