There’s a thriving industry in vintage clothing for women. From Salvation Army thrift shops to fancier affairs, every city I’ve lived in or visited has a healthy supply of used clothing for sale. The main appeal of these shops are the sartorial rarities and bargains to be had. Even if you’re not a 17-year-old raver chick after cargo pants and trucker hats, there are usually lots of options.
Not so for us men. In Vancouver, used clothing stores for men are few and far between. There’s the reliable Deluxe Junk, (with a surprisingly fancy website) and a couple of other places, but I could count them all on both hands, with fingers to spare. I’m surprised at this. To lean on a stereotype for a moment, I would guess that Vancouver would, with it’s high population of gay men, have a surplus of male vintage clothing shoppers. How many such shops can there be in, say, Regina?
Why this gender gap? Obviously, women shop more than men. There are more shops for women than shops for men. Also, shopping for vintage clothing takes more thought and effort than visiting the Gap. The shops are in peculiar locations, they may not have your size and you have to evaluate the condition of potential purchases. This scares the average man, who can’t reliably purchase the correct hue or style of (non-vintage) socks.
I don’t shop very much, but if there were more men’s vintage stores around, I’d frequent them. Why? Because I’m less likely to own the same shirt as 8000 other Vancouverites. Also, the clothes are less likely to have been made in some Third World sweatshop.