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thrift adventure

March 22, 2011

American Apparel shirt. AGAIN skirt.

To start my spring break, Beth Jones invited me to thrift at Savers along with Laurel Dailey who documented everything. Both girls are amazing at what they do so it definitely amped the normal shopping experience. We discussed our method to the madness over some coffee – Beth came super prepared with her purse on her waist… and I’m not entirely sure how I never thought of that myself. Realizing this was just as prominent going to the Barney’s Warehouse Sale in cumbersome layers while noting the rest of the girls came in leggings and tank tops – but that’s a completely different madhouse.

See how clever that is??

I get questioned a lot on how I approach thrifting. There IS a method to the madness; case in point, both Beth and I left with an arsenal of spring goodies and seperately totaled cheaper than $45 bucks. To follow, a couple of personal tips:

  • Try not to get overwhelmed. As you can see, Savers is like the Target of Goodwill. There are racks beyond racks of clothes – thankfully, sorted by types AND sizes. But just take a deep breath and know what you want/like. I tend to gravitate towards blouses, skirts, and tops. Beth goes for pants and printed tops.

  • Make sifting easier by looking for quality. There is so much junk to sort through, and I’m the type who is OCD about seeing everything before I buy it – you can’t do that here. I satisfy that “am-I-getting-the-best-I-can-get” by running my fingers along the hangers until a color/fabric/print catches my eye – then I’ll pull it out and examine the cut. That way, I get the feel that I’ve seen as much as I could have.

  • Go with a friend. Often, I shop alone – I can get more into the zone that way, but that leaves me with a lot more space to cover. With a friend, you can divide and conquer. I was already exhausted looking at my normal racks and didn’t bother to go through pants or accessories. This helps later when you start trying stuff on because you can grab what they give up… which leads to…

Getting a second opinion from the boyfriend

  • Try everything on, you might surprise yourself! I throw everything I might like in the cart. I know there are a lot of people who rather just buy stuff, try it on at home, and return it later. Not sure if you can return items at a thrift store, but I can’t imagine the convenience to return a $3 top. So just try it on. Plus, you never know what looks good on you and what might mislead you.

  • Don’t get discouraged, and I know it’s very easy to. Shoulder pads may look terrible on you – consider how it looks taking them off. Pants aren’t exactly perfect – maybe get them tailored. A dress hem is unflattering on you – cutting the hem yourself is easy! Eventually you start to get a feel of what cuts/eras look best on you, and everything can be altered! If you think about it, spending $5 on a top and $20 on getting it tailored is far more rewarding and cheaper than buying it full price elsewhere.

My purchases.

Beth's purchases

  • Come inspired with a clear mind and fresh eyes. Some day when you’re feeling inspired but you’re not sure how to use that as an outlet, go to a local thrift shop and DIG. You’ll be amazed at what you can find! But again, don't be discouraged because not every visit is a winner. I've been in a store for over an hour and tried on at least five mediocre things and left the store with nothing.
Loved everything I got with the exception of that to-die-for snakeskin leather jacket by Oscar de la Renta. I weighed my odds with a size 14 jacket that didn't fit me and the price of tailoring it (if it's even possible)... it just wasn't meant to be. But I know it's okay because I haven't felt any buyer's remorse. But I would love to get your aspect on thrifting! Do you always go with a friend? Best thrift find? What is your method to the madness? Also, check out Beth's post for more pictures and her side of the story. Pictures by Laurel.

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86 responses:

  1. Great tips! And I think is thrifting is always better when you go with a friend, especially one that really knows your style and what would look good on you because they might find things that you skipped over. I once went to a thrift store with my cousin and would have left with nothing if she hadn't found this dress that I said I must try on, and which I fell in love with.

  2. to be honest, i am a major thriftaholic! seriously, like 90% of my wardrobe is thrifted...i just get more satisfaction out of knowing that i spent much less money but got more items that were unique and one of a i love the thrill of the hunt :P
    i dont really go shopping with a particular item in my mind, i just go with the hopes of finding anything that inspires me or stands out! but you definitely had some great tips, i love that blue striped dress! :)

    Fashion Bag 411

  3. This post was so helpful, thank you!! Thrift shopping can definitely be overwhelming but you've inspired me to "get back in the game" haha. Thanks and great finds! That dress is HOT.

  4. I tend to get overwhelmed with thrifting (I avoid sales racks like the plague just because I dislike sifting through heaps of clothing), but this post really was beneficial.

    And that blue dress that you got is definitely the eye candy of the lovely stockpile of thrifted goodies you got!
    much love.

  5. This was so adorable! You look fantastic girl. Totally wish I thought of doing this! I'm a thrift queen and you guys captured the "perfect essence" of thrifting. Great great job!


  6. I saw this on Beth's blog today too. Looks like you gals had a wonderful time!


  7. I absolutely loved this post! I don't go thrifting too often because there aren't very good thrift shops near me, just Goodwill and I've been there a couple of times. I think that this helped me alot though because maybe just maybe one day when I'm on vacation I'll go thrifting. Hopefully you can post more posts like this because this was very enjoyable to read! Nice purchases by the way! x

  8. thrifting adventures are alllllways my favorite. salvation army is always the best, especially when i find good things :D

  9. Man, I wish we had Savers in the PNW. Instead we have endless Goodwills, which is where I love to troll through racks of clothes just like you. I loved your advice on trying everything on. Even if something seems like a risk off the rack, you don't really know how it will look until you try it on.

    Sometimes if I find a skirt or a shirt that doesn't fit, but I love the fabric I will buy it and make it into pillows or a cute clutch. Gotta love the value!


  10. Awesome! Thanks so much. I recently went thrifting with three of my friends, and I only ended up with one sweater. These tips will be so helpful when we go back! My hopes are always super high, but when I get in there, I just get so flustered/overwhelmed. Now I can't wait to go back and score big for real!

  11. Aran

    Love your hair~ How do you style it? Would love for you to do a hair post!

  12. fannypack while shopping.. BRILLIANT IDEA

  13. I absolutely love this post, great great purchases and tips :)


  14. awesome skirt! and such a great shopping experience, i would love to visiting this shop one day, but where are u from, so I know where I need to go for my next vacation! ;)

  15. I'm awful at thrifting - I lack adequate patience! But I love your tips. And just seeing photos of your trip makes me a little jealous... the nearest Goodwill store has barely organized racks of clothing. And absolutely no dresses. How does that happen?!


  16. Amazing!!
    Love everything you both picked out, looks like you had a blast. Love your blog!

  17. Great shopping!!
    Esp I adore the blue & black body-con dress.
    You look so gorgeous.

  18. I think I shop better alone. Mostly because I take forever. Also, I like to go early. By early, I mean maybe 20 minutes after the store opens. I've noticed that the clerks start putting new inventory out around that time. I like having first dibs.

    Looks like you found some great pieces. Congrats!


  19. great advice! im inspired to go to savers now.

  20. love your outfit! that skirt is amazing! also love the purchases you made!

  21. The first photo is so beautiful!

    Have a Good Day!


  22. fantastic post - thanks for taking the time to write this out for us! :) I loved your tips!

    When I thrift i either get discouraged right away (usually by feeling out of place if there are too many bums/creepers around) or i find a treasure right away and it energizes me to hit up 5 or 6 thrift stores and make a day out of it!

    As i've done it more and more ive become more methodical about it, and i found myself agreeing with you about knowing and focusing on what you tend to like (i personally stick with mens sweaters, skirts, blouses, and jackets). I am completely clueless on what makes a good cut though! It this something you pick up on over time? Do you have any tips for recognizing this?

    I also always bring a belt into the dressing room with me - you never know what mediocre maxi-skirts or oversized sweaters will turn into fantastic belted dresses!

    Sorry for the long comment - ive been a long time reader, but this post really stood out to me, so thank you for writing it! i love your blog!


  23. Anonymous

    helpful tips hun and you guys are stunning! :)
    lol-my dad has that blue robe,he wore it on his wedding day-Vietnamese of course :P bahah

  24. LOVE your skirt, and really impressed by your finds. So jealous, as thrifting doesn't come very cheap in NYC!

  25. AWESOME tips! there is nothing better than a great thrift buy!

  26. Anonymous

    I love everything you bought! :) That's the Savers in my neighborhood and every time I go, I always find something. Loves it!

  27. that looks like so much fun! great finds!

  28. ahhhhh i wish i could do that!!! there aren't so many awesome thrift places here..the island is so small!!

  29. i love the photos!
    they're really amazing!
    Go check out the jewellery giveaway on my Fashion Philosophy blog!

  30. love your metallic maxi skirt in the first pics! You're so stylish dear! <3

  31. fantastic post!!! loved the tips and the knockout items you girls bought.
    also incredibly jealous of how gigantic your thrift stores are, in Aust, they are much smaller across suburbs.

  32. Great tips!!!! :DDD
    Lately Ive been trying to go to thrift stores without been overwhelmed and desperate! xD It seems impossible to me, *sigh*

    Its the first time I came into your blog and Im fascinated!!! really!!!
    One more follower here! ^^

  33. Love this post! So much to learn :D
    Love the golden maxi skirt :)


  35. holy crap that store looks amazing. i wish we had a savers in fla but i've never seen/ heard of it!!! it looks much better than goodwill :)

    <3 steffy
    Steffys Pros and Cons

  36. This was so cool to see! You two look great!

  37. Amazing clothes, love yourpurchases. The first two skirts, worn by you, are to die for. Love lookin' at these pictures, they are so inspirational :)

  38. you look great in all the pics! And I love your choices!

  39. Thank you! Honestly, thrifting has been mostly unrewarding for me, but I'll give it a chance this time!

  40. I absolutely love thrifting. Your finds look amazing - I'm so inspired to go shopping now!

    xo Sherrie

  41. Wow there's tons of stuff there. I rarely go thrifting and when I do I go alone. People's opinions conflict with mine especially when they don't understand what I see in something. I have gone with my mother she's probably the best person to go with since she's bias and confidence in.

    great post thanks for the tips for when I go next time.

    Fashion Nostalgia

  42. I love Savers! Is that the Savers on Lincoln St.? It looks familiar- I go there all the time! Plus I met Beth and Laurel at a little get together for the clothing line, Quail. What a small world. :)

  43. This is a great post! My friends hate thrifting, so I always go alone. When I come back with something, they're always like, "No way is that thrift!" I think it's also how you put it together. Accessories and such. I love vintage finds, but when I have it on, I don't want it to look like I just walked out of Goodwill.

    I wonder where the nearest savers is to SF? I'm in the mood now :)



  44. Cad

    I either go thrifting with friends or, when she's in town, my mom. It's kind of like our 'thing'. I enjoy thrifting more than any other type of shopping, simply because I enjoy the hunt for hidden treasure :) I do the same thing as you, surveying everything and only pulling out the things that catch my eye. I typically go for interesting, patterned button down blouses and I LOVE the selection of boots! I buy nearly all of my footwear at thrift stores because I like the worn-in look.


  45. COOL STUFF!! And the skirt is amazing... I want that!!

    xo thefashionguitar

  46. Nice tips, Like the photo's! the dress with the blue and the black is great!

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.
  48. I totally agree with your tips. I'm a thrift-a-holic myself and I always shop like that!
    You really never know what will look good!
    PS I LOVE that dress, I wish I could get a thrift treasure like that!

  49. so glad you got the blue dress! It looks great on you.

  50. Rach- that blue dress looks BOMB on you babe! I swear your killer frame is perfect for bodycon cuts...Great find! I was soooo bummed when they shut down Savers in HB (now replaced with Home Depot)...That might have been before your time but the Anaheim one is a close second to goodness! Looks like such a fun shopping day!


    Haute Khuuture Blog

  51. Thanks for wearing the skirt girl! You look amazing in it and styled it so well!


  52. Uhm! You found amazing things! I need to be at this thrift store. My local Goodwills have been utterly disappointing lately. I love thrifting though. It really is the best.

  53. LOVE those pink pants! i went to my favourite thrift store today but only came home with a lauren bacall biography and a 1960s bangle watch...hmph

  54. THanks for sharing your tips, I was actually thinking of going to Savers the other day, it's my favorite thrift store too! Which one do you go to?

  55. looks like u got some fab things!

  56. sooooooooo fun!- thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  57. hey! i shop there all the time! i do the same thing with throwing what i like in a cart and then afterwards checking them out in the mirror (usually no fitting rooms..) i had an embarrassing moment with savers fitting rooms... failed to lock the door and will probably never use those again.. =P

    maybe we'll run into each other some time!

  58. Great post!

    Have you ever been to Sav Mor? Its my friends secret that she shared with me at school. Seriously...the best. and so much cheaper. Come with Fashion Interest Group next time :) I will make sure to invite you! Like always, obsessed with you blog.

  59. Love that pink blouse and gold skirt!
    xo Cara

  60. Words of wisdom in this post. When are we gonnna hit up savers?? :p

  61. You have great blog! :)

  62. I have lots of thrifting madness! Not a lot of method other than going for vintage things and things that catch my eye. Loved your post on thrifting - some great tips there !

  63. What great finds. I used to be a thrifter but unfortunately I moved and the shops around here are not very good at all. In fact they are quite frustrating to go to.

  64. Cool! I wish we had thrift shops here!

  65. amazing pictures! you look amazing in that blue and black colour block dress <3

  66. Great post! Love it, as I am a girl who can spend hours upon hours in a thrift store!

    Xx One More Chance

  67. That black and blue dress looks amazing on you. Nice finds!

  68. gorgeous skirt

  69. Looks like it turned out to be a good shopping day. And you both make it look so easy.

  70. great tips and i LOVE the blue dress you purchased and the like kimono like robe beth purchased.

    I usually shop with a friend. I find one is fine. shopping with more than on is really hectic. haha and i do the same thing you do by getting the bf's opinion. He always says its up to me but i like adore his opinion.

    Vi from Cali

  71. Thanks for the tips! Personally I have no patience in rummaging in tons of clothes so this is truly helpful!
    I’ll try thrifting soon and use these new found tips!

  72. Ahhh!!! I'm a huge thrifter and I'm so glad to see you do this post. Style is all about mixing old with new and you do it so beautifully.

    I would love it if you checked out my THRIFT FASHION BLOG and let's discuss girlfriend!



  73. I thrift once a week. I fill my cart with tons of stuff no matter the sizes (one thing i think is the best is looking though all sizes. a lot of the times you'll see a XS in a L section).

    All my clothes are thrifted and really proud of it *passion for vintage*

  74. Thanks for Tips.........I love this Skirt! Always i check your blog to know about Tips & Designs.

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