Before our little trip to Boston yesterday, Eunice made a list of several thrift/vintage stores she wanted to go to. Of course, we only ended up actually going to one out of four, the Garment District. (We took the commuter rail into the city by ourselves, so my parents didn't want us to stay too long. We still hit Newbury St., and found it surprisingly uncrowded [there was almost no dressing room line at H&M—unheard of!]. Then we took the T to Kendall Square, which is near the Garment District.)
The Garment District describes itself as an "alternative department store", which is a pretty fitting description. It is a vintage store, thrift store, costume shop, and new clothes store (is there a better way to say that?) over two spacious floors. When you walk in, to the right you see the costume store and to the left you see the famous "dollar-a-pound" section. This is just what it sounds like—everything costs a dollar a pound. It is a considerably sized area piled high with clothes, many of them broken and worthless, but as you walk across the squishy "carpet" and dig through there are always some treasures to be found, though this time Eunice and I didn't have time to brave this section. There are also bins of shoes and bags, where Eunice found a pair of Ferragamo flats last trip!
Upstairs, there is a dizzying array of clothing. It seems to make sense to start in the right side of the store, which has the least overwhelming section of new clothing, tights, and various accessories. In my opinion the non-preowned clothing section is not particularly exciting—the typical-looking t-shirts, blouses, etc.), so I moved on into the main thrift section, which is huge but well-organized by color and style (there is also a smaller designer section, where there is some big, weird-looking Christian Dior to be had for $22). Since I just skimmed through this slightly overwhelming section, I found nothing that I wanted to buy, but a thorough combing would probably turn up some great finds.
In the shoe section, they have a great mix of preowned (used-car-salesman) shoes mixed with various shoes which were probably purchased wholesale from a costume supplier, or something. I ended up finding a men's size 6.5 pair of white patent leather oxfords (I would have preferred dove gray but they didn't have it in my size) which were only $18! Of course they could potentially be a little cheap looking but styled correctly.... Otherwise is was hard to find my size.
I finally ventured through a doorway into the vintage section, which fills another large room. It is organized in racks by date (60s, 70-80s, vintage [I guess that means they couldn't identify what decade it's from?]), style, and color. There is a vast selection of dresses, suits, pants, shirts, skirts, lingerie... just about everything. Eunice had a field day trying on the vintage nightgowns, but typically she didn't end up buying anything. It seems to me that it is advantageous when shopping at vintage/thrift stores to be of a size around 10 or so because that seems to be the size one comes across most often, but then again if I was a size 10 I probably would think it was more advantageous to be perhaps a 2, or a 14. Anyway, nothing that I liked would have fit me without considerable alterations which I honestly can't bother with right now.
In conclusion, the Garment District is a wonderful place to shop in you ever happen to be in Boston (or more precisely Cambridge, home of MIT and Harvard...) and have a lot of time on your hands. There is a vast selection of interesting, quite affordably priced items but the store is vast so you'll have to be thorough in your shopping.