When a friend asked where I bought my shoes I told them it was the result of an RSS search on eBay. Looking closer, I realized my entire outfit (from head to toe) was the result of RSS searches.
Like many of you, I buy most of my clothes online. The only difference is that I used RSS feeds to find most of the clothes I bought in the last 5 years. Typically this means I’ll do a search for something on eBay or craigslist, and if they don’t have what I want, I add that search to my RSS reader so I’ll get notified whenever that item appears. Then I just forget about it and start watching cute animal videos on youtube.
From time to time an item appears in my RSS feed and I check to see if the Buy It Now is within my price range. If not, I come up with a low (but reasonable price) and use Auction Sniper to place my auction bid in the final seconds of a listing. Typically, I lose, but that’s a good thing because the item sold for more than I was willing to pay. The whole system is set up for me not to constantly check eBay for an item, then get into a bidding war on that item (that I don’t really NEED, but kind of want). As much as I love getting clothes for cheap, I also get competitive with other buyers and used to spend way too much, so this set-it and forget-it mentality really works for people like me that may be willing to have a search going for years before they score the perfect item for an insanely low price.
My RSS Outfit
Like I mentioned before, my entire outfit (except for the underwear) was found via RSS feeds. So we decided to do a fashion shoot documenting the hat, jacket, shirt, shoes, pants, and even socks. Huge thanks to my Emma Zwirko for taking these photos (and not making me feel super silly while doing it). You can see more of her fashion photos on Instagram.
“Golden Dragon” New Balance Shoes, $50
One of the most recent additions to my RSS feed is a search for limited edition New Balance shoes. I’m not much of a shoe guy, but I’m flat footed and found that most New Balance shoes fit me comfortably. I like unusual looking items, so the “limited edition” occasionally turns up neat results.
Sidenote; the smartwool socks were also RSS’d.
Rogue Territory Supply Jacket, $160
I tried on a Territory’s denim jacket a few years ago and loved it, but couldn’t justify the $275 price tag at the time. After a few years of watching these items on eBay, I realized even used jackets were still selling for $275. When this jacket popped up in my feed with a $160 buy it now option, I bought it within 20 minutes of it getting listed.
I’ve owned this jacket for nearly a year and wear it almost every day. One of my favorite little features is the pen pocket (highlighted by the white thread) and the inside pocket for notepads. For the first time in my life I find myself carrying a tiny notebook everywhere and documenting lyric ideas, sketches, and general notes throughout the day.
The enamel RSS pin is still available on Diesel Sweeties’ site.
Run DMC Hat, $85
After 6 years of waiting, this particular hat is the result of one my longest running RSS clothing searches. This feed is so old that it’s one of the feed Digg Reader imported from Google Reader when it shut down. Long live Google Reader!
This style of fedora, made popular by Run, Darryl Matthews McDaniels, and Jam Master Jay in the 80s, is very different from your typical fedora. The brim of the hat slopes upwards all the way around (where most fedoras slope down in the front) and the crown is a bit more rounded and symmetrical. I don’t know if this particular style of fedora has a name, but it seems impossible to find this particular shape without including “Run DMC” in the search.
After 5 years, the only hats I saw like this were cheaply made halloween costumes, but then two official Run DMC hats appeared in my feed on the same day! One was “new-in-box” hat for $150 and the other was used from a thrift store in LA. The price was $100, but my offer of $85 was accepted and the hat was on my head a week later. I didn’t even realize Run DMC had official hats, but I’m guessing this item is probably 30 years old.
Iron Heart 21oz Denim Straight Cut Jeans- $160
These jeans are the only particular part of this outfit that I found on Craigslist, but I do have a number of RSS searches for Craigslist synths, apartments, and cameras that yield good results too. These are heavyweight and very different than any other jeans I wear. My other favorite pair of jeans, a limited edition collaboration between Self Edge and Flathead, were also found via RSS.
The gentleman I bought these from bought these from Self Edge and only wore them once before deciding they were too stiff for him. I picked these up in December, but I think these jeans may be so old that he bought them back when I was a tailor at Self Edge. So there’s a chance that I may have been the person who hemmed these many years ago. Weird, right?
Al’s Attire Heavy Western Shirt, $30
Al’s Attire is one of my favorite local clothing designers. Al is an amazing tailor with a real eye for detail and an obsession with clothing from the 40s and 50s. I’ve bought a couple of custom items from his shop, but they aren’t cheap, so I was happy to find this heavyweight shirt. Luckily “Al’s Attire” doesn’t turn up too many unwanted results, so this 4 year old RSS search has yielded many other items like my favorite denim hat and a couple of dresses for Christine.
RSS? Auction Sniper?
RSS (Rich Site Summary) is an old web format for delivering regularly changing web content (such as blog posts, changes to a website, and eBay search urls). Though it’s not as popular as it used to be, many blogs, news sites, and other online publishers still syndicate their content through RSS since it’s such a simple and standard web format to work with. Even iTunes uses RSS to find new podcast episodes to serve you in their (terrible) podcast app.
Hell, some of you may even use RSS to read this very post. Hi!
Once you have an RSS feed, you would then add that URL to your RSS reader. I use Digg Reader. Most blogs have a little RSS symbol you can use to subscribe to an RSS feed, but Digg Reader has an option to simple type a websites URL and they’ll automatically find the relevant RSS feed for you to subscribe to. Every morning I check Digg Reader to see what my friends have blogged about, what news is happening, and more. If an item I subscribe to has been updated, like a new post on Laughing Squid, I’ll see that update in my feed.
I wrote about how to convert an eBay searches into RSS feeds in this older post, but basically it involves adding &_rss=1 to the end of a search URL. So I search for a medium size Jesus Lizard shirt, add the rss suffix to make this https://www.ebay.com/sch/T-Shirts/15687/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=jesus+lizard+t+shirt&_dcat=15687&Size%2520%2528Men%2527s%2529=M&rt=nc&Size%2520Type=Regularhttps://www.ebay.com/sch/Mens-Shoes/93427/i.html?_from=R40&Brand=New%2520Balance&_dcat=93427&US%2520Shoe%2520Size%2520%2528Men%2527s%2529=11&_nkw=new+balance+574+limited+edition&_rss=1 , then add that url to an ebay folder in Digg Reader.
The great thing about RSSing an eBay search is that you can get as specific as you want. You can have it only show items under a certain price range, with “buy it now”, or with any other settings you want, then create an RSS of that specific search.
AuctionSniper is a tool I use for placing last minute bids on eBay. As I mentioned before, I simply add the price I’d actually want to pay (using AuctionSniper’s handy “Snipe It Now” bookmarklet), then I forget about that auction. If I win, I win. If not, that’s money I didn’t need to spend.