Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thrifter's Paradise: Where to Buy a Bag of Clothes for $25 in NYC

Back in July I posted about Housing Works' Buy the Bag Sale. For a mere $25 you get a large brown paper bag to stuff with clothes and accessories from their thrift warehouse in Long Island City, Queens.

I went back in August and thought it was well worth the early morning trek to Queens. My only regret is not taking pictures of the scene. I had never seen anything like it before... thrifters everywhere... 6 foot tall bins of clothing stuffed and spilling out onto floors... everyone looked so focused, determined and consumed by the hunt for treasured pieces. Many of these people were experts. I was an amateur and this was my first time going to the warehouse sale, but I think I did quite well. 

Among the dozen or so items that I brought home were this amazing distressed leather briefcase and leather belt I wore on Fashion's Night Out(pictured below)

I also got a floral duffel bag, a fuschia coat from Bergdoff Goodman, a cardigan from Lord & Taylor and two super cute dresses. All for $25!!!!!
If you weren't in attendance, you certainly missed out on some goodies, but there is still hope! Housing Works' Buy the Bag is coming up again (click here for more dates). By shopping at this event and their thrift stores throughout NYC, your money is directly contributing towards Housing Works' mission of ending the twin crises of homelessness and AIDS.

my tips+ what to expect...
  1. Bring a friend; do not go alone the 1st time. I can almost guarantee you will be overwhelmed if you do. 
  2. There is no public bathroom so make sure to take care of that beforehand. Otherwise you may have to leave and go to the gas station down the street (they will allow you to re-enter) 
  3. Eat beforehand or bring breakfast/coffee and enjoy while you wait on the line for entry. You are not going to want to eat while inside and I don't think it's allowed either.
  4. Bring a sturdy reusable tote bag to take your finds home in... paper bags are bound to break
  5. Talk to the people on line with you and shopping around you- a lot are expert shoppers chock full of advice on thrifting, deals and shopping in general.
  6. Dress comfortably; leggings and a tunic might be an ideal outfit here.
  7. Expect to compete with others if you want handbags.
  8. Do not wear flip-flops or any shoes that can fall off. 
  9. Wear a cross body bag or a pouch so your hands are free.
  10. Who cares if you can pack 50 items in your bag... go for Quality over Quantity!


  1. I love your FNO look! You got some great thrifted pieces. Sounded like quite an experience.


  2. I love your outfit!

  3. So jealous!! wish i lived in NYC!!! BTW love your hair!! and your style!!
    XOXO, Maria ♥

  4. This is great advice, thank you Helene! I just moved close to Long Island City and didn't even know about this event. I can't wait to go to the next one, maybe I'll see you there! :) Love your outfit!

  5. Thanks Sarah! Yea it really is a great event! I have gone twice already and have gotten a ton of items for such a great price. I may go December 10- if you see me definitely come say hi :)

  6. Fab Fab Fab outfit!! Love the way you put everything together here and the briefcase is oh so fab! I'm waiting for my invite to the next Buy The Bag event. oh and Hey Jamar!!!lol

  7. Thanks... I will be selling vintage clothing checkout my other blog,

  8. Love this outfit Helen, it looks so stylish!

  9. OMGoodness!! I cannot believe I didn't know about this! Thanks so much for sharing! And those tips are priceless!

  10. Thanks ladies! This is such a fun event!


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