Monday, October 4, 2010

How do you shop vintage/thrift?

I have a strange dilemma. Or is it a "problem?" Maybe its a state of mind... Either way, I feel a somewhat clueless when it comes to shopping for clothes at thrift stores, rummage sales, and vintage shops.

I love all these fashion blogs I have been discovering over this past summer in my free time, and they've inspired me to start one of my own (I'm having so much fun!). But I'm always envious of people who post about finding a fabulous (insert cool piece of clothing) at thrift/rummage/vintage shops and markets. I always think, "Where did they find that? How did they find that? How come I never find stuff like that..."

Don't get me wrong, I adore thrifting and vintage shopping: you always find the coolest things whether its clothes, accessories, furniture, random knick-knacks, etc. And when you find them, its literally like finding a gem in a pile of rubble: the thrill of the hunt is addicting. I feel the same way about mega-sale shopping (Loehmann's, Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, I'm looking at you guys). And finding accessories is old hat to me: I'm like a bloodhound on the scent when it comes to funky purses and jewelry (don't think you can hide from me! I see you at the bottom of that pile there!). But there's always something about the clothes department that throws me. Why is this?

Is it the overwhelming amount of stuff you have to dig through to find those gems? Is it the strange mish-mosh of clothing from different years, styles, age groups, and stores? Sometimes I fear its that little imp sitting on my shoulder (she looks and sounds strangely like my grandmother...) saying "Do you even know where that's been?" (Hush! That's why washing machines and dry cleaning were invented!). Its after these particular thoughts that I start to feel a little snobbish, and that's definitely not what I want. I usually leave somewhere after all these thoughts collide, empty handed, flummoxed, and a little disappointed. What am I missing?

Is there a method to the madness that I'm missing (kudos for alliteration! *geek*)? Is there some secret technique that my mother forgot to pass down to me from her ancestors? How do all these people find the coolest clothes for those rock-bottom prices? My friend and I are waking up early, bundling up, and heading down to this church rummage sale this Thursday morning, October 7. A friend of mine tells me its huge, and last year she found a Gucci belt for $10 and a pair of designer leather pumps that she googled when she got home: they were like $400 shoes that she got for $15! I'm stoked.

Basically, does anyone have any advice? Is there a "technique" you employ for sniffing out those cute tops, skirts, sweaters, shoes and jackets? I'd love to hear from any veteran thrift/vintage shoppers who might help a girl get a clue! Or share you best find!


  1. I wonder about this too! I'm no good at finding vintage stuff -- my only good vintage pieces comes from my mom or grandmother! Lately I've been thinking that I may craft a post around my mom's closet though! :-)

  2. i have to be in the mood to find something. i need to feel energized, since looking forever isn't always fun.
    looking for a while is supposedly part of the fun?
    but no tips i'm afraid.

  3. I was totally new to thrifting when I started my blog 6 months ago. I started with accessories -- belts, clutches, jewelry -- and then ventured into the clothes. I always go with some kind of list in mind to help navigate the madness. I'd suggest going to thrift stores in semi-affluent areas, because there's likely to be some designer labels mixed into the "junk", and usually the people who price the items have NO idea what they have! And remember, patience, patience, patience :)

    Once you get the hang of it, you'll find that it is the best feeling to find a buried treasure (especially when you can get it on the cheap!).