The hats at Red White and Blue (my thrift store in Hialeah) are stored on top of the clothing racks. It’s a mishmash of church lady, trucker, baseball, and straw hats. I picked up my straw hat and checked the label, a trick I learned after years of my mother yelling at me for stuffing my closet with what she calls junk. Mostly it is junk, but if it has a designer label on it, both she and I agree it's worth the $2 investment and closet space.
The label read Kenzo Paris (heellzzzz yeahhh!), and it looked brand-new or barely worn. Either way, it went straight into the 'keep' pile in my cart, and when I spotted the red, half-off tag (originally $3.95!), I decided I was really proud of myself — like Olympian or straight As proud. This is the phenomenal report card of thrift-store finds, which I've only felt once before about a Balmain clutch. If there was any doubt that all those years of collecting and then throwing away sequins, poufy '80s dresses, and oversized men’s button-down shirts was in vain, well, eat your heart out, mom!
No one at the thrift store, where kitchen equipment, ceramic cats with chipped paws, and those mesh neon belly shirts are all given the same treatment as the Kenzo hat, could appreciate this find — and, thank god — because it would have been snatched up by then.
I did a little bit of Kenzo research, and as far as I can tell, it’s from the resurrection collection of the old French brand, now helmed by the Opening Ceremony duo. A flat brim boater style hat like this one was featured in its debut collection. Either this hate is a tribute to that style, or mine is the real deal.
All I mean to say with all this bragging is that I'm willing to make a whole bunch more thrift-shopping mistakes to find that one diamond in the rough. Just don’t tell my mom.
Photo: Courtesy of Patricia Guarch Wise