How to Thrift Shop

Friday, September 10, 2010

Several of you have commented and emailed asking for advice on how to thrift and bargain shop on a dime (and still look fabulous - that's a given!) and I'm happy to share my tips! It is after all, one of my favorite topics!
(Dear Sienna, I know you've evolved & grown but you will always be my original boho, vintage muse. xx)
OK, ladies... First off, anyone can do it! Thrifting can sometimes feel like a bit of work, because it is a process, and takes patience and a skilled eye. But after some practice (and that super buzz you get after an unbelievable score) you'll be hooked!

For a full list of the different types of shopping see here.

  • First off, stay current on your favorite designers and trends. Know what you like and what works for you. Make mental (or actual) "wish lists" of the items that you desire. That way your eye will be drawn to those items amongst all the other ka ka you see in the store (ya, I just said ka ka.)
  • For example: Sparkle and denim are really hot right now (see everything J Crew above) so let that be a guide when looking. (But stay open! You may go in looking for denim, and leave with a killer belt!)
  • Try EVERYTHING on.
  • Feel free to buy off season. Several times I've found an amazing jacket in high summer, or a killer dress in the dead of winter. Take it home, clean it and pack it away for next season. It will be like a little treat you may have forgotten about.
  • If like this girl, you have a sewing machine and a bit of imagination, you can practically create your dream wardrobe with one-of-a-kind, unique pieces. If like me, you own a machine, but barely know how to use it, other than mending and hemming, you can still fix minor wear & tear if the garment is fab.
  • Get a good tailor! An item that is "almost right" can be perfect with a little tuck here and there.
  • Know the stores in your area, and what you'll be up against every time you go in.
  • The key is mixing vintage, designer and the trendy cheap (aka Forever21, H&M, etc) to create an affordable and killer wardrobe. I'm not against getting everything thrift, but I find that a good designer shoe and bag can make even a dollar dress look fab!
  • It's all in how you wear it. Own it, love it, and make it your own!
Some of my recent finds - A long and lean golden sweater, a delicious denim calvin klein jacket, and a ridiculously loud and sparkly long sleeve 80's shirt (that I plan to wear as a dress tonight!)

OH, and the prices? $3, $5 and $4. You can't beat that with a stick!

Happy thrifting, lovelies! xx


  1. It's like you're a magician... Just to think how much more money I'd have in my pocket if you were around to help me shop!
    xo tash

  2. you are my vintage heroine.
    off to the shops i go!
    sylvie of silver lining

  3. GREAT advice,,vintage shopping is one of my most fav things to do too:)

    Happy Friday!

    Statements in Fashion

  4. Hope we get to see pictures of that ridiculously loud and sparkly 80's outfit your gonna wear tonight...

    Have a lovely weekend!!

    xxo Kelly
    Glamourous Spirit

  5. you're so right about the magic of thrifting. i LOVE the golden sweater. cant wait to see how you style it!

    <3 dennica pearl
    - through the eyes of a pearl
    - vintage shop

  6. This is such a great guide to thrifting! Fab post. :)

  7. these were such great tips. thanks for posting this! i have been wanting to go thrifiting all summer, but just haven't gotten to it. this definitely gave me some inspiration.


  8. I love thrifting! One of my favorite past times :) Thanks for the tips!


  9. well done! i just have to get past that funky smell that thrift clothes tend to have before they're washed.... I just moved to San Francisco, and I have a feeling there are A LOT of thrift stores to explore!

  10. What an amazing website! FANTASTIC ADVICE! My Dad used to call it going "GoodWill Hunting". We'd hit the swap meets, fairs and festivals on weekends. Granted he was looking for tools, parts and car crap....but I fell in love early with the HUNT and the rush of a SCORE! Glad to see all the kindred spirits!
    Thanx for the tips!

  11. love thrift store shopping! i found a diane von furstenberg blue & black houndstooth pencil skirt at one of my favorite thrift stores today...for $1.29! The best thrift stores to hit up are the not for profit ones :)

  12. Kelley - that's so amazing! $1.29! What a score! Let me know if you post a pic of it, I'd love to see it. xx


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you guys! If you ask a question, I will be sure to respond back here. xx