Monday night I headed down to South Broadway in pursuit of an interesting subject to cover for “Secondhand Sartorialism.” South Broadway is a great area to investigate when you are seeking style inspiration. Hip boutiques, thrift stores and interesting bars abound, filled with people who possess intriguing and inspiring taste in clothes. Eurotrash hipsters, paint speckled artists, starving poets and working musicians peacefully coexist, influencing each others stylistic choices in ways that are both subtle and overt. If you want to see living, breathing examples of how to put your outfits together in new, creative ways, you can learn a lot by people watching on the streets of Denver. I’ve known since I started writing this blog that I also wanted to find guys to interview about their vintage-inspired style, so I was thrilled to run into my old friend Ben Kronberg and elated when he agreed to be my first male interviewee. Ben, a stand-up comedian who has a loyal fan base here in Denver and nationwide, possesses an eye for fashion that is as sharp as his wit, and incorporates vintage pieces into his wardrobe in ways that make it clear that while some may argue that it is harder for men to find great pieces secondhand, it certainly is possible.
Name: Ben Kronberg Age: 31 Occupation: Comedian Hometown: Denver Shirt: I got it from Regal Vintage or Buffalo Exchange - I can't remember. Jeans: Regal Vintage Shoes: Target Glasses: Eye Vision 16th and Champa
Do you wear a lot of vintage? I (for the most part) only wear vintage/thrift clothes.
How long have you been into vintage? I’ve been into vintage since my early 20s.
When getting dressed, are you generally drawn to your vintage items first? Are they the “building blocks” of your wardrobe? It is usually what I feel, but my vintage stuff usually helps inspire the other stuff. I’ve really been into boots, vests, and hats lately.
When you go to a secondhand shop or sale what do you check out first? Shirts, pants, shoes, accessories is the usual order.
Do you have a favorite piece that you ever found at a thrift store, yard sale or vintage shop? I found a fedora hat at Buffalo Exchange – it is currently being fixed at a hat shop. I bought it for $40 and am spending $80 to get it fixed.
What’s the best shopping experience that you ever had at a thrift store, yard sale, etc? No specific favorite, but anytime I go and put together a whole outfit, or complete an outfit that has needed that key element, is my favorite time.
Strangest thing you ever found or purchased at secondhand shop or sale? A shirt with a stain that could have been anything but I bought it anyway.
What appeals to you about wearing vintage clothing? Looking different and feeling unique. Fashion is a representation / extension of your personality – it is like the initial communication you have with people – how you look.
As a guy, do you have any tips for other guys about how to shop for or wear vintage clothing? Don’t give up. The girls have all the choices, as they can wear the guy’s stuff too. We have probably, [at most] 1/5 of the clothes to select from-- so be strong.
Do you have any general thrifting tips? Patience.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about vintage clothing and thrift store/ secondhand shopping? I love the smell of old clothes – I always wear the item once before washing it to flow with the spirit of the garment and whoever wore it before me. It’s sort of an honor type thing.
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Fair reader, I like to think that vintage and retro pieces often end up with the person who was meant to find them and wear them again and I love the idea of subtly acknowledging the former owner of a pre-loved piece. In this throwaway society, where the newest cell phones and televisions routinely edge out the old, there is something special about loving an item because of its age and the history it holds. I certainly think there’s honor in that.
-- TaRosa Jacobs