I’ll be 27 later this summer. 27 is a good age. I finally feel old enough for most of HBO’s programming, but still young to clean off a bag of Lays while I watch it. That said, these past few years have certainly led me to acknowledge the limitations that come with every new birthday. There are quite a few things that I can’t, shouldn’t, or won’t, do anymore: I can’t drink vodka coolers, I shouldn’t watch more than one show on the CW, and I won’t spontaneously crash at a friends house without first ensuring that I have pajamas, face wash, contact solution, and a decent place to sleep, lest my neck issues flare up (that sort of negates the “spontaneous” part, huh?). The How I Met Your Mother team aptly explains this concept as a Murtaugh list. Over the weekend, I very nearly added another item to the list – I can’t shop at Plato’s Closet anymore – but today’s look kept that item off the list for a little while longer.
Even heard of Plato’s Closet, friends? It’s the next big thing in thrift stores for the tween, teen, and college kid crowd. Actually, the people at Plato’s likely wouldn’t take kindly to me calling it a thrift store. I can’t find the t-word anywhere on their website. Why? Because Plato’s Closet caters to people that think thrift stores are icky. Instead, I can find these words many times over: “Brand-name! Trendy! Hip!”
While it won’t identify itself as a thrift store, Plato’s Closet is really just a half consignment, half second-hand store. If you want to sell some clothing, they’ll pay you for it, but only if it fits within their modus operandi: It’s got to be cheap and trendy. That means their racks are comprised almost-exclusively of Forever 21 and Urban Behaviour. Plato’s Closet is a store that only exists because of our insane fast-fashion industry. While it’s sad that we’re so addicted to cheap, flimsy pieces that we need a whole new store for them, I think Plato’s existence is a positive thing. At the very least, it slows down the fast-fashion industry, and extends the life of all those bargain blouses. That’s good.
NOW, back to the original point of this post: Seeing as I’m a few years outside of the Forever 21 demographic, I’m a few years outside of Plato’s demo as well. If I were still 22, I’d have eaten up all their sheer crop tops and sparkly minis, (and maybe I wouldn’t hate the Taylor Swift song so much? Eh, I’d probably still hate it) but that’s not what my closet needs these days. Thusly, shopping at Plato’s closet called upon all of my discernment skills. I skipped over anything with an XXI label, and tried to find something appropriate for a girl of nearly 27 years. After nearly an hour in and out of the change rooms, I’d amassed a large pile of H&M and Express rejects, and was confident Plato’s was headed to the Murtaugh list. I took one final look around the store, and at last I found good piece from a quality label: this Max Studio dress, with its original $148 price tag still attached. I purchased it for $24, and left quite pleased. My Murtaugh list would remain unchanged.
Conclusion? There is gold to be mined at Plato’s, so long as I shop with patience and pickiness. And that, ironically, is exactly how I shop at every other t-word store.