As a teenager, Ahmad’s dad would always say to him: “if you don’t like what I buy you, buy it yourself.” That’s all the motivation he needed to hit the thrift stores. Soon after he realized how easily he was able to shop on a budget, but what he loved most about secondhand shopping was the creative aspect it. “You can create combinations and looks no one else will have,” said Ahmad.
Agreed! That’s the number one tip I tell people at the Goodwill workshops. That’s not the only tip Ahmad I have in common for thrift shoppers: have a plan and bring a friend. “I don’t like being in stores forever, having a plan keeps you from looking around aimlessly, which cuts down time, ” Ahmad told me. “Also, if you have someone that’s willing to go with you, have them help you find what you’re looking for,” he added. Ahmad’s trusty sidekick is his younger brother who helps him spot Ralph Lauren polos.
When we got together for the photo shoot, I couldn’t help but ask how he learned to coordinate pieces so well. He doesn’t have a big secret, he just has an eye for things and really likes colors and patterns. After talking with him, I think the secret is that he’s simply passionate about dressing well – he speaks so effortlessly of style and fashion and is totally comfortable doing his own thing. “I just wear what feels good,” he said.
In addition to polos, Ahmad’s favorite thing to thrift is blazers. He buys them for $4-5 and then gets them tailored for $15. He also makes his own pocket squares (I thought they were called handkerchiefs) by purchasing scarves or old shirts from the thrift store and them cutting them down to size. Thrifty and crafty.
Ahmad likes to mix his thrifted finds with investment pieces like shoes. I knew this was going to be a tough question, but I just had to ask: what’s the best thing you’ve ever thrifted? He said it’s a toss up between a pair of $10 Lebron James shoes (normally $180) or a $4 Ralph Lauren double breasted sailor blazer with gold buttons (normally $120).
My favorite? The socks. Hands down.