Thrifting 302: Vintage Goods and the Limited Value of Labels
So the other day I was in a thrift store scanning the shoe rack. When I saw these.
Alright, I won’t really turn down a pair of shortwings. I could use a pair of Oxford Wingtips. They look a little banged up, but nothing a little polish can’t fix. But what are we really talking about? I mean, are these shoes really worth it?
Huh… Bostonian? Wait, that Bostonian. You might, at this point move on. Except for one thing. It’s not that Bostonian. That’s the modern one. The one that has been gutted and lowest common denominatored.
These shoes, these beautiful vintage numbers are from this Bostonian.
The Bostonian that was a serious cobbling outfit. One that used Shell Cordovan. One that has a proper stacked heel and goodyear welt. One that bears no resemblance to the Bostonian of today.
This is one of the most important elements of thrift shopping. Going outside your preconceived #menswear comfort zone. If you have it in your mind you need Alden’s, or Allen Edmonds or whatever other shortwings you’ve had your eye on, you’re going to be spending $500 or $600 and getting… well, essentially the same shoe. Maybe more of the moment, certainly newer. But if you’re truly concerned with “classic” and “buy less, buy better” what’s the preferable option? $600 for a new pair? Or $8 to get a used pair that will last nearly as long, plus give you that “authenticity” that’s all the rage these days.
Thrifting takes time, but with a broad net, persistence and willingness to go outside the “box” you’ll get results that’ll blow your mind.
Addendum: Taking these to the shoe repair guy tomorrow to get em nice and shined up. So I’ll be spending under $50 for a like new pair of shell cordovan shoes. Not bad.