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Today I took the bus over to The Garment District, one of the locations on my Boston Thrift Stores list.  It’s a massive store in Cambridge, easily identified by a bright pink band of paint around the outside.  They market themselves as an “Alternative Department Store”, and I was most excited for their ‘by the pound’ section…$1.50 per pound of clothing (!!!!!). When I got there just a few minutes before, there were already some shoppers waiting for the doors to open.

The store is truly massive.  It’s split into four major sections, on the first floor there is the ‘by the pound’ section spread out on the floor, a sell/trade section where you can sell your clothing to them, and a costume section.  Upstairs is a massive thrift store set up very much like a department store with circular racks all impeccably and almost obsessively organized.

The by the pound area is awesome.  They spread out hundreds of pounds of clothing on the floor and you can literally walk all over them, throw them around, sit down in them while you sort…anything you want!  I spent over an hour sorting through piles and piles of clothing.  They also have bins of some of the most random stuff I’ve ever seen and a bin of shoes.  At the register is a big box of plastic bags for you to stuff your finds into.

When you’re ready to check out, the register is just behind you.  You place your finds on a giant scale and scream with delight as you pay next to nothing.

Here are some pictures of the upstairs thrift store area.

I have to say, I was blown away by the by the pound section.  The upstairs store is too expensive for me (I just can’t justify paying $12 for a Forever 21 skirt) but has everything you could ever want.  They had some really cool hockey jerseys for $20 or so, which would be a great score for a christmas present for The Boyfriend.  Their vintage section is especially amazing.  If you don’t feel like sorting through piles of clothing then I guess you’re paying for convenience, which is fine!

Key Elements

Changing Rooms: Upstairs, yes. Downstairs, no.
Bathrooms: Yes
Credit cards: Accepted
Hold your bags: No
Sale sections: Yes (75% off redline items upstairs)
Parking: some street
Public Transportation: I took the 1 bus and it dropped me off about a half mile away
Address:
200 Broadway
Cambridge, MA
02139
Hours: Su-Fr 11am to 8pm, Sa 9am to 8pm (by the pound is Su-Th 11am to 8pm, Fr 11am to 6pm, Sa 9am to 8pm)

Tips for Shopping at The Garment District

  • Thanks to Erin at A Wife of Material, I knew that the downstairs area didn’t have fitting rooms and she recommended wearing something tight fitting if you want to try anything on.  I second this recommendation. I wore leggings, a t-shirt, and flats.  I would avoid jeans and boots since they make bending over and wading through clothes difficult.
  • Get there early.  There were already some people waiting when I got there 10 minutes before they opened, on a Wednesday.  I can imagine it getting crazy in there on a Friday or Saturday.
  • Don’t bring a purse.  Mine was just in my way and I actually ended up setting it in a corner.  Just bring some cash.
  • Use the plastic bags at the register.  They’ll make your life much easier.

Recommend?

YES!  Although I would suggest experienced thrifters for the by the pound section as it could potentially be overwhelming or discouraging.

My Garment District Finds

Marc by Marc Jacobs White Voile Ruffle Front Blouse (here): retails for $178

Inhabit Mid-Grey Cashmere Button Front Vest (here): retails for $242

very cool details on the back

Vintage Pendleton Wool Casual Jacket (similar here) A tricky shape and color but it’s so adorable on: retails for $158

And last and definitely least, an H&M black camisole that I’ve been desperately needing: retails for $8

I can’t remember exactly how much it all weighed, but I think it was 1.6 pounds.  That made…

My total: $2.10
Retail total: $586
Savings: $583.9, or 99.6%

Sigh.  What a great day.

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