I don't understand how antique stores and consignment shops are so underrated.
I frequently take Granny to Goodwill and Salvation Army so she can have some fun finding clothes that probably won't fit her (how many grown up things can you have at a thrift store that fit a 4'9" tiny Asian?) and I always notice the smell. It's the smell that gets me first and it's always that same smell in every thrift store, whether I'm in a warehouse in Queens collecting designer jackets and shirts off of the floor or in a neatly organized Goodwill in Connecticut looking for an ugly Christmas sweater for an upcoming party. How do I describe it...? Stale, eye-wincing and possibly a quick crinkle of the eyebrows. It's a manageable scent, but still an odor nonetheless. I don't know Goodwill or Salvy's process is in receiving donations (from the trash bag to the hanger? I know they don't dryclean), but I think that is just one of the reasons why I don't purchase at thrift stores a lot. However, I do donate to them frequently so don't judge. If you're a female and you've shopped at Goodwill in Bristol, you probably have something of mine in your closet right now.
Consignment shops are different. They don't take L.L. Bean sweaters from '93 with holes in them or dresses with stains. Consignment shops (good ones, anyway) value high quality, well-known brands and attire and often have fabulous vintage collections.
I bring this up today because I'm about to send it several things to Doubletakes in Canton which happens to be a personal favorite of me, my sister and my mother. I like shopping there because there's no smell and I can trust that the clothes aren't going to have holes, stains or stray hairs with questionable orientations. Doubletakes demands that clothes need to be cleaned, pressed and delivered on hangers because, dammit, this is a place likes nice things.
While their website is a little hokey for my personal taste, the shop is great. I always find something there whenever I visit and it's often jewelry. This is probably because I already own my own D+B purse -- they have a great selection of designer purses, from Coach, to Brighton, and of course, Dooney and Bourke. If you've ever seen me with that brown, slouchy bags lined with studs, that is my sister's old Kooba bag and they sell Kooba products at Doubletakes too!
Antique stores may also have the smell at times but they offer great products too. The name escapes me (please remind me if you know) but my mother and I stopped by a brick building in Canton that had great antique/vintage fashion pieces and creaky, narrow stairs. Mom picked up a beautiful vintage leopard print purse from the 60's with a chain shoulder strap! Had I the money, I would have purchased it.
I like antique stores because I enjoy having pieces in my wardrobe that I don't see terribly frequently on other people. I got my leopard print faux fur coat at Charlotte's Web in Salem -- after peer pressure from my roommate's mother -- and my senior prom dress was from an antique store on Long Beach. (Something with a wizard? That was the name of it.)
So like I said, these are great places to shop. I'm about to send in some clothes to Doubletakes because for the past week I've been packing for senior year and cleaning out my closet at the same time. Closet organization will be for another time.