Last spring break I stayed in the city, and one thing on my agenda was visiting Green-Wood Cemetery, a historic cemetery with beautiful views of Manhattan. Here is a picture of me awkwardly smiling in my favorite Goodwill “summer pants” that I didn’t know I needed until I owned them.
In New York City, lots of people go “thrifting” in Williamsburg, frequenting boutique shops with curated collections and prices to match.
While this can be fun, and it is certainly easy to find beautiful pieces of clothing, I prefer thrift stores that are the size of a warehouse. No hole-in-the-wall vintage shops for me; give me rows and rows of jeans, shoulder-padded blazers and a toy section in the corner and I am perfectly content.
Large thrift stores may take more work than smaller ones, but for me the pay-off is worth it. I feel more satisfied when I find something I love, and I also don’t have to pay thirty dollars for a dress two other people have already owned.
My favorite thrift store in New York is the Goodwill in Fulton Mall in Brooklyn, at the corner of Fulton and Hoyt. It has a large section of women’s clothing, from blouses, to skirts, sweaters, outerwear, dresses, pants, and even shoes.
The store is clean, the employees are generally friendly, if not super-helpful, the fitting rooms have mirrors, and the clothes are sorted by general sizes.
I have found everything from a Calypso blouse to a J. Crew turtleneck and a Zara dress there, and I almost always leave with a purchase.
The key to finding a Goodwill with a good selection and low prices is a balance between neighborhoods: the store has to be close enough to good neighborhoods so that it gets good donations- this one is near Cobble Hill, Beourum Hill and Brooklyn Heights- but the neighborhood where it is located cannot be too fancy or the prices are marked up.
For instance, the Upper West Side Goodwill at 79th and Broadway nearly always has good selections, but their prices are higher than Brooklyn’s.
For a successful Goodwill trip, you need at least three things: speed, flexibility and a good friend. Those also sound like the ingredients to learning how to do a back-flip, so let me explain myself further.
You need speed to flip through rows and rows of mediocre clothes before you find the thing that fits you perfectly.
You need flexibility to try on something that may look funny on the hanger, but great on you.
And you need a good friend to keep you grounded, to remind you that you always buy things with shoulder pads saying you will “cut them out later,” but end up re-donating a month later. Also, friends help to laugh with!
What about you? Are you a Goodwill fiend or do you prefer another store? What are your ingredients for a successful trip? Let me know in the comments!