We encounter many people who just “get” the message of ThriftStyle. Charles Moriarty, of Port Chester, NY, is one of them.
We ran into Moriarty, 67, as he accompanied his friend, writer Sally Olds, to the awards ceremony in New York City held by the American Society of Journalists and Authors on May 18. (He’s shown above with ThriftStyle co-author Reise Moore.)
ThriftStylewon this year’s award for best “how-to” book. At the ceremony’s end, a very dapper Moriarty wanted us to know that everything he was wearing that night was thrifted, right down to the genuine gold and stone cuff links he scored for a mere $6.
Moriarty became a thrifter 11 years ago, while he was sorting his closet following the death of his wife. “I realized that most of my shirts were worn,” he recalled. “I didn’t want to spend top dollar to replace them, so I started investigating thrift stores.”
His mother, who raised five children after her husband died when Moriarty was just three years old, had taught the family how to economize.
Now working as a real estate appraiser for a bank, Moriarty tries to fit in weekly thrift shopping, just to check what’s available. If he finds something he likes but isn’t in desperate need to acquire, he’ll wait until the thrift store’s special promotion days roll around. He’s a particular fan of Salvation Army’s color-coded days that can drop prices by 50 percent.
“You have to learn not to buy,” he said of the bountiful offerings shoppers find in resale shops. “Even if something fits perfectly, if I have a blue blazer already, I’m not going to buy another one.”
On Friday, Moriarty was wearing a handsome Tommy Hilfiger blue suit that looked like it was custom tailored for him. His white shirt, with French cuffs, was thrifted, as was his tie, pocket square and shoes. (He draws the line at thrifted undergarments.)
One of his best scores was a pristine London Fog trench coat with liner that he bought in a Bronx thrift shop for $12 two years ago.
At another New York thrift store, he bought a large cut crystal vase for $24, filled it with clementines, and gave it as a hostess gift for Thanksgiving. “We’ve been invited ever since!” he laughed with Olds. “That goblet was supersized and in 100 percent condition. A fabulous gift that she loved!”
He follows strict precautions with his purchases. He puts newly purchased items in large plastic zip bags and has them professionally dry cleaned before he puts them in his closet. For shoes and leather jackets, he places them in his car trunk for 100 hours from June through September to kill any possible bugs. For ties and pocket squares, he puts them in heavy-duty plastic zip bags with mothballs for 100 hours, removes them and hangs them outside the house to air out any chemical smell.
“I’ve never had a problem with anything I’ve bought and my wardrobe now is 100 percent thrifted,” he said. “It’s the only way I shop.”