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Goodwill, Meet GQ

May 11, 2012

Goodwill, Meet GQ

By: The Ignant Intellectual

Maintaining cutting-edge fashion while sticking to a solid financial budget can be difficult for even the most seasoned style expert. Essential to developing this skill is in knowing when to pay full-price for an item and when not to. Mastering this art will allow you to be both in-style and in your landlord’s good graces. Fret not; it is quite possible to be fashionable on a budget. Goodwill, Meet GQ.

Being a keen buyer is essential when it comes to balancing being fly and keeping the lights on. While there is no singular sure-fire way to accomplish this task, I’ve learned that as with most things, ‘practice makes perfect’.  In my personal shopping experiences, I have found that, in addition to department stores and on-line shopping, there are two fundamentals store types that will catapult your closet while not burning a hole in your wallet:

1)    Consignment Stores

2)    Thrift Stores

Both consignment stores and thrift stores differ from typical department stores in that all clothes in department stores are brand new, whereas both consignment and thrift stores consist of used or second-hand clothing.

What is the difference between consignment and thrift?

Per the good folk at

1)       Consignment shops are places where individuals can sell their used clothing through a dealer. You are paid a percentage of the profit and the shop, as the dealer, takes a percentage of the profit for each item sold. If items do not sell during the period they are on the sales floor, they are returned to you and you receive no compensation.

2)       Thrift and charity stores sell used clothes that were donated by individuals. Depending on the individual store, profits from the sales that go directly to charity vary, but all sales contribute in some way monetarily to the charity who owns the thrift.

In essence, as a seller, there is the potential to make money with consignment, whereas with a thrift store, it’s considered a donation. Therefore, if you are considering donating clothes that you no longer want, I suggest that you first take your clothes to be consigned and those that are rejected or don’t sell, should be donated to a thrift store. This money can then be used to fuel your fashion budget or be directed towards other important financial obligations; like your savings account. Keep in mind that often consignment stores only take current styles and/or name-brand items, so do your research.

As a buyer, both consignment stores and thrift stores are amazing ways to purchase in-style/name brand items at unbelievable discounts. Because many consignment stores only take current items, you are almost guaranteed to find something that was originally purchased during the current season. While thrift stores typically are more lenient with the items that they accept, I highly suggest that you include thrifting in your shopping repertoire as they, too, have equally amazing finds.

Because of my undeniable love of the second-hand shopping experience and in my quest to find the world’s best thrift and consignment shops, I have found one tried and true search tactic in locating mind-blowing second-hand stores.  LOCATE SECOND-HAND STORES NEAR COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES. Why? Well, for parental income, of course! Whatever do you mean, Z? My all-time favorite thrift store is Goodwill on State Street on the campus of The University of Madison-Wisconsin. According to the university website, the median Wisconsin family income in 2007 was $62,607. This goes directly in line with my theory as, in my experiences, typically children of parents who are well-paid are more likely to go to college and frivolously buy expensive clothes, wear them one time, then give them away to the less fortunate wear high-quality/name-brand clothing AND rotate them out of their closets at a higher rate than folk who aren’t as financially fortunate. In my opinion, this translates to both: high-quality brands and inexpensive prices. A most valued combination for us ballers on budgets!

This search tactic can also be applied to second-hand stores in ‘affluent’ neighborhoods as well. I will also admit that my theory may be confounded the by the steep presence of prowlers creditors that lurk around target college campuses making amazing offers to students that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

If you are a boi like me, when you find an amazing sale, it is akin to a bowl of your aunt’s should-be-famous gumbo; it is borderline orgasmic. I guarantee, when done well, we Queer B.O.I.S. can indeed successfully introduce Goodwill to GQ, in one amazing style ensemble.


The Ignant Intellectual is a New Orleans-reared writer, poet, and spoken word artist who has been writing before completely mastering the English language. From the accent to that je ne sais quoi that folk have been trying to put words to for far too long, to the curious name, The Ignant Intellectual is indeed a ‘strange fruit’. I.I.’s goal in writing and performing is to deconstruct the many unconscious social constructions that guide our mental processes and ultimately our actions, to influence youth and elders to re-imagine what is, pushing/pulling the collective to our full potential. The Ignant Intellectual’s vibrant, often humorous, and always though-provoking writings and performances convey that, “Life really is good enough to be true.” And so it is.


Twitter: @ignantintellect


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