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Our Lucky Shops contest, in which we asked for your best secret shopping tips, got so many good entries that we're going to spend the rest of the week recapping them. One major theme: Vintage. Readers were filled with suggestions for thrift stores that carry more than just camphor-scented "Jamaican Me Crazy" t-shirts, and they had genius ideas about strategy. Below, our favorites:
The guys who work at the Salvation Army on 96th Street and Broadway are super savvy with their designer labels. Every so often, if there is a donation of authentic handbags and shoes, they will keep them stored in the back of the store for their devoted customers. I suggest you ask the guy manning the cash register if he has any goods in back, and he might be in a good mood to share.
Wednesday's are always 50% off on clothing and accessories too. You can really find some great bargains here, nearby are several nursing homes and dry cleaners that donate clothing. I've found vintage Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta.
While you're uptown, stop in at the Housing Works on Columbus between 74th and 75th Streets. Writes another tipster:
To date I've gotten plenty of barely worn goodies there, including a new pair of Citizens with the labels still on, a Joe's Jeans mini and my biggest accomplishment to date—an unworn pair of black Coach crocodile slingbacks for $20. They get items dropped off from photo shoots all the time.Housing Works is, of course, a no-brainer, but another reader had very specific instructions about how help them help you (while helping the homeless—everybody wins!)
You should give your gently worn clothing to Housing Works! Not only do you receive a tax refund and feel good about doing some good, but unlike most of the thrift stores in Manhattan, Housing Works receives NEW UNUSED OVERSTOCK from top designers in NYC. After I gave several items of clothing and chatted away (as is my custom) with staff at HW, I really got to know the lovely people that work there. They will let you know when specific designers in NY area will donate overstock several times year.
For example, a lovely women who saw I was donating an old Rebecca Taylor coat graciously offered that Rebecca Taylor would be donating overstock in upcoming weeks. She gave me her card and told me to check back with her when she knew the date. As you can imagine, I was first in line the day the Rebecca Taylor inventory was revealed. I got two great dresses and a sweater that would have been over $900 retailfor only $99! So I got tax credit, did a good deed, got some lovely outfits and made some new friends!Clearly, to be a good thrifter, you need to be a student of human nature. Which is why we like this next tip:
Okay so Beacon's Closet in Park Slope is no shopping secret but here's what is—and it applies to many a consignment/vintage shop: Go on Sunday morning when the merch that was brought in on Saturday (which is when most of us have time to do our errands) has been sorted and priced. Not only is everyone at brunch (it is Park Slope after all) so it's less crowded, but you'll snag your chance to the best stuff of the week!Of course! Brunch! Why have we never thought of this? Brunch-based strategizing should really be a hot new business field.
· Racked Giveaways: Tell Us Your Shopping Secrets For Tickets to Lucky Shops [Racked]
· Lucky Shops Contest Winner: Lester's Warehouse [Racked]