In the world of used clothing, there’s thrift, there’s designer-discount, and there’s vintage bullshit. Because I interpret the term “cheap” to mean low-cost and not sleazy, I recently visited Cheap Jack’s Vintage Clothing and should have bolted after perusing a rack of $30 t-shirts. If the tees had been outstanding in some capacity, I might have been open to the idea of spending thirty bucks on something someone had already pit-stained. But these were standard, pilling, beat-up thrift store tees – worth eight bucks, max. I wondered, was the rest of the stuff priced in the same deluded fashion?
Vintage clothing enthusiasts probs applaud Cheap Jack’s for organizing their wares according to decade, and that’s all well and good. The problemo with real vintage isn’t just that it gives its distributors the excuse to charge more based on an article of clothing’s age and history – oooh this mod minidress was actually worn by a Studio 54 regular in 1979, oooh I don’t give a shit – it’s that fit and fabric have come a long way since the 1950s. So more often than not, you’re paying $150 for something that feels like fucking sandpaper.
Now, Cheap Jack’s had a bunch o’ signs up banning photographing the clothes, probs because they want to keep the fugliness of their overpriced vintage bullshit under wraps, otherwise I’d furnish you with evidence of the offending wares. Thankfully, their online store exemplifies the serious disparity in style and cost. This shapeless, vomit – oops, I mean mustard – colored houndstooth combo can be had for the bargain price of…$175. I suppose the fur trim necessitates the cost, as Cheap Jack’s claims it’s mink. To me, it looks like someone hacked up a squirrel and stuck it on a scarf. Next please.
The nautical look is In every summer. An actual sailor dress – made even sillier by the polka dot bowtie and gold buttons – is not. Especially when it’s $120 and previously worn. Aye NO, Captain. Lastly, we have this Bruce Springsteen Born to Run Shirt from the Born In the U.S.A. tour, circa 1984 with “screen stars still in tact,” whatever the fuck that means. If you’re enough of a Bruce fan to even understand the tee’s appeal, I ask you this – would a true fan spend $165 to see him in concert, or $165 to wear him emblazoned on their chest?
All this is not to say that this sorry excuse for a thrifty shopping experience isn’t, in fact, cheap. Using a name to mislead customers might not be low-cost, but it’s certainly sleazy and tacky. So in a way, Cheap Jack’s stays true to its signage. Just not in the way one might have hoped.