Second-hand stores

My First Choice: Second Hand

I am a huge fan of second-hand stores. So is Hank. Our reasons are identical. We love buying quality clothing and furnishings we can’t afford to buy new but can find in these types of stores. Let me add — if we’re lucky. And honestly, that’s part of the fun.

I will admit a majority of my wardrobe was found in a second-hand store. I like clothing with quality fabrics and classic designs, which I often can’t find new in stores. (Retail outlets used to have good finds until the stores started making clothing specifically for this market.) I feel the same way going to second-hand bookstores.

The best place to find a good second-hand store? Where rich people live and donate what they no longer want.

My technique is simple. I go along the racks, looking at the fabric. If I see something I like, I check the style and size. I also check whether it needs to be dry-cleaned, which might be a deal-breaker for me unless it’s a special garment like the Saks Fifth Avenue silk dress coat and a wool Pendelton dress jacket I found.

When in doubt, I try it on. I also check the discard rack near the dressing room.

But my ultimate rule: I gotta love it.

And a second ultimate rule: sometimes I win, oftentimes I don’t. But to be honest, if I go to a second-hand store a few times and consistently strike out, I won’t be back.

But in my shopping experience, I rank two that are the crème-de-la-crème of second-hand stores.

The first was a consignment store in Northampton, where the owner only carried quality clothing that was less than two years old. That was 15 years ago, and I still wear clothes I bought there. Unfortunately, the store is no longer in business.

The second was Pieces in Taos — the town in Northern New Mexico where I lived 11 years. Hank and I tested our luck at least once a week and over the years got great clothes and furniture like our Stickley couch and lamp.

One of my favorite finds was the set of pinecone candle lamps. That’s them above.

When we think of the things we miss about Taos, shopping at Pieces is one of them.

Alas, I saw a post on Facebook (from The Taos News) that Pieces is closing for a number of reasons. I am sorry that is happening, but I treasure the hours I spent there on the hunt for great stuff at great prices and the stuff I scored.