Here’s a trick for you. 
As you know, one of worst things you can do to your shoes is shove your foot into them without a shoehorn. Doing so will ruin the heel counter.
Now, when you’re at home, you likely have a shoehorn. If you don’t, you can buy one of these beautiful Abbeyhorns from Leffot (which you can see being made here). If you think those are too expensive, here is a metal one for less than $5. 
But what to do if you’re out of the house? Say your friend has a no-shoe policy at his apartment and doesn’t oxhorn shoehorns ready for you to use. My trick is to take a credit card or driver’s license, and use it as a makeshift shoehorn. Just insert it in the back as you normally would, and your foot should slip right in. 
Now you won’t have to carry a spare shoehorn in your pocket whenever you visit Asian people.
(Editor’s note - Derek is Vietnamese-American and you shouldn’t read any negative connotations into that last sentence. Also, I can’t believe I actually have to write this. - JT)
(Hi everyone, I’m sincerely sorry if the joke came off flat. I’m Vietnamese-American, and was just poking fun at my own culture. Didn’t mean to Galliano myself. Apologies to anyone offended - Derek)

Here’s a trick for you. 

As you know, one of worst things you can do to your shoes is shove your foot into them without a shoehorn. Doing so will ruin the heel counter.

Now, when you’re at home, you likely have a shoehorn. If you don’t, you can buy one of these beautiful Abbeyhorns from Leffot (which you can see being made here). If you think those are too expensive, here is a metal one for less than $5

But what to do if you’re out of the house? Say your friend has a no-shoe policy at his apartment and doesn’t oxhorn shoehorns ready for you to use. My trick is to take a credit card or driver’s license, and use it as a makeshift shoehorn. Just insert it in the back as you normally would, and your foot should slip right in. 

Now you won’t have to carry a spare shoehorn in your pocket whenever you visit Asian people.

(Editor’s note - Derek is Vietnamese-American and you shouldn’t read any negative connotations into that last sentence. Also, I can’t believe I actually have to write this. - JT)

(Hi everyone, I’m sincerely sorry if the joke came off flat. I’m Vietnamese-American, and was just poking fun at my own culture. Didn’t mean to Galliano myself. Apologies to anyone offended - Derek)

As long as I’m offering thrifting pro tips, here’s another: watch out for licensed goods and diffusion lines.
Beginning with Pierre Cardin in the 1970s, and continuing through the 90s, many luxury brands licensed their names to lower-end manufacturers, and particularly menswear manufacturers. This allowed them to profit from their name recognition without having to run a complicated mass-market clothing business. Ultimately, though, it dramatically devalued these brands in the eyes of consumers.
One of the great innovations of the LVMH empire was new strategies in protecting these brands. Most luxury goods makers now offer “diffusion lines,” which are associated with the brand name but not identical. Think of Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Polo, Lauren and Chaps, for example. Lauren is a licensed, low-end brand. Chaps was sold off completely years ago and no longer even says Ralph Lauren on it. Each brand represents a different level of quality, and they’re all tightly controlled by the mothership. Ralph Lauren even has a line without its name on it - American Living - made just for a low end department store.
Bearing these arrangements in mind is essential when thrifting. Novice thrifters often crow about hauls like the one above, which unfortunately is nothing to crow about. In the 1970s and 80s, brands like Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Lanvin, Givenchy, and Yves Saint Laurent focused on high-end womens clothing, licensing their name to lousy menswear manufacturers who dragged them through the mud. If you find a find a piece with one of these brand names, give yourself a reality check. Is it really a quality piece?
Many of these brands have, over the last ten years or so, gotten their menswear acts together. The good stuff, though, remain extremely rare on thrift store racks. In my years of thrifting, I’ve found only one piece by those brands that was of worthwhile quality - a Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche blazer from the mid-2000s. It was beautiful, and the quality was apparent when I touched it. I’ve seen literally thousands of pieces by the brands I ennumerated that were utter crap.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to consider diffusion lines, as well. Ermenegildo Zegna Su Misura is one of the finest ready to wear clothing lines in the world. Z Zegna is a line you might consider buying if you found a suit on discount for $300. Lauren is a Mervyn’s brand, and Ralph Lauren Purple Label is worth the trip to Saks or Barney’s. It’s always important to do a reality check before you buy.
You’ve been warned.

As long as I’m offering thrifting pro tips, here’s another: watch out for licensed goods and diffusion lines.

Beginning with Pierre Cardin in the 1970s, and continuing through the 90s, many luxury brands licensed their names to lower-end manufacturers, and particularly menswear manufacturers. This allowed them to profit from their name recognition without having to run a complicated mass-market clothing business. Ultimately, though, it dramatically devalued these brands in the eyes of consumers.

One of the great innovations of the LVMH empire was new strategies in protecting these brands. Most luxury goods makers now offer “diffusion lines,” which are associated with the brand name but not identical. Think of Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Polo, Lauren and Chaps, for example. Lauren is a licensed, low-end brand. Chaps was sold off completely years ago and no longer even says Ralph Lauren on it. Each brand represents a different level of quality, and they’re all tightly controlled by the mothership. Ralph Lauren even has a line without its name on it - American Living - made just for a low end department store.

Bearing these arrangements in mind is essential when thrifting. Novice thrifters often crow about hauls like the one above, which unfortunately is nothing to crow about. In the 1970s and 80s, brands like Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Lanvin, Givenchy, and Yves Saint Laurent focused on high-end womens clothing, licensing their name to lousy menswear manufacturers who dragged them through the mud. If you find a find a piece with one of these brand names, give yourself a reality check. Is it really a quality piece?

Many of these brands have, over the last ten years or so, gotten their menswear acts together. The good stuff, though, remain extremely rare on thrift store racks. In my years of thrifting, I’ve found only one piece by those brands that was of worthwhile quality - a Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche blazer from the mid-2000s. It was beautiful, and the quality was apparent when I touched it. I’ve seen literally thousands of pieces by the brands I ennumerated that were utter crap.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to consider diffusion lines, as well. Ermenegildo Zegna Su Misura is one of the finest ready to wear clothing lines in the world. Z Zegna is a line you might consider buying if you found a suit on discount for $300. Lauren is a Mervyn’s brand, and Ralph Lauren Purple Label is worth the trip to Saks or Barney’s. It’s always important to do a reality check before you buy.

You’ve been warned.

Here’s a thrifting tip - that works at regular stores, too.
One sign of a high-quality dress shirt is natural buttons. Plastic buttons are cheaper and more durable than mother of pearl, but they lack the natural pearlescent sheen of the Real Deal. The difference is marginal, but it’s one way a fine shirtmaker distinguishes his product.
If you’re not experienced at spotting natural buttons, there’s an easy way to test. Grab a sleeve, and touch the cuff button to the top of your upper lip. at the bottom of your philtrum. (I use this spot because putting it on the part of my lip I use to eat is kind of gross.)
Natural buttons are more conductive to heat than plastic ones, and will feel cold against your lip. The difference is marked, and easy to feel.
The real trick, of course: explaining to store clerks why you keep eating sleeve buttons.

Here’s a thrifting tip - that works at regular stores, too.

One sign of a high-quality dress shirt is natural buttons. Plastic buttons are cheaper and more durable than mother of pearl, but they lack the natural pearlescent sheen of the Real Deal. The difference is marginal, but it’s one way a fine shirtmaker distinguishes his product.

If you’re not experienced at spotting natural buttons, there’s an easy way to test. Grab a sleeve, and touch the cuff button to the top of your upper lip. at the bottom of your philtrum. (I use this spot because putting it on the part of my lip I use to eat is kind of gross.)

Natural buttons are more conductive to heat than plastic ones, and will feel cold against your lip. The difference is marked, and easy to feel.

The real trick, of course: explaining to store clerks why you keep eating sleeve buttons.

Tips and Tricks
If you don’t have the money for a fancy watch, but you’re still looking for something with a little more style than the average $60 watch from Macy’s, there’s a simple solution.
Start with a simple watch.  If you prefer not to wind your watch, you can use the Timex Easy Reader, a battery-powered watch with a lovely face (I prefer the model without the clutter of day and date).  If you want to wear a piece of horological engineering on your wrist, you can start with a plain, inexpensive mid-20th-century watch from Ebay.  Brands like Oris and Hamilton (or even Soviet Russian watches) don’t have much value to collectors but have made solid, aesthetically simple watches you can buy for $50 or $100 on Ebay with ease (or $25 with some looking).
Have a jeweler remove the band for you, but leave the posts.  Any jeweler or watch repairman can do this, and they’ll charge you $2 if anything.
Replace the band with a ribbon band, running it over the post, behind the face of the watch, then over the other post.  You can choose a selection of colors here - five for thirty bucks.  Those are nylon, which are a little less refined than the traditional silk grosgrain, but it’s also extremely durable and even washable.
With a solid olive or navy-and-gray band, your watch is ready for turf warfare.  With a red white and blue band, it’s ready for a summer picnic.  Solid navy or black and it’s comfortable with a suit.

Tips and Tricks

If you don’t have the money for a fancy watch, but you’re still looking for something with a little more style than the average $60 watch from Macy’s, there’s a simple solution.

Start with a simple watch.  If you prefer not to wind your watch, you can use the Timex Easy Reader, a battery-powered watch with a lovely face (I prefer the model without the clutter of day and date).  If you want to wear a piece of horological engineering on your wrist, you can start with a plain, inexpensive mid-20th-century watch from Ebay.  Brands like Oris and Hamilton (or even Soviet Russian watches) don’t have much value to collectors but have made solid, aesthetically simple watches you can buy for $50 or $100 on Ebay with ease (or $25 with some looking).

Have a jeweler remove the band for you, but leave the posts.  Any jeweler or watch repairman can do this, and they’ll charge you $2 if anything.

Replace the band with a ribbon band, running it over the post, behind the face of the watch, then over the other post.  You can choose a selection of colors here - five for thirty bucks.  Those are nylon, which are a little less refined than the traditional silk grosgrain, but it’s also extremely durable and even washable.

With a solid olive or navy-and-gray band, your watch is ready for turf warfare.  With a red white and blue band, it’s ready for a summer picnic.  Solid navy or black and it’s comfortable with a suit.

Tips and Tricks
If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to high-end slim jeans, the Levis 514 is a great option, and they’re only $30 or so.  The cut is flattering and contemporary, and while they’re not available raw, the “tumbled rigid” finish is an acceptable substitute.  The rise is low - that’s the distance between the crotch and waistband - so they’re not the best for tucking a shirt into or hiding a little gut, but they look great with a t-shirt.  And of course, if you happen to have beautiful luxury sneakers like the ones pictured above, all the better…

Tips and Tricks

If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to high-end slim jeans, the Levis 514 is a great option, and they’re only $30 or so.  The cut is flattering and contemporary, and while they’re not available raw, the “tumbled rigid” finish is an acceptable substitute.  The rise is low - that’s the distance between the crotch and waistband - so they’re not the best for tucking a shirt into or hiding a little gut, but they look great with a t-shirt.  And of course, if you happen to have beautiful luxury sneakers like the ones pictured above, all the better…