In our latest podcast with Jon and Luke of Great Good Fine Ok, we spoke on the inspiration behind their latest releases, the creative process, Elon Musk, and the all important art of thrift shopping. We broke down a few tips from Jon and Luke to help you avoid some thrift shopping pitfalls. You can also check out the full podcast episode below:
“There are two different types of thrift shops.” - Jon
Not all thrift shops are created equal. The large majority of thrift stores can be separated into two categories: Type One and Type Two. A Type One store gives off an Army-Navy vibe. Slacks, button-down shirts, and understated jackets dominate the racks. Type One stores make for reliable everyday wear, but often lack the flare needed for stage apparel.
The second type of shop, Type Two, contains a level of glisten and glamour appropriate for a Great Good Fine Ok performance. “This is the type of store where you can find items like a sequined blouse worn by your grandmother who plays bingo,” says Jon. Much of the Great Good Fine Ok live show wardrobe originates from Type Two thrift shops. Kimonos, colorful jackets, shiny shoes, and fanny packs are commonplace on stage.
“Have patience and develop an eye for good things.” - Jon
Patience is key when entering a thrift shop. The diversity of selection can feel overwhelming. The right mindset can make or break a thrift shopping endeavor. Don’t rush through the racks. First, scan the shop. Take a full 360-degree glance and observe the surroundings. This initial analysis will help the shopper to decide whether or not to dive deeper into the contents of the store. “It shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes to realize if there is something there that you’re going to buy,” says Jon. Follow the rule of ten. If your hands remain empty and nothing catches the eye within the first ten minutes of stepping across the threshold, move on.
If a few items stand out and your gut senses value, stay. Once the decision is made to remain in the shop, then take the time to effectively comb the clothing options. Peel back the layers. Sift through sections overlooked by less experienced shoppers. “Most people don’t believe some of the things Luke and I find in thrift stores,” says Jon. “Like anything else, it’s a skill to walk into a shop and find diamonds in the rough.”
“See something you like and buy it.” - Luke
Rather than separate the thrift shop from the normal shop, Luke adheres to one overall, rock-solid approach: if you like it, buy it. No frills. No formula. Only raw action. Identify, decide, and execute. The first step, “see something,” derives from pure sensory stimulation. Employ broad spectrum glances without narrowing the visual field too early. Sweep the surroundings. If an item catches the attention, then hone in. If upon closer observation the item does not meet your standard, re-engage the visual sweep. Repeat until all relevant sections of the store have been analyzed.
The second step, “like,” involves internal reflection. Once an item catches your attention amidst a visual sweep, you must ask yourself, “Does this piece of clothing match my vibe?” The vibe encompasses much more than just the shopper’s style. Texture, look, price, fit, and smell all come into play. If an item checks off all relevant fields, move to the final step, “buy it”. The last phase, “buy it,” calls for pure execution. Either you swipe the card, or you don’t. “The right item glows,” says Luke, “like it literally glows because of all the sequins.”
Sometimes, you can find yourself strolling with a thrift “bluffer” disguised as a thrift shopper. A “bluffer” is someone who frequents thrift stores with no intention of actually purchasing any items. This person may feign affection towards a few pieces on the rack, but deep down, he or she lacks the drive to pull the trigger. Often, “bluffers” will encourage others to make purchases to distract from their own lack of execution. Stay wary of “bluffers” and do not let them sway you into compulsory pick-ups.
Less emotional than Jon, Luke channels a more ruthless set of tactics in a thrift shop. Identify, decide, and execute. Venturing outside of these guidelines can lead to irrational purchases and a dysfunctional wardrobe.
“If you’re a man, don’t be afraid of the ladies section, and vice versa.” - Jon
In a regular retail experience, shoppers generally stick to clothes indicative of their gender. But in a thrift shop, gender barriers do not apply. As a guy, do not hesitate to venture into the women’s section if something stands out. As a woman, take a lap through the men’s section if you sense something of value. When looking for a piece to rock on stage or spice up a music video, Jon and Luke peruse all parts of the store. Some of the best hidden gems lay buried beneath the unturned sections of the opposite sex. “You never know what you’re going to find,” says Jon.
“Yes, I have been forced to wear clothes against my will.” - Luke
In the past, Jon has picked up thrift shop outfits for other members of the band to wear in live shows. Although some of these items do not align with Luke’s everyday taste, he bravely dons each outfit to brighten aesthetic of a Great Good Fine OK performance.
For the ‘You’re The One For Me’ music video, Luke shaved his beard, wore a wig, and dressed in full drag. In the soul-cycle inspired shoot, Luke and Jon played the parts of every female character. The two put their conventional style aside for the greater good of the art. According to Jon, Luke pulled off the look quite well. “During that shoot, I saw Luke from behind and felt something,” says Jon. “He’s a very sexy woman.”