The thing about thrifting

53 Comments
posted on February 10, 2011 by  |  posted under Coupons & Budgeting

tips for thrifting

I’m just gonna start off by saying that I’m not a huge fan of thrifting. First of all, it’s not even a word K? And second, most places I thrift at tend to smell like a bad combo of moth balls and and an overcompensating amount of really bad fruity Febreze. Like something your grandma would pick out and say, “Now doesn’t that smell nice sonny?” No. Grandma. Actually, it kinda stinks. And by the way, I’m a girl.
I digress.

What I’m trying to say is, thrifting can be kind of tough nuggets. I mean, most of the stuff in there is usually from the 80′s. Meh right?! Been there. Done that. Looked kinda really bad while doing that. But here’s a little trick for sifting out the bad stuff from the good. And taking that good stuff home for a really good price.

Exhibit A: I give you the shapeless 80′s blouse with kind of huge shoulder pads. {I left the wrinkles in it and everything, JUST so you’d get the full effect. I’m so nice.} I’ve gotta be honest. While sifting through the racks at the store, the only thing that caught my eye about this baby was the color. I die for the color. So that’s the first step. When thrifting, you gotta find something {anything} about the item you absolutely LOVE. Otherwise, I pinky promise it’ll be at the back of your closet within a week.
tips for thrifting

Exhibit B: After you’ve found an item, that might be kind of ugly, but has an element that you LOVE, start thinking about the different ways you could wear it. And what items in your closet have the potential to compliment it. Personally, my favorite way to transform ANY item is to belt it. I swear, it makes basically every piece of clothing look better. Try it sometime. With a thrifted belt, obviously. I swear if you ever pay full price for a belt, I will hunt you down. No excuses ladies. There are amazing vintage belts EVERY. WHERE. For 50 cents. Not even kidding. I don’t make jokes about serious stuff like this.
Anyway. That’s the second trick. Visualize in your mind, how you would wear it and what you would wear it with. If brilliant ideas just start popping into your brain, that thrifted item was made for you baby. If your mind is NOT suddenly flooded with brilliance, put that ugly thing back immediately and run Forrest run.
tips for thrifting

Exhibit C: As you can see, my items of choice for this example were a chunky necklace, a thrifted belt and a little roll of the sleeves. But honestly, the possibilities are endless for this sucker. I can’t wait to pair it with my boyfriend blazer, a floral cardigan, skinnies or high-waisted flared jeans. And fortunately for us, AND our little 80′s consumed thrift stores, those little ugly shoulder pads are back in friends! So embrace the pads. They will love you back. I use mine to quarterback my way through the hallways at school. And yes. I just used football as an analogy for something involving fashion. Husband needs to get in here and read this right. now. Such a proud moment.

tips for thrifting

For more, visit me at The Daybook.

tips for thrifting


53 Comments
COMMENTS
  1. February 11th, 2011 at 1:03 am
    Kate says:
    I will never look at a thrift store the same way. I'm off to find me a FIND.
  2. February 11th, 2011 at 5:08 am
    Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
    Wow. That t-shirt didn't look promising until you added your magic touch! I enjoy seeing how your sense of style can transform things!
  3. February 11th, 2011 at 6:30 am
    Suzanne says:
    I cannot believe you found a way to make that look so great! I love thrifting and this makes we want to go right NOW!!
  4. February 11th, 2011 at 6:40 am
    Peggy says:
    I must admit that shirt looked hideous on the hanger but absolutely stunning once you did your magic!!! Me personally, I don't do belts... (belts are for thin girls with waspish figures... I've got curves, european curves which make belts run screaming, ha ha !) but you... you definitely DO belts and look gorgeous in doing so!!!

    Isn't the challenge so much fun!?! :) (and the thought that shoulder pads are back in leaves me wanting to cry.... why oh why did they come back in... it was pure torture the 1st time around. i ripped every single one out in the 80's... otherwise you would hear me saying "football... football has been very, very good to me!" must be said with a fake accent LOL!
  5. February 11th, 2011 at 6:40 am
    Peggy says:
    I must admit that shirt looked hideous on the hanger but absolutely stunning once you did your magic!!! Me personally, I don't do belts... (belts are for thin girls with waspish figures... I've got curves, european curves which make belts run screaming, ha ha !) but you... you definitely DO belts and look gorgeous in doing so!!!

    Isn't the challenge so much fun!?! :) (and the thought that shoulder pads are back in leaves me wanting to cry.... why oh why did they come back in... it was pure torture the 1st time around. i ripped every single one out in the 80's... otherwise you would hear me saying "football... football has been very, very good to me!" must be said with a fake accent LOL!)
  6. February 11th, 2011 at 6:47 am
    Jessy@Fairytale Frosting says:
    Ha! Your description is exactly how I feel about thrift stores! Yet, I also know there are amazing finds, so I should try them more often.
    LOVE what you did with that shirt. I never would have thought of that. I cant do belts though, so thats probably why! ha!
    Love it! Great transformation!
  7. February 11th, 2011 at 7:39 am
    Angie says:
    Girl, you could make a garbage bag look fabulous!
  8. February 11th, 2011 at 8:25 am
    Kristi says:
    Great post Sydney. I thrift alllll the time. I think about 75% of my closet is now thrifted finds..Love it!
  9. February 11th, 2011 at 8:26 am
    Kristi says:
    Great post Sydney. I thrift alllll the time. I think about 75% of my closet is now thrifted finds..Love it!
  10. February 11th, 2011 at 8:45 am
    Abby Noel says:
    Sydney! Gah you are so SO hilarious. And well done with the thrifting. [You're RIGHT! It's totally not a word. That red underline is really bugging me...]
  11. February 11th, 2011 at 9:11 am
    Sofia says:
    Wow. So genius. That color is FANTASTIC and I love the way you styled it.
  12. February 11th, 2011 at 9:13 am
    Carman Hinson says:
    Great job girl!!!! You are so awesome and motivating to make me wanna go thrift shopping that's for sure! Keep the ideas coming. ;)
  13. February 11th, 2011 at 9:19 am
    Gini says:
    I want to be a thrifter when I grow up.......(I'm 45). I just don't know how to go about it. Maybe this will be my inspiration.
  14. February 11th, 2011 at 9:33 am
    Selina says:
    i just wiped out the blouse section at goodwill the other day... totally magical those things!

    ~selina
  15. February 11th, 2011 at 9:37 am
    Tori Thompson says:
    I think you pulled this look together very well! I really like it but, I am a little disconcerted about your idea of thrift stores. I know some thrift stores can be daunting and smell pretty bad. On the other hand there are a ton of highly organized ones with minimal smells :D Please check out my blog and maybe I can change your mind a bit, www.mythriftychic.blogspot.com. I should also note, I live in Los Angeles, and we have amazing thrift stores. But I have visited thrift stores all over the country and It is a hobby I love.
  16. February 11th, 2011 at 9:42 am
    Amy Wetsel says:
    This is brilliant! Such a great color, but the most attractive style, but add a belt (always a great accessory) and matching jewelry and you have a fashionable look. Why waste money on designer brands when you can look this good thrifted. Thanks, Sydney!
  17. February 11th, 2011 at 9:42 am
    Amy Wetsel says:
    This is brilliant! Such a great color, but not the most attractive style, but add a belt (always a great accessory) and matching jewelry and you have a fashionable look. Why waste money on designer brands when you can look this good thrifted. Thanks, Sydney!
  18. February 11th, 2011 at 9:44 am
    lark + linen says:
    best thrifting guid EVER ever.
  19. February 11th, 2011 at 9:51 am
    Heather says:
    I always want to take my time shifting through the DI. but with 2 small, kids, I have to find something quick or I'm going to start getting dirty looks from people wanting me to shut my kids up. Kids scream people, come on!, any ways... I love my 50 cent belt and my $5 heels.
  20. February 11th, 2011 at 9:59 am
    Jennifer says:
    I love that top! You make it look so pretty. These are great tips. My problem with thrifting is that I always get excited to go but once I get to a thrift store I get timid about sorting through people's old clothes, chicken out and leave. I should give it another chance.
  21. February 11th, 2011 at 10:01 am
    kelsey says:
    i've never thrifted for anything besides vintage t-shirts, but this looks amazing. take me shopping right now.
  22. February 11th, 2011 at 10:10 am
    Alivia says:
    I am pretty much speechless. And in awe, of your talent in both fashion and hilarious writing. So much love.
  23. February 11th, 2011 at 10:23 am
    Jackie (Frock Candy) says:
    One word... Brilliant! ... I'm so going thrift store shopping this weekend :-)
  24. February 11th, 2011 at 10:26 am
    Jackie (Frock Candy) says:
    One word... Brilliant! ... I'm so going thrift store shopping this weekend!
  25. February 11th, 2011 at 10:31 am
    Mikelle says:
    oh man, I love this girl. I love everything she wears, the daybook has made me look at my closet in a whole new way. I however will not be thrifting, it just is not my thing.
  26. February 11th, 2011 at 10:37 am
    Susana Escamilla says:
    amazing! Im totally going to go thrift shopping! I use to do it a lot but then stopped! Love this girl!!!! =)
  27. February 11th, 2011 at 10:37 am
    Grace Inman says:
    You totally changed my outlook on thrifting!!
  28. February 11th, 2011 at 10:43 am
    Laura says:
    LOVE this article! I think I've just decided out to spend my Saturday afternoon.. Thanks for sharing, Sydney!
  29. February 11th, 2011 at 10:58 am
    Sasha says:
    Sydney, you are the mind-reader! :)) Firstly, I adore this kind of pink-ivory color. I've been looking for an item in this color, but never got it. I don't lose hope, thouh. Secondly, I only discovered the magic of thrift-shopping a few months ago and I am so excited. I have got some really good stuff for almost free. Well, almost... Thidly (I start hating this transition), I just cut the shoulder pads off my 'new' thrifted blouse. Opps! But it looks better this way, I'm sure.
    xoxo
    Sasha.
  30. February 11th, 2011 at 11:05 am
    Amy says:
    Agh. You just made my day. I knew I was thrifting correctly. It just takes patience and some reassurance. I feel reassured! Thank you!
  31. February 11th, 2011 at 11:18 am
    Debbie @TheHipHostess says:
    So darn clever and so darn cute! Love that pink. I rarely shop retail any longer, it's all GoodWill hunting for me and oh the treasures I've found! I think it's all about the thrill of the hunt and the catch of the day! Would you believe I'm scouring the shops for a dress for son's wedding. Vintage is so much more chic. And fun.
    Thanks for the scoop!
  32. February 11th, 2011 at 1:02 pm
    Mary C says:
    Let's write to the dictionary people and have "thrifting" added to the next version. Cuz we all know it's a word, right? Love what you did with that top, girl!
  33. February 11th, 2011 at 1:09 pm
    Marie says:
    Sydney, I've been a huge fan of your blog since like last October. Your style is so inspiring. And you really are beautiful. Awesome post.
  34. February 11th, 2011 at 1:43 pm
    Cindy says:
    My sister and I are also confirmed thrifters! While we could both afford to buy whatever....it is so fun to not look like everyone else every season. Fun Fun Fun! We get great stuff for the kids too. My sister lives in a bigger city then me so she has more store options but I work the GW in a college town with lots of foreign students that have to get rid of stuff before then head hoe for the year...Burberry trench coat for $10...yes please!
  35. February 11th, 2011 at 1:44 pm
    Cindy says:
    My sister and I are also confirmed thrifters! While we could both afford to buy whatever....it is so fun to not look like everyone else every season. Fun Fun Fun! We get great stuff for the kids too. My sister lives in a bigger city then me so she has more store options but I work the GW in a college town with lots of foreign students that have to get rid of stuff before then head home for the year...Burberry trench coat for $10...yes please!
  36. February 11th, 2011 at 2:14 pm
    Saidah says:
    Mmm. Good idea. My problem is I don't get past finding something I like about it. I never think about how it's going to go with the rest of my wardrobe. Great post, Syd.
  37. February 11th, 2011 at 2:51 pm
    geri e. says:
    AMEN sista! In total agreeance. LOVE that color AND the shoulder pads. Just picked up a nice, hot pink little number complete with shoulder pads and a polka-dot pocket the other day. Embrace your inner QB.
  38. February 11th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
    myheartblogged says:
    I love thrifting. I find great deals, and stuff that is current. Most of my clothing is thrifted, and it just takes practice to find great stuff.
  39. February 11th, 2011 at 3:08 pm
    Linda says:
    Thanks for your post! I love thrifting and am fortunate enough to have several nearby (some I purchase clothing from and some not). When looking for a blouse or skirt I usually just scan through the rack for a color or pattern that hits me and usually get lucky. Can't take time to look at each item (some things are not worth it, ha!). So I recommend looking for a particular color/pattern. Don't be discouraged if you don't find something at first - it might take a few trips. When you do find a few good buys you will be hooked!
  40. February 11th, 2011 at 5:08 pm
    Carol says:
    What a gorgeous look! It doesn't look like the same blouse/sweater!
  41. February 12th, 2011 at 4:43 pm
    Jenny says:
    This proves that if you're skinny and cute, you can where anything!
    • February 12th, 2011 at 11:10 pm
      Shelley says:
      ha. :) true. true.
  42. February 13th, 2011 at 7:24 pm
    Monica says:
    I love the Daybook and am so excited to see Sydney here!
  43. February 15th, 2011 at 12:23 pm
    vikki says:
    I am wearing my favorite pair of pants right now and they were thrifted. $5 and I wear them at least three times a week. Not bad for a $5 investment!! I love thrift stores for that reason alone. If you wind up hating it, you didn't waist too much on it and if you love it, WOW!
  44. February 16th, 2011 at 12:17 am
    kristen says:
    That's the smallest waist I've ever seen :) Oh...to be thin again (second grade) :)
    Nice work though! Loved this post!
  45. June 28th, 2011 at 7:58 am
    Denise Stec says:
    You are so cute! - love the new thrift find on you!
  46. December 5th, 2011 at 11:29 am
    laura buysse says:
    I LOVE thrifting - but I gotta have a good friend along makes it much easier to bounce ideas off of. I find myself stearing away from clothes though and more towards "home" things I buy shelves tables etc and refinish them to match my home. Love the tips though may have to start looking at clothes more!
  47. February 1st, 2013 at 9:58 pm
    Merilee Frazier says:
    I love to scout out recycling projects. Buy a short candlestick and a nice plate (smallish) superglue together and you have a mini cake platter to showcase a decorated cupcake gift for a friend... etc...
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