For most men, buying secondhand clothing is an alien experience, and that puts them behind a steepening curve. According to industry reports, the secondhand clothing market is set to match or surpass new clothing sales in the next decade.
Brandi Muñoz is owner of San Diego’s La Loupe Vintage clothing shops (one on Adams in Normal Heights, the other on Park in University Heights). The self-styled “foster mom for cute clothes” says that only about 10 percent of her customers are men. But that number is growing. Slowly.
Vintage clothing sells itself. It’s more durable, tends to be slimmer cut, looks interesting, and doesn’t come with a high ecological and ethical price tag. Even if you don’t dress like a roadie for the Grateful Dead, you wind up with better clothing when you buy vintage.
Still, shopping for it can be intimidating. Thrift stores such as Goodwill are the cheapest source, but they swallow your time. There are great deals to be found online, but you don’t get to try the item on until you’ve bought it. Resale shops like La Loupe represent an attractive middle ground, offering curated selections that can be cheaper than the mall.
Brandi says the most important tip for newbie secondhand shoppers is to browse with an open mind. If you expect to find something specific, you will likely be disappointed.
She also cautions that sizing can be tricky. You may have to try on many pieces before you find something that fits properly. The juice is worth the squeeze.
Vintage shops aren’t all rodeo shirts and bellbottoms. Resale should be considered an option even for men who dress conservatively. The value for money is just too high to ignore.
If shopping for clothes feels like a chore to you, vintage might turn it into a hobby — a potentially lucrative one. When you get bored with your wardrobe, sell it.