Main Line Goodwill Is the New Neiman Marcus

Next to Prada bags, are my Forever 21 blouses and oudated Anthro-wear good enough for donating?

I’ve been purging my closet a lot this year. I feel like I’ve spent a fair amount of time and gas making regular trips to our local Goodwill. And somehow I leave feeling ashamed. I’m not sure my former wardrobe items are luxurious enough for our local Main Line depositories. [SIGNUP]

On a recent Saturday night, my husband and I were heading to dinner at a local restaurant and passed the Goodwill. Which reminded me of the small bag of my latest cast-offs in the back of my car. We pulled into the dark parking lot so I could drop my donation on the doorstep. Someone had already beaten me there that evening, as a few bags were piled up. I dropped my bag next to the others, and that’s when I saw it. Could it be? Really? A Prada leather handbag in mint condition was sitting on top. I couldn’t help myself. I had to fondle it. I checked to see if it was a fake. I’m no expert on counterfeit merchandise, but it looked like the real thing to me. The hardware was good, the lining was good, and by the light of my car headlights it looked and felt like the Prada bags I saw in stores a few years ago. It was tempting for a moment, but it wasn’t really my style, so I left it there. And that’s when I looked down at my bag of Forever 21 blouses and outdated Anthropologie. Is this good enough to leave next to the Prada? I could just picture the employees sorting through the donations, “Prada, Gucci, Missoni, Forever 21? What loser left that?” I was more tempted to take my inferior items back than I was to take the designer bag. Finding solace in anonymity, I left it and went to dinner.

My experience was not abnormal. I have a friend that volunteers in a local church thrift shop where Chanel items occasionally pass though. Every time I stop by the shop, half the clothes still have department-store tags on them. Designer names abound, and there’s a rumor that they have a back closet full of Tory Burch that they only put out a bit at a time. I nixed donating clothes to this charity even though it’s closer than Goodwill, because I fear my donations are so out-of-style, the shop would re-gift them to a less prestigious cause. Of course, that was before I realized Goodwill is the new Neiman Marcus.

I thought about consigning a few times, but it’s painful for me to part with things that have designer labels. By the time I face the music, that this skirt or top will never be in style again or just doesn’t look good anymore, I have to imagine nobody else will want to buy it. The local consignment stores are filled with virtually new, hip stuff — often with tags attached — and I don’t think my passé items can compete. I am, unfortunately, not one of the Main Line residents who gets racks of clothing from Barneys New York delivered to their homes for their selection. Nor do I donate or consign my recent seasonal wardrobe as I tire of it. No, if I spend the money on a luxury item, I hold onto it until a Salvation Army Harbor Light resident would say, “that’s so last decade.” Which brings us back to Goodwill. I guess I can only hope they don’t have security cameras to see who is donating the junk.