I was strolling through West Chelsea when a cute boutique caught my eye. I went in and started browsing...only to have my hopes lowered by small price tags with huge numbers. A stylish but modest jacket for $600? A tank top for $175? I challenged myself to find items under $225 on which to base a review—but there just weren't enough of them.
I try to review shops that are in line with my priorities—for instance a local focus, no fur, and prices that are not so distressingly inflated. So I left; and then found my way to Rags-a Gogo—which is something of an NYC legend, actually, and which I'd long meant to explore.
Nope, the merchandise here is not shabby or worn. What it is is secondhand (some newer items and some true vintage), appealing, and affordable. I admired a men's Harley Davidson t-shirt in pink ($18); a wide selection of Hawaiian shirts (all men's button-downs ($20, or 2 for $35); a women's knit vest with red and blue embroidery (all vests $20); a wool plaid skirt in red, white, and black (vintage and adorable; all skirts $20); a cheery yellow cardigan (all sweaters $28)—wearable now and into the spring, and though officially a men's item, I'd happily wear it; rainbow suspenders (all suspenders $10); and a blouse with purple polka dots *and* a floral print (truly fabulous; all blouses $20 or 2 for $35). There's so much to see, and it's truly a "something for everyone" situation.
If you can spend $600 or more for a modest item right now, that's great for you...but maybe it makes more sense to score better deals, still look great, and give the leftover money to a worthy cause. I say you'll look all the better if you do.