Boomerangs: Special Edition, sweet deals invade the South End

As you might have noticed, I can’t get by without a semi regular thrift fix. This week’s exploration: Boomerangs, at their new South End location. I’ve heard some buzz but had to check it out myself.

Boomerangs: Special Edition, which opened in February has a distinctly different feel from its thriftier predecessors in Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. No giant denim jumpers. No worn-in flannel. No crushed velvet leggings. Perfect for the second hand junky who would rather not sift through racks upon racks of closet clean-out. In fact, the cozy spot tucked just past Foodie’s on Washington Street blends into the chic South End landscape like every other charming, high-end boutique. The only difference: these designer clothes have adorable hand stamped price tags that are surprisingly low, most items ranging in price between $20 and $50.

The concept for this location:  to provide a niche for some of nicer, more high-end garment donations, injecting them into a location where there is a corresponding market. As a fundraising branch of the AIDS Action Committee (AAC), all Boomerangs proceeds go towards a variety of philanthropic programs. Last year the Boomerangs stores alone raised 15 percent of the agency’s revenue.

With a relaxed aesthetic of exposed brick and vintage-inspired furniture, the store is neat and seeping with labels– folded sweaters from Banana Republic and J. Crew; hanging racks of designer denim and crisp men’s button downs. There’s a gauzy floral Diane Von Furstenberg top for $35. Skinny Diesel jeans for $30. A Ralph Lauren blazer still wearing its original $215 price tag is re-priced at $50. Without a tiny toe scuff a pair of black and white patent Marc by Marc Jacobs peep-toe heels would be seriously swoon-worthy. The selection is well-edited and hardly feels second hand, though the handbag and jewelry selections were somewhat sparse.

The expertly-curated designer brand selection at Special Edition is a far cry from the stuffed, less-filtered racks of the older locations. But I can’t help but feel that a touch of vital character was lost in the editing process. I love Boomerangs for its vintage wares and quirky cool finds tucked between old little league jerseys and stained Tweety Bird tees. Special Edition is just like going to a boutique. But clearly that’s the point– catering to their South End constituents, the label is ultimately what matters here. For a classically effortless, designer chic look at a steal, the store fits the bill. But for a funkier, and arguably more interesting find, that takes a little more scrounging around, the more eccentric might prefer to T out to the old locale. But at least now, the choice is yours: do you or don’t you relish the hunt?

Boomerangs: Special Edition. 1407 Washington St., Boston. 617-457-0996.

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