San Francisco, Shopping, Style

Where I Shop For Clothes (Hint: The Gutter)

When I was younger I shopped all the time. Seriously I spent so many hours dedicated to digging through thrift store crap  looking for the right clothes to change my life. These days, not so much. I still shop all over, but it’s more strategic. I’ll pay a little more to get something decent.

Of course the concept of paying nothing didn’t click for me until college. In college when I started working for the recycling department at Yale, one of the biggest donation events of the year was the end of the year moveout. We’d have these great big blue plastic barrels set out near the dorms and people would donate everything and anything as they left campus for their summer adventures. As a recycling worker I received first dibs on all the donated goods. Some great finds I’ve gotten from the blue barrels include:

  • A very fine oboe which I had fixed for $300 and sold for $2000.
  • Lots of Kate Spade purses. What’s up with that?
  • Furniture
  • Great books
  • Food!
  • Expensive makeup and perfume
  • Booze (rare)

Last but not least, there were so many free clothes. Great clothes, fancy clothes, normal people clothes, workout clothes, everything. God, it was fantastic.

These days I have limited time, but I shop for clothes all over:

  • Thrift shops, consignment shops (Salvation Army, Goodwill)
  • Resale shops (Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads)
  • Random “boutiques”
  • Big ole mainstream chains (Gap, H&M, Zara, etc.)
  • Big box (Target)
  • Discount dept (TJ Maxx, Marshall’s)
  • Online shops (6pm, Zappos)

But my favorite by far is still:


Oh yeah, I have no shame. I’m the person digging thru trash for goodies. It’s one of my favorite things about San Francisco. Look at this fantastic-ness! This person could not sell all her clothes @ Crossroads so she left them outside for free. THANK YOU!  Can we make this a regular thing? Just leave it outside for the fashion vultures to scoop up.



I dug through the pile and came out with some cute stuff.20130522-202239.jpg

  • A 100% silk J Crew Top with a nice sweetheart neckline
  • A pair of J Crew matchstick jeans cut into jean shorts. Thankfully not too revealing.
  • And a Velvet drapey jersey dress.

I know that in smaller cities this would not work, but I do love this about San Francisco. The street giveth, the street taketh away.