Let’s talk thrifting.
If you’ve read any of my posts, chances are, you’ve caught on to my affinity for thrift and vintage shops.
My interest in secondhand dates back to my younger days. I always looked forward to ‘big-cousin-hand-me-down’ deliveries and constantly nagged my mom to let me sift through her outdated attic stash. They felt like time capsules in fabric form that transported you to another place. They allowed you to hold someone else’s memories in your hands. Now, that’s a pretty cool feeling.
As I got older, I grew to understand and respect the importance of preservation on a deeper level. My style evolved as well and I loved discovering things that other people wouldn’t have and putting my own personal spin on them. I also became more informed about the environmental benefits of secondhand shopping. At this point, I had scaled all my mom’s wardrobes (past and present), but I wanted more; that’s when I realized there were entire treasure chests dedicated to re-selling used ‘stuff.’ Thrift shops, it was a game changer.
I’m relatively new to it, but there are three main factors that led to my increased enthusiasm for the thrift shop game:
- The green aspect.
Buying pre-loved is unarguably a more eco-friendly option than buying new. If we all chose to recycle our clothing, we would slow down the damaging effects of the production and manufacturing cycles. It would assist in decreasing the amount of waste and pollution caused by the fashion industry.
- The unknown history of each piece.
Who has worn it? Where has it been? What has it seen? Each piece holds its own secrets that will never be shared. Rather than their stories ending on a hanger in a dusty corner, I think it’s important to help them live on and make new mystery memories for their next owner. We gotta keep that cycle goin’.
- The quality & the look (duh!).
It’s no secret that the quality of products has decreased over the years. This is in part due to the fast-fashion model, but we won’t get into that. Either way, by shopping at secondhand stores (thrift/vintage/etc.), you have access to inexpensive quality pieces that are unique and chic! That’s what I like to call the triple threat… you can’t beat it.
To help you better visualize the potential goldmines you can stumble upon, we’ll take a peek into my closet and check out a few of my favorite thrifted finds.
1. Tweed blazer with suede elbow patches
From: Goodwill (Long Beach, CA)
How I style it: This baby is originally from a children’s clothing store called The Prep Shop in Alhambra, CA that has since closed. It was sold as a young man’s blazer. I’ve worn it on a few interviews, where I paired it with delicate accessories, which complemented the masculinity of the blazer. This was a score and a half. You had me at suede elbow patches.
2. ‘Silverlake Fish’ t-shirt
From: Far Outfit (Long Beach, CA)
How I style it: Ah, this shirt! My roommate Vikki and I explored the Silverlake neighborhood a few months ago and I fell hard. The place is lined with shops that I may or may not have seen in my dreams. While perusing the stock in Far Outlet, I came across this shirt and knew it was fate. Soft as butter, Silverlake, YELLOW, and fish (I’m a pescatarian). Safe to say it was made for me.
From: Far Outfit (Long Beach, CA)
How I style it: Bandanas are the ultimate multi-purpose accessories. I love tying them around bags for an extra splash of personality. I’m also big into wearing them in my hair now that I know how to properly tie them without looking like a witchy woman- not that that’s a bad thing.
Price: $5 (!!!)
4. Leather belt
From: Salt Lake City, UT
How I style it: This is my go-to belt. It has plenty of holes so I can wear it on my hips with pants or adjust it to sit on my waist with a flowy dress. Light brown leather anything is versatile and very classic, making it a great closet staple and pairing piece. *Currently rocking it with high-waisted black jeans and a tucked in striped tank.
5. Sterling silver coin belt
From: Salt Lake City, UT
How I style it: I am a sucker for coin belts. When I found this one in a hole-in-the-wall shop in Salt Lake, I thought it was too good to be true. The Native American details on the discs are fantastic, too. I usually wear this with on my waist with oversized dresses.
6. Hand-tooled oversized leather clutch
From: Etsy vintage shop
How I style it: I was on the hunt for a hand-tooled leather bag for forever. My mom (who is obviously one of my biggest fashion icons) has the most stunning hand-tooled leather luggage, which inspired me to look for some of my own. I saw some on the internet, but I wanted it to be authentic, so I furthered my search. Eventually, I came across this beauty below. Since purchasing it, I’ve worn it out for a casual night on the town (jeans and t-shirt) and to more formal events (all black everything).
- Winner: Teal dress with white flowers
This number wasn’t scored at the store; I actually picked it up right across the hall. The gauzey cotton goddess dress below is my most cherished vintage piece to date. My mom wore it the summer she first met my dad, also pictured below. Summer of 1979. I remember the first time I wore it, I walked down the stairs and my dad did a double take. “Wow, I thought you were Mommy; I remember her in that dress.” Golden Memories. It will forever be my favorite.
Shopping secondhand is key.
Let’s sum this up: It is greener. It is [usually] less expensive. It hooks you up with a look that is entirely unique to you. Plus, it is the doorway to another time. If any of the points I just noted or mentioned throughout this post are topics of interest, take a walk to the local thrift shop and get lost on a journey through the racks.