By Stephanie Huang ‘16Fashion Columnist
With three locations, one in downtown Manhattan and two in Brooklyn, the widely acclaimed and somewhat glorified Beacon’s Closet has long been the Holy Grail of thrifting in New York. I was lucky enough to visit the main location in Williamsburg this past October and get a taste of thrifting, East-Coast style.
In terms of area, the Williamsburg Beacon’s closet is most likely double or triple the size of Wasteland, what I would call the closest L.A. equivalent of Beacon’s Closet. For those of you who are familiar with the thrift shops in Claremont, the Williamsburg location probably had as much stuff as all the thrift stores in The Village combined.
Due to its size, I’d say a thorough dig through the warehouse-like store is most definitely a cultural experience that requires effort and time. With barely any space to squeeze past, it will take over an hour to browse through the color-coordinated racks of clothing, grouped by article.
What I particularly liked about the store was its wide variety of items, from vintage, to high-end, to the occasional “What is this used Urban Outfitters top doing here for $12?” While I’m a fan of only a margin of the styles presented in the racks, Beacon’s Closet caters to a wide repertoire of its predominantly-Brooklynite audience.
I, personally, was able to find the comfiest Raiders sweatshirt (in my defense, it was the ideal shade of worn-out black and super-soft) for around ten bucks, as well as a pair of dl1961 designer pants that typically retail for nearly $300 for $35. Finding high-end pieces in your size for a steal is probably the highlight of Beacon’s closet, for me.
While the one to two hours I spent there only produced two purchases, I found the shopping experience to be a calming and entertaining escape. I would like to note, though, that I went on a Monday morning around opening time, which would explain the lack of people that I had to deal with. Many people do complain about the over-abundance of eager shoppers, the unfriendly staff, prices, and the overwhelming amount of clothing, but I’d say if you’re patient and go at a good time, you are bound to enjoy your time there.
That being said, prices at Beacon’s Closet do not always make the most logical sense (why pay $25 for a men’s brandless sweater with a giant hole in the elbow?), but I think the prices for thrift-store items has increased overall in the last half-decade. Thanks for that, Macklemore.
Ultimately, I’d say my final verdict is a yes to Beacon’s Closet, because even if you don’t manage to find anything, you now have a reason to explore the rest of Williamsburg and its perfect little coffee shops.