Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Recent Thrifting Finds and a Few Thrifting Tips


I took a long break from shopping at thrift stores, mostly because I took on a uniform of jeans, knee high boots and huge scarves for most of college. Since I am now back to my vintage loving self, it was high time I started looking for bargains again by thrifting. This summer I decided to pop into my old thrifting haunt from my high school days, a local Savers, and try my luck at finding a safari blouse and ended up finding not one but two! I also ended up with 6 new silk scarves! (They price them at 99 cents, how am I supposed to resist?)

Since that first trip back to the thrift store, I have made a few others and today I stopped in on my way home from the fabric store. I was looking for more long sleeved silk blouses for this upcoming fall/winter season, as I had found one the last time I'd been in, but I ended up with two short sleeve tops instead! Oh and of course, 3 more silk scarves, I am quite the scarf addict!



Above are the two tops I found today, both for under $6 each. The first is a brand new (tags attached) chiffon and lace top in a nice forest green from Forever 21. Is buying Forever 21 from the thrift store less awful than buying it new at Forever 21 itself? I know my local thrift store is certainly more organized and nicer to shop at than the closest Forever 21 location (the last time I went the store was a massive mess!). Anyway, I am super pleased to have found this top as I love dark green and it will go with a lot of my fall wardrobe. The other top I found is a perfect all white peasant blouse for summer. I was looking for a blouse like this all June, and now I've finally found one and summer is almost over! Still, it will be the perfect summer basic next year too, so I am pleased to have snatched it up.

I have a rather systematic method of thrift shopping, checking certain zones of the store in the same order each time. I always head to the blouses and shirts rack first. As much as I like sewing, I don't like sewing buttonholes and collars, so if I can buy button down shirts rather than have to make them, I will! The great thing about thrift stores is that even if there isn't much true "vintage" (aka pre-60's) stuff around anymore, the 1980's made some pretty great blouses. For example, I picked up two 100% silk long sleeved shirts/blouses this summer for so much cheaper than it would have cost me to make or buy them new!



One is from Cold Water Creek, the other from Eddie Bauer, two brands/store I would never shop at new. Still both are great quality, 100% silk, and cut in a really classic timeless shape that will work well in my vintage inspired wardrobe. I usually start at the size mediums and grab every shirt/blouse that both grabs my eye and I think might fit me from size M to size XL. I find the sizes are all over the board anyway so I don't focus on the labels. I try to only pull things that are either 100% cotton or 100% silk. You can find such great deals on real silk blouses! Working at Banana Republic as my "day job" I can tell you a silk blouse will cost you at least $60+ on a good day new, so to find them for under $10 at the thrift store is a huge steal!

After I buzz through the blouses I do a quick run through the dresses, though I haven't seen one dress this summer worth even trying on. Then I head to the scarves and usually find at least one or two. Silk scarves are another great item to pick up at thrift stores, you can usually find both large and small square scarves for under a dollar. Which is all to say, I have a lot of silk scarves! But they are so pretty and useful! After the scarves I look over the jewelry real quick as there isn't usually anything pre-80's going on, and then if I am feeling really ambitious I go through the vinyl records. Most of the time the vinyl selection is a sad collection of old religious music, Christmas records, and Barbara Streisand but I can usually find a nice classical music record from the 50's to add to my small record collection.


My main tips for thrifting are these:

-Firstly, have a plan. I have my little system for making quick work of the large thrift stores around my area and once you have been in once or twice you will get an idea of areas you can skip over. It's best to go in knowing what you are after too, have a little list of what your wardrobe is missing in your head.

-Look out for classic pieces in good condition. Some people donate their ratty old Target stuff, other people their grandmothers nice silk blouses.  Classics like button down shirts are easier to find than trendier pieces.

-Remember the cost of dry cleaning things you may find. I am always on the hunt for things that are 100% silk, which means I usually need to get them dry cleaned before I can wear them. Factor in the cost of cleaning the items too.

-If you happen to be a seamstress remember you can alter things to fit! Adding waist darts to a boxier blouse can transform it into something much more flattering!

I know I will be stopping in the local thrift stores more often these days after finding such great pieces this summer. I haven't even visited the local Goodwill yet so I will have to scope out that shop next. Do you guys go thrift shopping? What have been some of your best thrifting finds this summer?

8 comments:

  1. One of the squares near where I live has THREE consignment shops, and a Goodwill. Things that don't make it to consignment gets dumped at goodwill. I buy nothing but linen and cashmere -- I don't NEED to buy anything else! But I mostly go for sweaters and tops because a) the nice light sweaters would be a bitch to actually knit and b) if I can get a nice, well constructed top out of solid materials for under $5, why would I bother buying nice fabric for it?

    I AM jealous of your scarves -- we are lacking in that department.

    -- Tegan

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    1. Nice! I can't seem to find sweaters at any of mine, it really depends on the area!

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  2. My thrifting tip is to shop with your fingers. Most people who love clothes can recognize high quality fabric when they feel it. I run my fingers down the clothes on the racks, stopping only when something feels right. People often ask me how I find the things I do, and this is my trick!

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    1. I totally agree, it's all about the textiles! I am constantly after silk garments so I follow this tip religiously :)

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  3. I like your tips, I use many of those myself. I agree about not focussing on the size label, much better just to try it and see if it fits.

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    1. Thanks Kate, it really doesn't make sense to look at the size tags when everything is usually jumbled up anyway!

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  4. Terrific post! I'm a super systematic thrift shopper, too! My plan of attack varies depending on if I'm shopping for myself, my Etsy store, or both, but it usually starts (and sometimes also ends) with the jewelry department no matter what (huge surprise, I know :D).

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thanks Jessica! Sadly the thrift stores around my town have seriously lack luster jewelry, but the antique malls usually have much better stuff! Thank goodness for dearest Etsy, my favorite jewelry shop of all!

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