How to Get Rid of Your Clothes
As James Taylor sang of the changing seasons: “The frost is on the pumpkin / and the hay is in the barn / pumpkin spice is in the latte / so it’s time to pack away your Aloha shirts.” In the seasonal churn of summer to autumn/winter clothing, I usually just get rid of a lot of stuff, both warm-weather wear that isn’t worth putting away and cold weather stuff that I no longer have a place for, i.e., it doesn’t fit me and never will. Some strategies for making the process smoother:
First, Choose What Has to Go
Assess your storage space vs what you need to put away. Some people have room for expansive wardrobes, some need to pare down by necessity.
Take everything out of your dresser and decide whether it’s worth putting back. Clothing without a clear season can be forgotten at the bottom of a drawer.
Make firm decisions (use the OHIO rule: only handle it once. Don’t put stuff in another pile to consider later).
Eliminate redundant clothing. A closetful of blue shirts? Acceptable. A half dozen MA-1s? Probably overkill.
If you haven’t worn something for more than a year, it can likely go. If you intended to tailor/repair something, and instead it’s sat for a year, it can definitely go.
If you took a risk on an ebay item or a no-returns sale that didn’t work out, now’s the time to throw that dead end merch in the to-go pile.
Second, Get It Gone
I’m a lazy, lazy man, so I need to make choices about what I expect to recoup from this stuff versus how badly I want it gone. In order from max profit/high effort to no effort/no profit whatsoever to anyone:
Sell It Yourself: If there’s a market for it and you have some time on your hands, you can hawk your wares online. There’s eBay, of course, and smaller, more focused sites like Grailed and Styleforum’s marketplace. This method works best for interesting items from widely known brands in average sizes. If you want your stuff to sell faster, take decent photos (clearly show the garment in even, natural light; any phone camera made since 2010 will likely do fine) and offer basic measurements: shoulder to shoulder, chest, length for tops; waist, inseam, and hem width for pants. The downside of selling things yourself is sitting on unsold “inventory.”
Consign It: Plus, who has the time and patience for photographing and measuring all their stuff, only to field lowball offers and ridiculous requests for more measurements and photos (often from me)? Consignment stores like Buffalo Exchange take your clothes and hand you money, which is nice. They often sell more women’s clothes than men’s, though, and may be pickier than you might expect, don’t expect to sell everything or to sell high.Alternatively, if you’re selling the kind of things you often see in PTO’s ebay roundups, you can consign online with an outfit like Luxeswap. They do the work for you (and do it well), but like brick and mortar consignment shops they take only what they expect they can sell.
Give It to Charity: With stores and donation bins all over the country, Goodwill is probably the most visible thrift chain in the country, and an easy way to get rid of usable clothing. Goodwill is a charitable organization, so they can give you a receipt for the value of your donation and you can deduct that amount from your income for tax purposes at the end of the year. According to Goodwill, most of what you donate ends up for sale in Goodwill stores (and/or on Macklemore, presumably), and the proceeds from sales go to job training programs and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. (Some clothing donation bins look like they belong to charities but instead belong to for-profit companies that sell clothing in bulk.) There’s a chance your Hilditch shirt could end up as part of an industrial rag, though. It’s the ciiiiircle of life.The Purple Heart Foundation helps U.S. military veterans by collecting donations, selling them, and funding training programs, assistance with applying for benefits, and direct donations. Like the rag and bone man (pictured), they pick castoffs up directly from your home (well, not everywhere). It’s good for people like me who are too lazy even to drag our stuff to Goodwill.
Trash It: To you, that 5K fun-run tshirt may be a pleasant reminder of mild athletic activity. To the rest of us, it’s garbage. Likewise the used boxers and mustard-stained shirts. Just chuck em. Or use them to polish your shoes.
-Pete

How to Get Rid of Your Clothes

As James Taylor sang of the changing seasons: “The frost is on the pumpkin / and the hay is in the barn / pumpkin spice is in the latte / so it’s time to pack away your Aloha shirts.” In the seasonal churn of summer to autumn/winter clothing, I usually just get rid of a lot of stuff, both warm-weather wear that isn’t worth putting away and cold weather stuff that I no longer have a place for, i.e., it doesn’t fit me and never will. Some strategies for making the process smoother:

First, Choose What Has to Go

  • Assess your storage space vs what you need to put away. Some people have room for expansive wardrobes, some need to pare down by necessity.
  • Take everything out of your dresser and decide whether it’s worth putting back. Clothing without a clear season can be forgotten at the bottom of a drawer.
  • Make firm decisions (use the OHIO rule: only handle it once. Don’t put stuff in another pile to consider later).
  • Eliminate redundant clothing. A closetful of blue shirts? Acceptable. A half dozen MA-1s? Probably overkill.
  • If you haven’t worn something for more than a year, it can likely go. If you intended to tailor/repair something, and instead it’s sat for a year, it can definitely go.
  • If you took a risk on an ebay item or a no-returns sale that didn’t work out, now’s the time to throw that dead end merch in the to-go pile.

Second, Get It Gone

I’m a lazy, lazy man, so I need to make choices about what I expect to recoup from this stuff versus how badly I want it gone. In order from max profit/high effort to no effort/no profit whatsoever to anyone:

  • Sell It Yourself: If there’s a market for it and you have some time on your hands, you can hawk your wares online. There’s eBay, of course, and smaller, more focused sites like Grailed and Styleforum’s marketplace. This method works best for interesting items from widely known brands in average sizes. If you want your stuff to sell faster, take decent photos (clearly show the garment in even, natural light; any phone camera made since 2010 will likely do fine) and offer basic measurements: shoulder to shoulder, chest, length for tops; waist, inseam, and hem width for pants. The downside of selling things yourself is sitting on unsold “inventory.”
  • Consign It: Plus, who has the time and patience for photographing and measuring all their stuff, only to field lowball offers and ridiculous requests for more measurements and photos (often from me)? Consignment stores like Buffalo Exchange take your clothes and hand you money, which is nice. They often sell more women’s clothes than men’s, though, and may be pickier than you might expect, don’t expect to sell everything or to sell high.
    Alternatively, if you’re selling the kind of things you often see in PTO’s ebay roundups, you can consign online with an outfit like Luxeswap. They do the work for you (and do it well), but like brick and mortar consignment shops they take only what they expect they can sell.
  • Give It to Charity: With stores and donation bins all over the country, Goodwill is probably the most visible thrift chain in the country, and an easy way to get rid of usable clothing. Goodwill is a charitable organization, so they can give you a receipt for the value of your donation and you can deduct that amount from your income for tax purposes at the end of the year. According to Goodwill, most of what you donate ends up for sale in Goodwill stores (and/or on Macklemore, presumably), and the proceeds from sales go to job training programs and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. (Some clothing donation bins look like they belong to charities but instead belong to for-profit companies that sell clothing in bulk.) There’s a chance your Hilditch shirt could end up as part of an industrial rag, though. It’s the ciiiiircle of life.
    The Purple Heart Foundation helps U.S. military veterans by collecting donations, selling them, and funding training programs, assistance with applying for benefits, and direct donations. Like the rag and bone man (pictured), they pick castoffs up directly from your home (well, not everywhere). It’s good for people like me who are too lazy even to drag our stuff to Goodwill.
  • Trash It: To you, that 5K fun-run tshirt may be a pleasant reminder of mild athletic activity. To the rest of us, it’s garbage. Likewise the used boxers and mustard-stained shirts. Just chuck em. Or use them to polish your shoes.

-Pete

Q & A: Where to Shop For Men’s Clothes in San Francisco?
Chris writes from Germany: Next month, I’ll be in California for vacation and would like to get some recommendations for stores and boutiques in San Francisco that sell unique and classy clothes like the ones you cover in your blog.  I would be thrilled if you guys could offer some suggestions.
It just so happens that I’m a native of the ‘Sco, and I’d be happy to help you out.  San Francisco’s one of the best shopping cities in the world, and there are a wealth of choices.
Let’s start with new casual clothes.  The denim-only store Self Edge opened its first outlet in San Francisco some years ago.  If you’re interested in jeans, it’s probably the best store in the world.  Be aware, though, that you’ll be spending a few hundred bucks.
MAC, which stands for Modern Appealing Clothing, is probably the best store in the city for contemporary designer casual clothes.  If you’re the kind of guy who buys Maison Martin Margiela or Rick Owens, it’s a must-visit - you can find in Hayes Valley, a couple of blocks from City Hall.  Even if you’re not the designer type, it’s worth browsing.  Prices are, as you might expect, quite high.  Saks Fifth Avenue and Barney’s, both of which are off Union Square, are also great sources for that sort of thing.  Also worth checking out is Unionmade, which opened quite recently and offers authentic and “authentic” clothing for people who are really into, you know, craft and heritage and that kind of stuff.
If you’re looking for something a bit classier, there are options there, as well.  The classic is the men’s clothier Wilkes Bashford.  The owner, Wilkes, was forced to sell a year or two ago, but it was to sympathetic buyers, and he remains at the head of the operation.  It’s as luxurious a menswear store as exists in the world.  Wilkes is good friends with the former mayor (and famous dandy) Willie Brown Jr., and has outfitted him for many years.  Wilkes is, again, downtown near Union Square.
A little further downtown, you can find Cable Car Clothiers, one of the last true traditional menswear stores on the West Coast.  If you’re looking for a Sherlock Holmes hat, sold without irony, this is the place to visit.  They also sell British-made umbrellas and American-made suits and everything else that was as classic in 1945 as it was in 1965 as it was in 1985 as it is today.  Again, you won’t save money shopping here, but it’s a truly magical place.  It’s also not too far from the Alden Store, on Sutter, where they can show you the full line of Alden shoes for men.
If you’re interested in spending a little less, there are a lot of options there, as well.  I’m fond of many thrift stores in San Francisco, but I’m a little hesitant to blow up my spots.  I’ll say that the Town School Clothes Closet is full of wonderful things which are a bit overpriced, but prices come down during regular sales.  I’ve always enjoyed thrifting in the Mission, where I grew up, but if you head to the Fillmore, you’ll find more treasures.  That’s where rich people live, you see.  If you really want to get crazy, check out the Goodwill As-Is Store, South of Market, where you can literally fight people as you go through piles of clothes on long, narrow tables in what amounts to a dungeon of savings.
There’s plenty of vintage in San Francisco, as well.  I’ve been a customer at Clothes Contact, on Valencia at 16th, since they opened… 20 years ago, maybe?  I remember buying a bandleader jacket there because I thought it made me look like Michael Jackson.  (While you’re in the Mission, say hi to my friends Lan and Lino at the amazing vintage furniture and housewares store The Apartment).  La Rosa is the best of the vintage stores on Haight Street, and it’s also right nearby Amoeba Records.
It’s tough to find good men’s consignment, but Goodbyes does it better than any other store I’ve run across.  Quality goods, reasonable prices, and sometimes even helpful sales staff.  (One lady is super-mean, but mostly they’re very nice.)  You can also check out Jeremy’s, which has a stock that’s split between store liquidations and consignments.  A little pricier and often a little lower-quality, but also a little less fussy.
Hopefully that’s enough to fill your time.  
If I might offer some unsolicited tourist advice: many San Francisco tourist traps are great.  Cable cars, for example, are still cool to me.  Riding a bike in Golden Gate Park is wonderful.  Alcatraz is pretty neat, too.  Fisherman’s Wharf, though, is fucking awful.  Don’t go there.  If you do, skip everything except The Musee Mechanique, at Pier 45.

Q & A: Where to Shop For Men’s Clothes in San Francisco?

Chris writes from Germany: Next month, I’ll be in California for vacation and would like to get some recommendations for stores and boutiques in San Francisco that sell unique and classy clothes like the ones you cover in your blog.  I would be thrilled if you guys could offer some suggestions.

It just so happens that I’m a native of the ‘Sco, and I’d be happy to help you out.  San Francisco’s one of the best shopping cities in the world, and there are a wealth of choices.

Let’s start with new casual clothes.  The denim-only store Self Edge opened its first outlet in San Francisco some years ago.  If you’re interested in jeans, it’s probably the best store in the world.  Be aware, though, that you’ll be spending a few hundred bucks.

MAC, which stands for Modern Appealing Clothing, is probably the best store in the city for contemporary designer casual clothes.  If you’re the kind of guy who buys Maison Martin Margiela or Rick Owens, it’s a must-visit - you can find in Hayes Valley, a couple of blocks from City Hall.  Even if you’re not the designer type, it’s worth browsing.  Prices are, as you might expect, quite high.  Saks Fifth Avenue and Barney’s, both of which are off Union Square, are also great sources for that sort of thing.  Also worth checking out is Unionmade, which opened quite recently and offers authentic and “authentic” clothing for people who are really into, you know, craft and heritage and that kind of stuff.

If you’re looking for something a bit classier, there are options there, as well.  The classic is the men’s clothier Wilkes Bashford.  The owner, Wilkes, was forced to sell a year or two ago, but it was to sympathetic buyers, and he remains at the head of the operation.  It’s as luxurious a menswear store as exists in the world.  Wilkes is good friends with the former mayor (and famous dandy) Willie Brown Jr., and has outfitted him for many years.  Wilkes is, again, downtown near Union Square.

A little further downtown, you can find Cable Car Clothiers, one of the last true traditional menswear stores on the West Coast.  If you’re looking for a Sherlock Holmes hat, sold without irony, this is the place to visit.  They also sell British-made umbrellas and American-made suits and everything else that was as classic in 1945 as it was in 1965 as it was in 1985 as it is today.  Again, you won’t save money shopping here, but it’s a truly magical place.  It’s also not too far from the Alden Store, on Sutter, where they can show you the full line of Alden shoes for men.

If you’re interested in spending a little less, there are a lot of options there, as well.  I’m fond of many thrift stores in San Francisco, but I’m a little hesitant to blow up my spots.  I’ll say that the Town School Clothes Closet is full of wonderful things which are a bit overpriced, but prices come down during regular sales.  I’ve always enjoyed thrifting in the Mission, where I grew up, but if you head to the Fillmore, you’ll find more treasures.  That’s where rich people live, you see.  If you really want to get crazy, check out the Goodwill As-Is Store, South of Market, where you can literally fight people as you go through piles of clothes on long, narrow tables in what amounts to a dungeon of savings.

There’s plenty of vintage in San Francisco, as well.  I’ve been a customer at Clothes Contact, on Valencia at 16th, since they opened… 20 years ago, maybe?  I remember buying a bandleader jacket there because I thought it made me look like Michael Jackson.  (While you’re in the Mission, say hi to my friends Lan and Lino at the amazing vintage furniture and housewares store The Apartment).  La Rosa is the best of the vintage stores on Haight Street, and it’s also right nearby Amoeba Records.

It’s tough to find good men’s consignment, but Goodbyes does it better than any other store I’ve run across.  Quality goods, reasonable prices, and sometimes even helpful sales staff.  (One lady is super-mean, but mostly they’re very nice.)  You can also check out Jeremy’s, which has a stock that’s split between store liquidations and consignments.  A little pricier and often a little lower-quality, but also a little less fussy.

Hopefully that’s enough to fill your time. 

If I might offer some unsolicited tourist advice: many San Francisco tourist traps are great.  Cable cars, for example, are still cool to me.  Riding a bike in Golden Gate Park is wonderful.  Alcatraz is pretty neat, too.  Fisherman’s Wharf, though, is fucking awful.  Don’t go there.  If you do, skip everything except The Musee Mechanique, at Pier 45.