Unless you’ve been on another planet this Fall (like Los Angeles or Nashville), you’ve undoubtedly heard that New York City is having a bed bug epidemic.
Suggestible as I am, and reading that you can pick these tiny, pesky bugs up from theatre and subway seats, I find myself hysterical every time anything itches anywhere on me.
No sign of infestation in our brand new building, bedding and mattress yet (hopefully never) but the ubiquitous posters selling miracle cures — everything from chemical treatments and deep cleaning to electronic repellents — are keeping this epidemic top-of-mind.
But that’s not even the worst of it. The worst of it is that an article ran in the New York Times reporting that shoppers are shying away from shopping at thrift stores. Not only thrift stores, but antique, consignment and used clothing stores. Even second-hand designer stores. The majority of these stores are doing their best, the article reported. And some of my favorite stores were specifically cited as being bug free at least as of a couple of weeks ago. But even so: You try ignoring the giant pink bed bug in the dressing room the next time you find a vintage Dior at a steal!
So, to make a long story short, like a starving woman on a diet, of course I can think of nothing but the amazing things I’ve found “slightly used” in seasons past — and what may be awaiting my discovery, with less competition at the cash register than ever before.
I wouldn’t dare bring home the faux fur vest that was so popular in the eighties, and is this season’s hottest look, that I bought last year. It will look great with the designer jeans I bought not just from a thrift store, but the sweetest score of all: on the thrift store’s sales rack! J Brand jeans that fit like a glove, originally one hundred something at least, mine for under $15.
And the sweaters! OMG! Big oversized tan sweaters with big brown buttons just like my Dad used to wear, and fancy schmancy black knits with big furry collars. Of course, just how many of these does one girl need in her closet? But I just know there’s something just as wonderful, or even better, hanging in a corner of an empty store: something that has my, or at least St. John’s, name on it.
Something with black and white stripes, for instance. Or a sweater coat so soft it feels like cashmere — and in this season of collectible mark-downs, maybe it even is!
So here I am, a new arrival in New York City, having purchased the book on bargains before I even got here, wandering up and down cool, hip and chic neighborhoods, my nose to the window, drooling.
I may yet break down. That same article said that if you wash whatever you purchase on the hottest temperature then fry it in your dryer for 60 minutes, you’ll get rid of everything — even the bed bug eggs. However, considering the shrinkage factor, you may also end up with a cashmere shrug instead of the full-length coat you just couldn’t live without.
Until then, I do my best to assuage my hunger with the next best thing: Nordstrom’s Rack. And please, please, please don’t tell me I’ve got to worry about bed bugs there, too!