Bro is a tough thrift shopping case for a couple of reasons. First of which is he doesn’t really like shopping unless beer is involved. And I am all for the beer, but he has work to do and I have the 3 hour drive home. He wants to make the most of my visit, however, and that includes getting my fashion advice, so we shop sans beer. The next reason is that he does not have a typical body size and shape. I feel for people like this–those that can’t settle on something even if the fit isn’t quite perfect. Bro is tall and skinny. He has a 32 waist (it’s more like a 30, but he likes his belt and his shirts tucked in during the winter) and a 34 length. His shirt size is generally a large, but sometimes a large is too big in the belly area and most times, too short in the arm area. Last reason, he wants something specific. He wants a shirt with red in it, but the most important requirement–pearl buttons. He’s always like them, he says, and now they are in fashion and this is the first time, mark it, that he has liked something that is actually in fashion. I’m excited about this project.
My bro lives in York, Maine and, ladies, he is a handsome professional. He installs GPS systems on heavy- duty construction equipment. His job takes him from Northern Maine to New York weekly and sometimes a trip here and there to build air strips on deserted islands in the Carribean. His work dress is fortunately the same as his casual dress–jeans, t-shirt, and a button down, sneakers or boots. He is skeptical about thrifting, dissuaded by the smell, the sifting through racks of clothes, and the memory of the New Portland Thrift store that we used to go to when we were little. He’s up for it though, enticed by the possibility of getting some clothes and not spending much money.
We start at the York Community Thrift Store. They do have a men’s department, but unfortunately it’s not substantial and we are inout. I hesitate, wanting to poke around a little more, but I remember this trip is for him, and I happily follow in the wake of his bee line.
Down route one a couple of miles (all the thrift stores in York are on route one which makes a thrift trip to York easy and enjoyable), we stop at The Find, a consignment boutique. Now I’m not a complete idiot. I don’t expect to find any men’s clothing here, but I wanted to chat with the counter girl about other thrift stores with men’s departments…This store LOOKED AWESOME, a creamy feel, accessories everywhere. If I had had more time, I would have spent an hour here and the girl was very helpful, seeing Bro and smiling a little sneaky smile when I inquired about the possibility of finding anything for a boy for cheap in all of York. With a list, we leave The Find which is even harder to walk out of. I feel better though, seeing that Bro is still playing along, amazingly chipper.
Leeward Landing Charitable Thrift Store is more like the adventure we’ve been looking for. We quickly find a Polo shirt for Bro (a flannel pattern with red, no pearl buttons) and I find a Banana Republic sweater for LB. The Polo shirt has the triangle, a key component of any button-down that I was unaware of. Bro says that the triangle means the shirt is fitted around the waist and of higher quality. I admire and love that Bro doesn’t think twice about trying on this shirt right then and there, can’t be bothered to find a dressing room. This places lacks pants for boys, but it is clearly a treasure chest. I try to zip through the girl’s department while Bro is distracted by the old books, but he’s behind me in another minute, trying not to but looking like “let’s go.” We get to the counter and the chatty women there are bubbling about thrift shopping. The lady buying had recently lost 40 pounds and had been forced to discover thrift shops so she can afford her new weight. She won’t ever go back to a department store now. The cashier lady affectionately talks about her grown-up son to whom she still sends clothes. “It cost more to send the box than it did to buy the clothes!” She goes on to say that her son makes tons of money (parents love to gloat about this, I’ve noticed. Here I apologize to M and D for having nothing to say about me), but loves the idea of getting brand name clothes for nothing from his mother. Lalala, she makes Bro chuckle, I smile, we all chat while she’s ringing us up, and I think, would this happen in a regular retail store?
We move on to The Fabulous Find, Upscale Resale, and Fair Tide Thrift Store, and they all lack boy’s departments. Booooo. If I ever have a thrift store, MEN, you will not be left out of the fun.
Bro was still happy though, with his one shirt and shopping with his sister. He is liking the idea of thrift shopping and I promise to take him again. I know a trip to Goodwill or Material Objects in Portland would bring more success. It should be noted that we went to American Eagle and found a pearl button shirt. It was $30. He didn’t buy it! Too expensive and it didn’t fit quite right. Yay!