I like quality, name brand, fashionable clothes. The problem is they are way too expensive for my tiny budget. For years, I spent time walking the luxury shops of Fifth Avenue in New York City with my nose pressed against the windows of stores like Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Bergdorf Goodman, and Paul Smith.
I was lucky if I was able to make one or two luxury purchases per year. I would spend months saving and saving, only to spend the day prowling 5th Avenue for an off price pair of pants or a shirt that was on sale because a button was missing.
Still, after a few years, I was able to build up a wardrobe of 5th Avenue luxury clothing. One day at lunch, I started talking to a colleague of mine whose clothes seemed to come straight from the catwalk. How did he do it? We made similar salaries, so I knew he wasn't spending thousands on clothing. I though, "maybe he was a trust fund baby?"
At first, he was hesitant to kiss and tell. I had to reassure him that I wasn't going to think any less of him, regardless of where he got his fashion week style clothing.
After pleading and prodding, he just blurted it out. "EBAY", he said flatly. Immediately, I understood why he wouldn't want this to get around the office. He was known among the young secretaries as a fancy dresser, and he basked in the female attention.
I was in utter disbelief. "Who would want to buy clothing that was worn by somebody else?" I asked him. "It's probably some dead guy's clothes and his family is getting rid of it on EBay."
He was unscathed, although he did concede that he felt a bit peculiar wearing a stranger's clothing for the first time. He had a routine. "I open up the package, take the clothes out, and immediately drop it into a bucket of boiling water mixed with OxiClean." After letting the garment disinfect for a few days, he felt it his own.
Fast forward a few years, and I've perfected the system. My closet is now filled with the likes of Lord & Taylor, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Faconnable, and Salvatore Ferragamo.
As I said in the video, I don't recommend buying suits on EBay unless you're certain the seller knows how to measure correctly. While I still enjoy window shopping in New York City, there's nothing sweeter than buying Fifth Avenue clothes for 90% off retail.
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