How to Score a Kick-Ass [Cheap] Wardrobe

by J. Money - Published August 22, 2014

new cheap wardrobe - plato's closet

Okay, so wow. I have a new store crush: Plato’s Closet

I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of them before (their site claims they’re “the fastest growing retail franchise in North America” so people seem to love them!) but regardless I hit one up for the first time in 10 years and damn was I pleasantly surprised. High quality clothes for a fraction of the price!! For both men and women too.

I highly advise you checking them out, or a similar store like it. It’s like combining the best parts of yard sales, thrift stores, and fashion all in one, haha… “Gently” used quality clothes (though most I saw were brand new) that are hand selected for you, super cheap, and nicely organized in one spot that’s open every day of the week. It’s as if these places were built for people like us :)

And now, I (finally) have a new wardrobe. All for under $150!

Remember my new goal this week of spending time on personal stuff? Well, this is the first (great) example of how important it can be. For the first time in years I have some new clothes after all my minimalism bitching. Which means no more holey shorts and faded shirts, unless I buy them that way on purpose! (I’m looking at you mom) Next up is trashing everything that’s falling apart and donating or selling the rest to keep the “one in, one out” rule going. A key component to minimalism.

And the 2nd best part about Plato’s Closet? You can SELL all your decent clothes to them too! (I swear this is not an ad for them, haha…). You better believe I’m gonna try this out the next time I hit ’em up. Though I can’t imagine earning *too* much if their prices are already rock bottom?

Anyways, here’s everything we got…

We’ll start with the t-shirt deals:

t-shirt scores platos closet

A total of 9 shirts for $57.00 (OMG). I’m a t-shirt and jeans type guy, so this place is like a mecca for me. Each of these shirts range from $5.00-$7.00, and as you can see there’s some good brands up in there. Well, at least if you like the skater/surfer/rocker type fashion ;) I also threw in the obligatory “keep calm and carry on” shirt only to be worn inside my house, haha… I love that phrase, but damn is it oversaturated everywhere now!

I also came across a TON of Polo, Express, J. Crew, Marc Ecko, True Religion (!!!), Ed Hardy (hah! another old trend), as well as a handful of other brands I can’t recall at this second. Either way, they were all incredibly cheap and I didn’t even touch the dress shirts or polo shirts or even hoodies!

The bargain shorts I got:

cheap shorts scores - platos closet
A total of 3 shorts for $34.00. Ranging from $8.00 to $14.00, including a pair from J. Crew! The only one I’m not sure of is that metro-sexual one on the left ;) My wife almost spit out her coffee when I showed them to her, so we’ll see if it works out or not, haha…

(I’m pretty good at sticking to my “would I wear this out of the store right now?” trick, but every now and then I like to throw in a wild card that can either blow up in my face, or turn out to be my new favorite item. Like my “skinny” corduroys I picked up on a whim that I now love to death! Especially with cowboy boots, mmm… (the last time I wore them someone told me I looked like Sting, haha…))

And now, my new (and cheap!) Air Jordans!

air jordan dub zero blue
Air Jordan Dub Zero’s a la 2008, to be exact. They’re pretty crazy looking, but then again so am I ;)

This one hit me by surprise as I literally picked them off the shelf while waiting in line to pay. Total splurge for sure, but I couldn’t resist the urge to finally have my own pair of Jordans after 34 years of salivating at them :) Even my 2 year old has a pair! Plus, they were “only” $55.00. A steep price, no doubt, but it felt like winning since they retail for $100-$200. (<— isn’t this how we all justify such an expense? Haha…)

In the back of mind I was also wondering if there was an opportunity to flip them for a tidy profit too. Say, in the off chance I didn’t like them after sporting them around a bit (shoes are non-returnable @ Plato’s). Remember our side hustle post on people who collect shoes?? They spend HUNDREDS, even thousands, on rare Jordans to add to their collections, so maybe I was the new owner of one?

[Spoiler alert: A quick long-ass search on Google told me this was not the case. I did see some going for $80 and $150 on eBay though, so it is possible to get some profit out of it, at least in theory. Whatcha think, Uncle El? Check out this map I came across though on all the different styles over the years – Jordan Gallery. Pretty cool!]

For now I’ll just keep enjoying them and continue walking around town like a baller. They did cost me 1/3 of my entire new wardrobe, you know ;)

Here’s what the receipt looked like in the end:

platos closet receipt

Other interesting stats:

  • I spent an hour and a half in the store
  • This equates to about $1.70 minute :)
  • I put back $65 worth of stuff I was 50/50 on
  • Including a pair of $50 jeans
  • I tried on over 60 pieces of clothing
  • But the dressing room only allowed a max number of 6 items
  • Meaning I went in and out at least 10 different times (ugh)
  • 4 of those times I locked myself out and had to get an associate to let me back in
  • And 2 of which I was shirtless ;)

So in summary, I got a shit ton of clothes for ridiculously cheap prices. 9 shirts, 3 shorts, and a pair of Air Jordans, all for $150. If you don’t mind “gently used” clothes (though again – many are brand new), see if there’s a shop near you – U.S. and Canada! Or a similar place in your hood. If you can get name-brand clothes for the same price or cheaper than generic, why not go for the gold? These guys are franchises too – so if you’re feeling entrepreneurial you could even start one in your own city ;)

This trip’s been a great reminder of a mantra I like to live/shop by too – Whenever you find a ton of great bargains, that also match your needs, scoop them all up even if it’s a lot of money at once. Yeah it’s not easy to drop $100 or $200, or even $300 at a time, but it’s much better to save all the time and hassle (and grab the deals while they’re there!) instead of picking up one or two things across multiple trips. Kills two birds with one stone – time and money. Especially if your budget allows for it (it’s amazing how much faster you can make decisions when your money’s in order!).

Anywho, that’s the excitement going down in my world this week. Didn’t see that one coming! Here are some other tricks I like to use while out shopping too, if it helps you:

  • The “stranger” test (A stranger holds up cash and the item you want to buy – which do you prefer?)
  • The “urgency” test (Would you walk out wearing the item you’re thinking about? If so, it’s probably a good call to buy. If you hesitate, put it down)

Gotta save all night long, all night strong, baby!

go all night long shirt

———
PS: Next up? Replenishing all my white tees and socks. I’m considering following Mario’s lead and declaring Sock Bankruptcy :) (Check it out). Have to hit up one of those “irregular” type stores for those bad boys…  Where you get new clothes on the cheap, but always have something minor wrong with them. Gotta pick your poison while trying to save mad money though!

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brandy August 22, 2014 at 7:23 am

I work at their sister store – it’s my side hustle :)

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2 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 7:43 am

Hah! Really? What’s their sister store? You get first dibs on all those awesome clothes – smart woman! :)

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3 Brandy August 22, 2014 at 7:50 am

Yep, it’s called Clothes Mentor. And we do technically get first dibs on everything. If we like something, it won’t even hit the floor after we tag it. AND I get a discount at Plato’s and Once Upon a Child, too :)

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4 J. Money August 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

What a deal!!!!!

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5 Kalen Bruce August 22, 2014 at 7:26 am

You sound like me when I go shopping. I end up with so much stuff, then put most of it back. I just realized, we have a Plato’s Closet in OKC! I’m going to check it out tomorrow when I’m in the city. One of my favorite places to shop is Half of Half: Name Brand Clothing. Their website halfofhalf.com, and they are only in a few states, but it’s all new clothing that has minor defects or simply didn’t sell. I always check over everything carefully, but most of the time there is nothing wrong with the stuff! Thanks for the tip! I’ll let you know about my haul after I go to PC tomorrow! :)

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6 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 7:44 am

Yeah dude – check it out and let us know!

Never heard of half of half (reminds me of eBay’s half.com) but will totally check that out too. We’ll compare notes :)

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7 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar August 22, 2014 at 7:28 am

I haven’t gotten to a Plato’s Closet yet. I was thinking it might be good to hit up on one of their bag sale days. I think they run them on Black Friday.

The shoes are pretty swanky. I bet they could go for over $100 on eBay! There aren’t any that look as awesome as yours right now. Here’s a pair that went for $90. http://www.ebay.com/itm/2008-Air-Jordan-Dub-Zero-Black-White-Taxi-Yellow-311046-071-Sz-10-/231289530913?pt=US_Men_s_Shoes&hash=item35d9ee2a21

Probably not worth re-selling but you still got them at a bargain price.

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8 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 7:47 am

Dude, out of all people YOU should def. check it out. Grab them all super cheap and then flip ’em like a rockstar as you do! there was all kinds of Coach and super highend stuff there too real cheap. Many with original tags still on, so I bet you could scoop up quite the goodies for reselling…

I think what I’ll do is rock these Jordans like once a week on a special day where I want to feel real good, then keep them on the shelf other days to keep ’em nice and shiny ;) Then if someone happens to offer me a good deal flip ’em for some profit! They look good in my Caddy though, haha…

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9 Trinnie August 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

• 4 of those times I locked myself out and had to get an associate to let me back in
• And 2 of which I was shirtless ;)

These 2 bullet points made me LOL.. and it’s 6:45am in a very quiet USAA building…

Good job, though, friend! $150 is awesome for all that swag… didn’t even think of Plato’s Closet, now that i have to replenish my wardrobe, after losing 60 lbs. Guess i know where i’m going this weekend..

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10 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Hells yeah Trinnie! A PERFECT time to go shopping – way to go!! 60 lbs is no joke! :)

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11 Nicole August 22, 2014 at 8:05 am

Do you have a Savers in your area? My husband has found some great brand name clothing there for super cheap. Some of the stuff he gets looks brand new!

I’ve found some great things too but I don’t pay attention to the brands so I’m not sure what kind of deal I truly got. ;)

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12 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:28 pm

No Savers here (at least I don’t think?), but I like the sound of it :)

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13 Brian @ Debt Discipline August 22, 2014 at 9:06 am

Just check their site and there’s a store 10 minutes from my house. Need to check it out. I have some of my son and daughter’s clothes that might be able to be sold too.

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14 Ben @ The Wealth Gospel August 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

Nice! My wife sells some of her old stuff there, but I’ve never gone with her to look for myself. I better see those metro shorts at FinCon! :)

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15 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm

now you’re just talking crazy.

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16 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life August 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

Sounds like our version of Buffalo Exchange. Great for getting stuff, but selling to them is a pretty crappy deal. IF they take your stuff, they give you something like 50% of what they’ll charge in store credit or 30% cash.

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17 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm

yeah, you’re probably right. and in which case I’ll take the 50% credit! :)

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18 Samantha August 22, 2014 at 9:36 am

Just FYI – Plato’s Closet, at least in my area, is for children. Namely pre-teens and young teens. I wouldn’t be caught shopping there in my 30’s lest I be dubbed a desperate housewife.

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19 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Haha… not at this one. They had clothes for adults and teens (no babies or kids, though from what people are telling me Plato’s has sister sites that cover those areas?).

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20 Brian August 22, 2014 at 9:49 am

From what my friends have said, they pay basically nothing for your clothes. Which in the end is what most of those brands are worth. It is kind of sad to think of all the money most of those kids spent on their clothes and how much cheaper a savvy shopper can get them for.

I will continue to rock my homeless guy look when I am not at work. It has gotten me this far in life and from where I am sitting my life is pretty sweet.

PS. This post also made me realize how “uncool” I am. I would have never given those Jordan’s a second look and would have thought there were some sort of LA Gear (remember those?) type shoe.

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21 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:32 pm

HAH! I do remember them actually. I believe this is the first time I’ve thought about them in 17 years :)

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22 Broke Millennial August 22, 2014 at 9:50 am

If you have a Buffalo Exchange nearby you should check that out too. Exact same premise. The first time I tried to sell clothes to Plato’s closet was back in 2011 right after I graduated college, but apparently I’m not trendy enough for their style (they’re stricter with women’s clothing). But they did take some of my purses and books! It’s a bit of a nightmare to get those stores in NYC to buy back clothes that aren’t only one season old and a really great name brand.

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23 [email protected] August 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

I love Platos closet! I have sold to them before. They only give you a few bucks per item and don’t accept everything butttttt if you were going to donate it anyway, it’s a few more bucks in your pocket or to spend in the store. :D

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24 Kali @ Common Sense Millennial August 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Nice haul! I’ll second what another commenter said — the Plato’s near us seem to cater to teens and only stock really trendy pieces. I tend to wear more classic, toned-down stuff (I think I have maybe 5 shirts in my entire closet that aren’t just solid colors.. booooring, I know ;0 lol!). Otherwise I’d definitely take the time to browse through there to score a good deal! I’m glad the one out by you had more variety and options.

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25 Erin @ Journey to Saving August 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Sounds like a great deal! Those shoes look awesome. I have heard of Plato’s closet before, but I’ve never went into one. I haven’t been in the market for clothes in the past year so I’ve been trying to stay away from temptation. Those are some great tips you listed, though!

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26 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Thanks Erin, going over now to check out your blog :)

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27 Even Steven August 22, 2014 at 3:05 pm

You sir are the reason my eBay store works. I buy the best/most expensive brand names and sell them on ebay for a profit. It feels like treasure hunting when you find stuff just like you did, my purchase price is lower than yours was but that’s because they did all the work upfront with some pretty presentation or at least more organized than a goodwill/thrift store. Congrats on the finds.

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28 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Yeah dude, these places are killer for flipping stuff if you’re into that kinda thing. I don’t have the patience for small items, but for the bigger ones (like Jordans) I’d give it a shot. I bet you can find soooo much more too when you’re shopping strictly for flipping too – need a different eye out for those cases.

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29 Even Steven August 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Yeah it’s a different game when you are searching for every single size and just looking for brands, makes things interesting.

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30 Debt Hater August 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I’ve been to Plato’s closet before and I have to agree with you it is awesome. I wear a similar style of clothes as you, and even most outlet stores really don’t have good deals. T-shirts are usually like $20 and then buy one get one half off, so that’s still $15 a t-shirt and I’d much rather pay under $10, haha.

I’m going to have to go back and see if I can get any good deals on t-shirts or shorts since it’s the end of the Summer and those are probably the best deals right now.

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31 Jay @ ThinkingWealthy.com August 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Those are…. interesting… shirts. Then again I dress like I’m business casual most days. Outlets it is for me!

Jay

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32 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:36 pm

There was a whole rack of clothes in your style there actually – I just skipped it :)

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33 Shannon @ Financially Blonde August 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I am impressed with all of your finds, especially the shoes. That is about how much Jordan’s for my kid run and I know because I refused to buy them for him and he had to pay for them himself. He has actually moved onto soccer turf shoes now which are much more reasonable and that is a good thing since he seems to grow out of shoes every 4 months. I have never heard of Plato’s Closet, but saw there is one near me, so I should check it out.

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34 Jen @ Jen Spends August 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

$150 is nothing for a whole wardrobe! You did well! I didn’t know that Plato’s closet sells men’s clothing.

I like Clothes Mentor (sister store) a lot, and have bought and sold there in the past. There isn’t one very near to me, so I don’t make it out there often, but it’s a nice place to shop — much more like a typical clothing store than a smelly thrift shop where everything is organized by color instead of size! They get some really amazing designer labels from time to time.

For women I can also highly recommend liketwice.com. It’s an online consignment shop, and it is super easy to send clothes out to them. You pack whatever box you have (or request a shipping envelope), then print a label and send it out to California for free. They’ll make an offer by email and pay via PayPal. I send a box out there every few months and usually make close to $50. They have a nice selection to shop from, and returns are very easy (and free) if something doesn’t work out.

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35 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Well that’s a cool idea!! And I hate when things are sorted by colors instead of sizes too, haha… so strange! Plato’s had them sorted both ways which was awesome :)

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36 Alexis August 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I am quite impressed! I don’t think I could even find that good of deals. The clothes look like they are in great shape as well.

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37 Kassandra @ More Than Just Money August 22, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Never heard Plato’s closet but you definitely found some good deals! You have way more patience that I do – 60 items of clothing you tried on…wow! After 4 times of getting locked and twice with no shirt on the associate didn’t say anything to you! Lol!

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38 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:39 pm

After the first two times I was embarrassed and found a different associate to let me in ;) Then a different one again for the 4th time, haha…

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39 Mrs. Frugalwoods August 22, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Nice threads! I wish we had a Plato’s Closet here–I enjoyed it when we lived in St. Louis, but, alas, they don’t seem to be here in ol’ Boston. I do have a few excellent thrift stores in my ‘hood though: Buffalo Exchange, Revolve, and Boomerangs (’cause the clothes are boomeranging back, get it?!). I’m jealous of all the good man-clothes you found–we have a much harder time finding quality stuff for Mr. Frugalwoods. Seems menfolk just don’t donate their clothes as often.

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40 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Boomerangs! Perfect name for a store like these!

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41 Steve August 22, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I need to seriously start hitting up thrift shops.

Now, I don’t condone doing this, but my brother in law once went to a thrift shop saw some shoes he liked, swapped them for the ones he was wearing, and then left. He figures since Valu Village got the shoes they are selling for free, the swap doesn’t constitute any wrong doing. I think it is hilarious story.

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42 J. Money August 22, 2014 at 11:40 pm

I’d like to see him try arguing that to the cops ;)

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43 Asset-Grinder August 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Man I just give away all my clothes. Maybe its time I get a few bucks for them. Thanks for the heads up!

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44 Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans August 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

I always hear ads for Plato’s Closet on Pandora. I need to check it out!

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45 Elisabeth August 23, 2014 at 9:43 pm

That is a steal! I have issues with bargain places like that…. imaginary ones, laughable ones…but issues. I’ll leave it to you to get the great deals.

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46 J. Money August 26, 2014 at 8:43 am

Haha…. more for us ;)

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47 SB August 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

Wow very impressive, always, without research, I though you could buy from Platos only when you have something to sell. There’s one by my work =, where I’d make a stop soon.

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48 Brent August 24, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Nice work on putting back $65 worth of stuff you were 50/50 on. That’s taking The Olive Method to a new level!

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49 J. Money August 26, 2014 at 8:44 am

Yeah! Love that Olive method!

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50 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen August 25, 2014 at 2:00 am

These kind of stores be pretty awesome to shop at and score good deals! Selling clothes though is always iffy because it always depends on the person who is looking at what you bring them and what their taste is. Great new wardrobe!!!

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51 Richard @ Frugality Magazine August 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Having just started a new job I realized that I really needed some new clothes to wear to the office. It’s very much a “dress down” environment but as someone who basically doesn’t buy clothes all my old clothes had more than had their day. I managed to spend a similar amount here in the UK for all manner of new shirts and trousers so I was very pleased!

The only annoyance was I invested in some new shorts too – just before the weather broke and as I sit here today it’s literally tipping it down with rain and about 17’C! Doubt those shorts will get an airing till next year now… ;-)

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52 J. Money August 26, 2014 at 8:45 am

At least you’ll be a head of the game ;) Congrats on the new job! Always exciting stuff.

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53 Kristin @ Brokepedia August 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Oh man I love Plato’s Closet! My brother took me to one near his college campus; I had no idea it was a chain! I just looked it up and found there are a couple in my metro area…nice.

Anyway, great finds! I’m a big fan of buying stuff second-hand. Sometimes it takes some digging, but when you find a really great deal, it’s worth it. At the shop near our place, I’ve found brand new items, tags still attached, for less than ten bucks. Of course, I make sure it’s something I’d actually wear before I buy.

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54 J. Money August 26, 2014 at 8:46 am

Yes, that would be a good thing ;)

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55 connieK August 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Swear to god I almost spit out my S. Pellegrino water onto the keyboard when reading you’re fixin’ to sport the new Jordans while driving the FrankenCaddy… you’re HILARIOUS, J$…………….. that is something we won’t want to unsee !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go J$ !!!

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56 J. Money August 26, 2014 at 8:46 am

Haha… I aim to please!

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57 the spunky banker. August 27, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I really wish I could like that place but every time I go (usually only to sell stuff) the girls that work their are so rude I want to yell at them.

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58 J. Money August 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

well that blows :( this place fortunately had some pretty nice (and patient!) people working there, considering how many times I locked myself out and needed them to *yet again* come let me back into the dressing rooms, haha, but there are other stores in the area I refuse to go into too because of piss poor service. Really sucks for the owners too cuz they’re the face of the company! And driving people out!

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59 Kayla @ Red Debted Stepchild August 28, 2014 at 11:09 am

I too love Plato’s Closet, unfortunately, there are not any close to my location. I do try to hit them up when I go into the “city” though. :)

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60 Kris March 10, 2015 at 4:32 am

I haven’t been back into a Plato’s Closet since they refused to buy any of my stuff even though some of it was worn like twice. Wanted to sell my stuff because my weight was flunctuating so much nothing ever fit after a month or so.

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61 J. Money March 11, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Well that blows… I haven’t tried selling any of my stuff yet, but I will be here soon. Even some clothes I bought FROM them which I never wear anymore… It’ll be interesting to see if they take them back :)

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