Recent Online Thrift Scores + Online Thrifting Tips

Remember how I swore online thrifting was not for me, but in the same post admitted I had just ordered a pair of pants off of Poshmark? Well, they arrived, along with two other online finds – and unlike the first two times I tried online thrifting (here and here), these fit perfectly and I’m happy with my purchases.

What changed?

I got smarter. Here are my three finds along with some tips for acing online thrifting.

1. Real life references. You’re much closer to guaranteed success if you’re looking for a version of something you’ve already tried on, whether it’s something you spotted at the thrift store or something in your own closet that you’re looking to replace or get in another color.

Last time I went to Sister Thrift, I happened to try on a pair of cream-colored Rock and Republic jeans and fell in love. They were soft like butter on my skin, just the right off-white color for fall and winter, and had enough heft to keep my legs warm in the cold, cold weather. And they were a great skinny fit that would offer another option to my roomier cream corduroys.

The only problem? They were too tight. I could button them just fine, but they squeezed in all the wrong places – I’m not a fan of spray-on legs or pulling in the crotch:

IMG_20171101_163524334
A near miss. (Or a near hit, as Victor Borge would say.)

See that teeny, tiny bit of distressing on the pocket? That was another reason I liked these pants – the distress gave them some textural interest and made me feel like a micro-badass. (“Micro” is how you describe distressing so innocuous that no one at work will notice.)

Since I knew what size was just a smidge too small, and since they fit great length- and waist-wise, I went a-hunting online for the next size up. I figured that the stretch in the fabric would make up for any extra room in the waist. Lo and behold,on my first visit to Poshmark I found a pair in my desired size, and after sitting on it for several days (I was a bit gunshy after my previous failures), I bought ’em:

IMG_20171206_114815990
Hello, lovelies.

One thing I like about Poshmark is the option to make an offer. If something has been up for more than a few days, chances are the seller will be open to negotiating on price a bit. In response to your offer, they can either counteroffer or ignore it; if ignored, the offer expires in 24 hours so you’re not on the hook 6 weeks later for something you no longer want. Thanks to my painfully polite Midwestern upbringing, I’m not much of a bargainer, but the face-saving outs built into this system let you avoid all the awkwardness of telling somebody you’ll pay them less than they’re asking. And if they want to be firm on price, they just won’t offer the “make me an offer” option.

Amateur tip: Make an offer that’s the asking price minus shipping. If the seller accepts, you essentially get free shipping while not gouging their profit too much. After all, this person is making available to you something you either haven’t been able to find in your local thrift store or don’t want to take the time to look for. Throw them a bone.

That being said, online prices mean you’re paying 5 times or more what you’d pay in a thrift store, and there are no returns, so…

 

2. Only buy what you know you’ll wear, both in terms of fit and style. This means I stay away from certain categories of clothing unless I’ve tried on the exact same item IRL but need a different color or better condition. (Blazers, I’m looking at you – I’ve almost pulled the trigger on a couple of beauties but it’s just too hard to know how a new-to-me blazer will fit in the chest, shoulders, etc.)  I’d also skip pants unless (like above) it’s a brand and fit I know works for me. Just too much room for error in waist size and rise.

Something more forgiving, though, like an open cardigan, is a far less risky proposition. I learned a season or two ago that I am not a cardigan lightweight; no matter how fetching the pattern, I can’t stand layers getting scrunched up under thin, tight-sleeved cardis, plus I can never find a way to button them (or not?) that doesn’t look twee. So I opted for a giant abominable snowman of an oversized cardigan – the kind that fits well in the shoulders but goes down to the hips and is substantial enough to really keep you toasty – and have never looked back. Happily, their roominess also means you can fudge a little when guesstimating re: the fit of an online find.

I currently have one such cardigan in my closet…

img_4229
Such great colors.

…but went looking for a second, both for variety and for wash days. Because sometimes it’s so dang cold that you are wearing a ginormous cardigan even while you sleep (hello New Hampshire nights).

I knew I wanted one with some good drapery (ha) to keep the silhouette interesting, and maybe some leather trim detail, for color contrast and, again, visual interest. I spent more time scrolling through Poshmark than I would like to admit, and came up with a lusciously thick, taupey-grey knit with caramel leather trim by Abercrombie & Fitch:

IMG_20171214_100937817

The colors are similar to the ones in my other cardigan, which meant it would go with everything that played well with my existing cardigan; and the waterfall instead of shawl collar plus the solid-color-with-trim  instead of a knit pattern would keep it from looking too samey.

And we know how I feel about zipper details:

IMG_20171214_101020944_BURST000_COVER_TOP
Who knew you could be so chic, so subtle, so high quality, A&F? You appear to no longer be the debaucherous, obnoxiously overbranded retailer of the malls of my youth.

This cardigan was available in multiple sizes from different sellers, so I got on A&F’s website to check their sizing. I also read every description sellers had posted, and several remarked on how thick and luxurious the knit felt. That’s what I wanted – not some flimsy coverup, but a workhorse that would keep me WARM. My research made me pretty sure I’d love it, and I do.

Amateur tip: for the love of all that is holy, use filters. You get much better results if you use a site’s filters instead of just searching for key words. Not to mention – you know how eBay, ThredUp, and for Pete’s sake even Google’s shopping search results eventually come to an end? Without enough filters, Poshmark’s algorithms will just keep. bringing you. listings. until your eyeballs are ready to pop out of your head. It’s a nefarious plot to fry your brain into spending inordinate amounts of time (and money) on their site, and the only way around it is to tick every box you can find in an attempt to narrow down your search. Sometimes this means doing a search multiple times using different variables, but trust me, your brain will thank you.

 

3. Shop for specific holes in your closet. The world of online secondhand shopping has exploded in the last few years; there are literally tens of thousands of items for you to peruse on any given site (Poshmark, ThredUp, ReStitch, eBay, Schoola, etc.). It’s also easy to find quality, even designer brands that may be harder to find in a brick-and-mortar thrift store, which means that if you don’t maintain focus, you can end up spending a lot more than you planned on “incredible” deals. (That’s in quotation marks because it’s only incredible if it will really pull its weight in your wardrobe.)

The story of one such wardrobe hole: on the first chilly weekend of fall, I saw a family of three at our holiday fair all sporting plaid flannel shirts.  “It’s the uniform here,” they enthused – “a necessity!” I knew plaid flannel would be right at home in my casual work setting and that I would get a lot of use out of a heavier button down, both over and under other layers.

And I knew which brands to shop for quality. This family was, of course, all wearing L.L. Bean, because – New England. But I found a gorgeous colorway by Lands’ End on Poshmark, and figured that as a native Midwesterner I could sport the Wisconsin-based version of L.L. Bean with integrity:

IMG_20171214_101735697
So. Dang. Snuggly.

Look at those COLORS! Delicious.  I may have worn it two days in a row:

IMG_20171212_165304_482
Duck boots + cable knit sweater + plaid flannel; the New Englander transformation is complete.

 

Last but not least:

4. Learn to sit with your finds before you buy. It’s easy to feel anxious based on how many people have “liked” or are “watching” a particular posting and then get a bad case of trigger finger. But that’s how you end up with pieces you regret.  When you find something you’re tempted to buy right away, use the “like” feature or simply bookmark the page and come back to it after a few days.  If it’s still there and you’re still excited about it, you’ll know it’s not just FOMO clouding your judgment. If it’s not there, fear not; most things you’ll find on these sites are mainstream enough that they’ll resurface at some point, maybe even in a better size or a color you like more.

 

What tips and lessons learned do you have to share about online thrifting?  What items would you never buy without first trying on?

Sweater Edit

Y’all. I had a little sweater/wardrobe freak out a few weeks ago. After my winter wardrobe post went up, I did some impulse thrifting and ended up with a sweater drawer that looked like this:

IMG_20171117_105945883

Holy exploding sweaters, Batman! You can’t even see all the knitwear stuffed in there.

So I had a little think about what I really wanted in my sweater collection – textures and colors I love and that have some variation, plus comfort and a great fit – and I pared it down to this:
IMG_20171205_161446590

Two of the above (upper middle) are sleeveless undershirts for layering. Sweater-wise, a few pieces got moved to my “loungewear” shelf or tucked away for next fall; but many more were donated.

Like this one and its blue-grey sibling, both post-wardrobe post additions:

IMG_20171130_111826568

I so wish these vintage Jaeger wool cowl necks would have made the cut (pun intended), but something about the cut makes them ride up after about 2 minutes of wearing. Nope.

I also said goodbye to this Ivanka Trump number for feeling too artificial (no, seriously) and laying oddly on my torso:

IMG_6475

The original price tag was $98 but I just can’t see it – the feel is not nearly luxurious enough; my hand slides off in a weird way.

Here are the two I added in. A deliciously warm grey sweater with partially dropped sleeves and a split hem – unexpected deliciousness from Old Navy:

IMG_20171126_164352_049

With a little closeup on the texture – this thing is SO. INCREDIBLY. SOFT:

IMG_20171126_175146642

This herringbone/bling/Peter Pan collared J. Crew number is just an excuse to wear something ridiculously festive:

IMG_20171128_205316_023

And I LOVE IT. Not classic enough to keep forever, but for $6 it’s worth all the fun I’ll have with it in the next few months/years.

And finally, this wool blend from Nordstrom’s that’s a beautiful taupe and has a slightly oversized cut (with split hems!):

IMG_6513

Please ignore the snail-trail line on the torso – I had just steamed it and didn’t let some of the condensation dry.

So now my sweater lineup looks like this:

IMG_6489 IMG_6500 IMG_6473 IMG_6471  IMG_3668 IMG_6513img_4240 wp_20161102_16_55_01_pro img_4497 wp_20161205_14_35_29_pro-1 IMG_20171128_205316_023 IMG_20171124_150421752

A little more trimmed down (12 instead of 14), a little more variety in color, and every piece something I love to wear.

Speaking of sweaters, they are easy to accidentally shrink in the dryer. If you have something in need of unshrinking, try using this tutorial from the good people at Tips Bulletin (no compensation for sharing this; they just suggested it might be useful to my readers and I agree!).
How’s your sweater game lately?

Thrifting Dupes for Online Finds

Sometimes I am bad and go surfing on the secondhand interwebs for things I wish I had in my closet. It never ends well (see here and here). Lately, I’ve had a bit of restraint, and have been rewarded with in-person dupes for my internet finds.

It started with this French Connection sweater, which was, alas, too small for me:

IMG_20171013_151327178

I loved that caramel-and-cream combo and the textured pattern, so I went looking online for that same sweater, with no luck. So instead of keeping an eye out online, I kept an eye out on my thrifting rounds for something similar:

IMG_6501

Cream & caramel colors? Check. Textured pattern? Check. This L.L. Bean sweater does the job, and for a lot less than the price of an online find.

Ta-da:

IMG_20171028_115315_355

 

In my French Connection searches online, I came across this fabulous tomato red number:

m_59108bea13302a7a4600660f
Source

I loved the color and the split/hi-lo hem. The price was right ($11 – although I still had to pay $6.49 for shipping). But there was no way to tell if it would fit. I put it out of my mind by thinking about how disappointing it would be to have it show up and be too small.

But then, lo and behold, for less than the selling price of the French Connection sweater online, my very first Eileen Fisher find hit the nail on the head:

IMG_6500

It’s 100% merino wool and a great fall color:

IMG_20171028_172920496

The lesson I’m supposed to learn from this is that when I’m tempted to snap up some online find, I’d do better to wait and let the thrift gods send me something just as good (or better!).

Buuuuuuut… after letting them sit for a few weeks, I just bought some cream-colored skinny jeans off the internet. I tried on a smaller size in the thrift store – that was my inspiration – so I am reasonably confident they’ll fit. Who knows, though – I’m 0 for 2 in terms of online thrift finds success. Let’s just hope this one breaks the streak!

 

What thrifting habit do you *know* you should give up, but you have a hard time leaving alone?

 

PS To all my American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! (And a VERY belated Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers as well.) May you thrift super-chic outfits with stretchy waistbands to accommodate all the delicious food you’ll eat this week!

Thrift Finds: October 2017

First up, I want to share with you all Nadia at Happy Malista’s recap from her 10×10 challenge; she shared her outfits as well as outfits from a few other bloggers whose challenges she enjoyed, including yours truly! It’s sometimes hard finding a style blogger whose style is close enough to your own to resonate but different enough to inspire you; Nadia’s 10×10 hits that sweet spot for me. She’s convinced me I need to replace the blazer I used to own that was kind of a spring take on moss green…

And now, on to my thrift finds from last month!  Starting with the NOs:

A great soft dark grey turtleneck with split hem, made of supima cotton, that was too baggy – sigh:

IMG_20171013_152719743

A Talbots sweater that made me feel like I live in a ski chalet – look at that great fringe!

IMG_20171013_153206604

A wonky fit in the torso, though:

IMG_20171013_153200362 (1)

I’m on the hunt for a caramel-colored turtleneck but this one was giant in the armpits:

IMG_20171013_152917179

It hid its ginormous pits well, though:

IMG_20171013_152912016

This dark cognac trench was a dream – 100% wool, and just had so much character:

IMG_20171013_160744484_BURST001

It was a little TOO oversized on me, and the color a bit intense – see how it’s the first thing your eye is drawn to in the picture, instead of my face? Sign of a tone mismatch.  Anyway, this would have fit my fantasy life (city dweller with a 20 minute walk across the Loop to get to my office) but not my real life (quick jog down the block to my office, then where do I stash this monster?), so I left it there.  Tear.

It’s hard to tell, but this riding jacket by Ralph Lauren was too big on me. The cut is very equestrian; can’t you see it paired with jodhpurs?

IMG_20171013_154652648

But here’s where it shines – velvet collar and some purple woven in with that moss green. It’s like heather in a blazer!

IMG_20171013_160343816

Various pants I tried out because I thought I needed grey jeans (probably not true):

IMG_20171013_154055468 IMG_20171013_153914420 IMG_20171013_153732837

Several sweaters that didn’t make the cut, such as:

Loft – loved the diamond pattern but it was scratchy-atchy-atchy, as one of my kid’s storybooks says:

IMG_20171013_152605229

Same with this Gap sweater – scratchy, and that neck plus those sleeves totally remind of the year 2000:

IMG_20171013_152216235

Too much blue in this green sweater by Land’s End – but it fit perfectly! (Their tops are usually too wide in the torso for me):

IMG_20171013_152111795

Italian wool from Banana Republic, too tight (that smudge is the mirror, not a sweater defect):

IMG_20171013_152418998

And a J. Crew dress that underwhelmed, I think mostly because it was short enough to need leggings, but lightweight enough to show any lumps and folds from underlayers:

IMG_20171026_163853216

That bottom half is navy, despite its greenish tinge in this photo.

 

And now, for the winners!

You’re familiar by now with my new cable knit sweater by Workshop by Andrea Jovine:

IMG_20171013_153359855

Here’s my new goose down coat by Larry Levine; it retails for up to $200 but thrifted for $20. I may not be psychologically ready for the cold, but I will be sartorially ready for it!

IMG_20171013_154535594

It’s just this side of dark charcoal, so hopefully it will not wash me out quite as much as pure black. Honestly, though, if I’m warm and I paid 10% of MSRP, I don’t care. Functional wins out over everything else in this case.

Here’s my first Eileen Fisher find! A bright, orangey red that is sort of intensely bright – what a great fall color:

IMG_20171026_164029416

Check out that split hem!

IMG_20171026_164024202

To wit, here it is styled:

IMG_20171031_090119432 IMG_20171028_172920496

And this tan/cream patterned sweater by L.L. Bean:

IMG_20171026_163718207
There’s a cat balancing on my phone!

…with a fun hi-lo split hem:

IMG_20171026_163725289

Here it is styled:

IMG_20171101_200831_843

And last but not least, this merino wool plaid scarf in colors that complement my wardrobe in stellar fashion:

IMG_20171016_173945_518IMG_20171024_165459875

 

Overall, a pretty good month.  Onward to November!

Did anything in my finds catch your eye?  What did you thrift this past month?

Finding the Perfect Cable Knit Sweater

I hate cable knit sweaters.

I can’t really deal with how preppy they look, how plain and boring it feels to see the same. twisty. pattern. repeated over and over.

NO

If they are your jam, I apologize now.

The closest thing I’ve ever owned to a cable knit sweater was this mint deal from a few winters back…and it was a flop. But how catalogue-worthy is this shot?!  Haha.

IMG_1795

 

Then one day a few weeks back, I spotted this baby on Instagram:

And suddenly my attention was captured.

What made this different from the samey-same feeling of traditional cable knit sweaters and cardigans? First of all, the cable knit was BIG and BOLD which considerably reduced the twee factor.  Second, there was other texture going on – a sort of chic waffle that is one of my favorites – and it made the cable knit a feature, not the whole story.  Then that split hem (another favorite) updated it out of the traditional prep aesthetic. And the flecked knit job (yet another fave) brought even more texture and visual appeal.

Refinery, the Instagram account that featured the sweater, is a consignment shop in Oregon City, Oregon. I have no idea whether they ship, but I was so taken by it that I inquired whether it was still for purchase (nope). I then spent a bunch of time searching on ThredUp, Poshmark, etc. for the sweater, which is by Urban Day.  No luck.

Then I figured I would just keep a thrift eye out for something similar, and saved the image on Instagram for easy visual reference while thrifting. (Did you know this is a thing? There’s a little bookmark or ribbon-like icon below a post that lets you save it to your “collections.” Learned that handy little tip from The Anna Edit in this video, where she uses the save and “collection” features to keep style notes that help her flesh out her seasonal capsule wardrobes.)

Lo and behold, the thrift gods smiled upon me, and I spotted this baby by Workshop by Andrea Jovine not long after:

IMG_6472
Don’t worry, I don’t actually store my sweaters on hangers – that stretches them out!

Giant cable knit? Check. Other texture of a waffle-y variety? Check.  Split hem? Check.  Flecked yarn? Nope, but you can’t have everything.

This sweater has quickly become a favorite – I feel like its relaxed chic vibe, particularly its loose semi-cropped silhouette, instantly catapulted me into realms of style blogger cool I rarely reach. And it is so soft. 

Something you can’t see in the pictures?  It’s got some not-so-nice pilling happening. More than I can reasonably tackle in one sitting.  This means the yarn is made of short fibers, which are cheaper (and poorer quality).  So as much as I love this sweater for what it is, I’ll be keeping an eye out for a higher quality upgrade.

So cozy:

IMG_20171014_104252838

Sweater chic:

IMG_20171016_173106085 (1)

 

What are your feelings on cable knit?  And what’s an item or style of clothing you had to find juuuust the right version of before it even remotely appealed?

 

Thrift or Treat: Thrifting for Halloween at Savers

This is my very first sponsored post. That means that Savers sent me a gift certificate to go check out their Halloween selection. Thanks Savers!

One of the most fun reasons to thrift shop – and a great way to ease newbies into thrifting – is hunting for costumes:

1923702_23742885310_2560_n
Molly Ringwald costume at a rollerskating party, circa 2008. That sweater was thrifted for the occasion; afterwards I wore it, unironically, in real life. #noaccountingfortaste

Halloween – aka primo opportunity to thrift a costume – is just a few weeks away. So when Savers asked me if I wanted to peruse one of their stores for costume thrift finds, I was all over it.

If you are new to Savers like I was, it’s a for-profit thrift store chain. Although a small amount goes to local nonprofit partners, percentage-wise, the overwhelming majority of what you pay goes to Savers.  Nothing wrong with that – pre-owned items still end up with a new lease on life – but since I was confused by some of the messaging in the store about donations and non-profit partners, I want to be clear.

IMG_20171013_134244943IMG_20171013_134252465 IMG_20171013_134258130

My first impression was that Savers is really on it vis-a-vis Halloween.  A lot of thrift stores sort of half-heartedly assume you will come thrifting for a costume but don’t do much to make your search easier. By contrast, Savers has a smorgasboard of strategically organized offerings.

Secondhand costumes
This Savers location had one of the better collections of used costumes I’ve seen, including these gems.

For the Trekkie:

IMG_20171013_134550115

Classic skeleton:

IMG_20171013_134420805

Ms. Muffet:

IMG_20171013_134539083

Merida:

IMG_20171013_134435081

For when your friend goes all out as Thor but you’re lazy and just want to put on a Loki t-shirt:

IMG_20171013_134517401

And Supergirl – which I would have bought for my kid if we didn’t already own this exact outfit (thanks Uncle Chaka & Uncle John!):

IMG_20171013_134356570 (1)

 

Next up: themed costume sections with potential secondhand costume ideas and accessories in one spot. Here we have all things clown, with rainbow craziness as the centerpiece of your costume…

IMG_20171013_134804831

…plus retail accessories to finish it off:

IMG_20171013_134810920

There was a similar pirate section, superhero section, etc.

Then there’s retail makeup (something you probably don’t want to get secondhand):

IMG_20171013_161544930

And for those in a creative rut or working on a deadline, Savers has a line of retail costumes:

IMG_20171013_134733906 (1)

The quality on these was pretty low and the prices pretty high – $25 for a cheap Luke Skywalker-esque costume when you could have thrifted an old karate jacket and brown pants and borrowed your kid’s lightsaber – so as with all but the best pre-made costumes, I recommend you skip this section.

Last but not least, and my personal favorite: costumes made out of non-costume thrift finds.

How often do you see hideously out-of-date wedding dresses at the thrift store? Find one that fits reasonably well (or can be safety-pinned), dump some red paint on it, and you have zombie bride, newlywed ghost, or Carrie at a prom-gone-wrong:

IMG_20171013_134314553

Or skip the blood, paint your face white with heavy black eye makeup and some white streaks in your hair and you’ve got bride of Frankenstein.

Next up, the erstwhile Kate Middleton at a disco roller party:

kate-middletonIMG_20171013_134342104

…right??  Or you could do a modern-day take on Rainbow Brite, a unicorn, etc. etc.

Your preschooler wants to be a bumblebee? Grab this and some pipecleaners for antennae and you’re in buzzzziness (sorry, couldn’t help myself):

IMG_20171013_134408170

This has mermaid written all over it:

IMG_20171013_134824568

SO much leopard print to be had at thrift stores – just grab bottoms like this and a leopard print top, paint your face, stick on some cat ears, and you’ll look purrrfect:

IMG_20171013_143836504

Olive green pants + aviators and you’re Tom Cruise from Top Gun:

IMG_20171013_141133416

This is decidedly Hamiltonian – pull some knee-high socks over leggings or up to meet knee-length capris, thrift some brogues, use a chiffon scarf as a cravat, put your hair in a ponytail, and you’ll look as fetching as a federalist:

IMG_20171013_141041779

This + fedora + one of those grabby arms to reach things on the top shelf = Inspector Gadget:

IMG_20171013_140621924_BURST000_COVER_TOP

Throw this over some puffy snow pants and get yourself a fondu fork (there’s at least one in every thrift store) for a 1970s ski bunny ensemble:

IMG_20171013_153200362

Tweed pants (also easy to find at the thrift store) + this gorgeous heather green/purple tweed blazer by Ralph Lauren = Scottish game warden. Put on some waders and carry around a fishing pole and you’ll be a fly fisher. Or slap on your nicest leggings and a pair of riding boots, top it off with a black baseball hat and be an equestrian à la Lady Mary:

IMG_20171013_140730432

Stuff this with a pillow, stick on a sheriff’s badge, top it off with a faux-fur Russian-style hat with ear flaps (also plentiful at the thrift store), and you’ve got Marge Gunderson from Fargo – bonus points if you’re already pregnant:

IMG_20171013_141524787

 

Y’all, I am not even that creative in the costume department but just by strolling through the aisles I came up with over a dozen ideas.  The thrift store is the place to concoct your costume – and Savers’ mix of thrift finds, accessories, and makeup makes it so easy you might even be able to one-stop-shop your look.

Now I want to know – what costumes have you thrifted?

Thanks again, Savers, and Happy Halloween hunting, Thrifters!

Thrift Finds: September 2017

Let’s take a look back at September’s thrift finds – the stuff I’ve been thrifting as I shift back to a colder climate!

First up, a few dresses bought at the Davis Square Goodwill in search of a good candidate for the town festival. This sleeveless number by Talbots you’ll recognize from the What I Wore post since it ended up being a hot day:

IMG_20170915_171954772
Less orange, more coral in real life.

This striped Gap dress with bracelet-length sleeves also came home with me. With its thick knit it’ll be good for transitional temps; plus the stripes will work in my more casual workplace:

IMG_20170915_172041074

Despite being a color I love and having roll-tab sleeves (y’all know my affection for these), this long-sleeved romper made me feel like a Coachella attendee. Too short and sort of…sloppy? floppy? for my taste and my lifestyle:

IMG_20170915_172230915_HDR

I can’t decide if it’s better or worse from the side:

IMG_20170915_172237308

But that miss was redeemed by this scarf win:

IMG_6442

 

Next up was a trip to Sister Thrift in Framingham, which I visited after the one in Watertown. The lighting in the fitting room was abysmal; I apologize in advance.

This sweater had my favorite fitted proportions but too many bobbles on it, like your aunt crocheted it for you in 1986:

IMG_20170921_145925823 (1)

I’m pretty sure there’s a hand-crocheted blanket with that exact motif on the bed in my parents’ guest room.

This cardigan was a great color and had nice drape but was too big across the shoulders/in the sleeves. Wanh-wannnh:

IMG_20170921_150050009

Diane von Furstenberg in the wild! This puppy was 100% silk, my size, and check out that ginko print! I love it. Sadly the white was pretty dingy, the v-neck was waaaaay too low for work, and the hem was too short, so I left it for someone else:

IMG_20170921_145401669

This Caslon sweater dress came home with me, to be paired with leggings. This eBay listing will give you a better idea of the color – it’s much more of a royal blue. Sweater dress + zipper details + pockets = win in my book:

IMG_20170921_145640447

This military green field jacket by United Colors of Benetton also came home with me. Nice and cozy for New England fall, it reminds me of Nancy’s monster-bashing outfit in Stranger Things – which, let’s be honest, is half its appeal. My favorite part is the contrast plaid lining, which no one ever sees…but I know it’s there!

IMG_20170922_134136_002

 

My last thrift stop for September was the Goodwill in Portsmouth, NH, where I was on the hunt for some longer-sleeved casual tops. All my long-sleeved tops are either blouses are sweaters, but in this casual, cool temps environment, I’m finding a big need for more t-shirt-like, long-sleeved tops that can layer under warmer stuff.

Thus I give you this salmon-colored Chico’s 3/4 length top with pearlescent buttons (on the sleeve, too, although you can’t see them here), which is made of Pima cotton and was half off. BAM:

IMG_20170929_141235334

The color is much less dark in real life:

IMG_20171003_182404_199
Paired with The Savile Row Co. polka dot vest, thrifted

Here’s another longer-sleeved tee, by Olive & Oak. Yep, those navy and white stripes are pretty similar to the Gap tee I wear to death, but this one has full sleeves, a neck that doesn’t flirtatiously reveal my shoulders, and a fun contrasting stripe there at the bottom. #thriftjustification

IMG_20170929_141135528

Check out that hi-lo hem:

IMG_20170929_141149168

I saw someone rock a warm oatmeal long-sleeved tee under a vest earlier in the day and figured I’d try to replicate it. This one was too greige and washed me out:

IMG_20170929_141046475

But this one, by L.L. Bean, was just the right oatmeal color with a little cream heathering for visual texture (and a mock turtleneck! joy!):

IMG_20170929_141001608

It’s going to be great under my navy vest (see above) and my cream/caramel/grey cardigan from last winter:

img_4229

Last but not least, a fun cotton moto jacket, by Gap I believe, with sleeves too big, but I thought you all would enjoy it:

IMG_20170929_141943065

 

What’d y’all thrift last month? Should I have bought the moto jacket? Comment to share your thoughts!

 

 

Thrift Finds: Dressing My Kid for Fall

Since we have recently moved from Hotlanta to a place with real fall (hello, New England), here’s a round up of what I’ve thrifted to help my kid keep from freezing on the playground.

My strategy was to keep the pants fairly neutral so I didn’t have to worry whether the tops clashed; and to skip the uber-girly stuff – I’m allergic to pink in high doses, and my kid doesn’t care yet (unless you’re talking about unicorns or T. Rex; then she has an opinion, which is “YES, ALWAYS”).

First up, tops:

IMG_6391 IMG_20170927_175714182 IMG_6376 IMG_6374 IMG_20170927_175653589
Gap, Gap, Vince, Carter’s, Gap 

That bunny hot air balloon shirt is much more of a coral color than the intense tomato it looks like here.

Sweatshirts
Worn with or without a shirt underneath, depending on the weather:

IMG_6379 IMG_6377 IMG_6372
Jumpin’ Beans, H&M, Oshkosh

Check out the little sweatshirt V on the heart top and the t-shirt hem on the bow top:

IMG_6378 IMG_6373
My kid’s clothes are cooler than mine.

 

Next we have pants:

IMG_6383 IMG_6382 IMG_6381 IMG_6384
H&M, Garanimals, Nannette Girl, Oshkosh (the dirt is my child’s, not from the thrift store; laundry day!)

Both pairs of non-stretchy jeans have these genius adjustable elastic inside the waistband that means my skinny lil’ kid can wear pants the right length that don’t fall down to her ankles:

IMG_6385

You move the button to whichever slit you need, and there’s one on either side to keep it even. PS See the polka dots on these? My kid is way better at patterned pants than I am.

 

Next up, dresses:

IMG_6380 IMG_20170927_181023098 IMG_6394
Gymboree, Old Navy, Carter’s

The one on the far right is obviously meant for summer, not fall, but our sweet neighbor nabbed it for us at the Goodwill a few months ago and I couldn’t leave it out! I love that orange embroidery.

Hoodies

The one on the left is like a fuzzy stuffed animal inside. The one on the right has a detachable hood, retails for $38, and was $6 in the boy’s section of the library consignment shop. Don’t be afraid to check both gender sections for your kid – you might find a gender-neutral classic or something marketed to a different gender from how your kid identifies but that your kid loves. Because how else am I supposed to find dinosaur shirts for my dino-loving daughter?  (Still on the hunt for that one…)

IMG_6387 IMG_20170910_182750127
Xhiliration; Polarn O. Pyret

 

Shoes & Underwear

IMG_6386 IMG_6393 IMG_20170927_175606380

Same for undies – the minion underwear was in the “boys” section but my kid loves them, so I bought 2 pair. Plus that extra elastic seems to fit better on her bum.

She’s currently wearing the shoes on the left (Saucony) and will grow into the ones on the right (Stride Rite). Between the two pairs there was only one pair of inserts, so I moved them to her current shoes and will put them back in the bigger ones when she grows.

These $2.50 rain boots have gotten some good use – both for puddle jumping and for playing pretend around the house.

 

Tops for end of winter/spring
In general I try to avoid buying clothes for my kid to grow into because I can’t predict in what season she will be in which size. But with cold weather that lasts into April here, I figured these next-size-up long-sleeved shirts will get some good use before she outgrows them:

IMG_6390 IMG_6389 IMG_6388
Circo, Land’s End, Carter’s

Those of you with supernatural memories out there will recognize the floral ringer tee from my kid’s thrifted wardrobe a few seasons back. We got a ton of use out of it so when I saw it in the next size up I couldn’t refuse. Also, that coral-looking tee in the middle is significantly pinker in real life. In case you were wondering.

 

Still on my list: a proper winter coat and winter boots. The consignment shop at the library may come through. The consignment shop also sells kids’ figure and hockey skates – welcome to New England! – and I am waiting to see whether we skate enough to justify buying a pair since they’ll only be good for one season.

Do you thrift for any kids in your life? If so, what do you look for?

 

Thrift Finds: August 2017

Most of August was spent getting ready to move and then moving. But – I know you’re shocked – I managed to fit some thrifting in there anyway!

Check out the decor and lamp shades I thrifted in August to help stage our house here.

And now for the clothes.

Floral cotton popover blouse by Old Navy
Y’all know me and my love for popover blouses:

IMG_6364

I’ve been looking for something with palm fronds, which has proven surprisingly tricky to find with a navy background instead of black. This one is like…a chic version of a Hawai’ian shirt. It’s also beautifully lightweight for those truly hot days. I’m in.

PS For those keeping score at home, yes I did have another tropical popover in blue, which I loved, but which was a tad too tight on the chest/shoulders. Aaaaand I also had another navy floral blouse – one which was less vacation-y printwise, but with a flowy cut that just looked sloppy on me. So when the Old Navy number came along with its perfect fit, I heard the universe telling me to let go of the other two less-than-greats.

You are the weakest link(s). Goodbye:

IMG_5570 IMG_5569

I am pretty sad about losing that awesome tropical print/color scheme. Sigh.

 

Plaid cotton popover blouse by Kenar:
Another cotton popover blouse – are we detecting a pattern here (pun intended)?

IMG_6365

I had been pulled toward a similar white-on-blue windowpane plaid popover before, one that didn’t fit so well:

WP_20170223_13_49_35_Pro WP_20170223_13_49_46_Pro

Another reason for rejecting that earlier edition was that it was too casual for work and I already had a plaid weekend shirt. But since moving to the Northeast, I’ve found that work attire (at least in my office) is quite a bit more laid back. The good fit on the new find makes it sleek enough for work while the plaid keeps it kickin’ for the weekend:

IMG_20170830_152554

Plaid shirt: Kenar – thrifted
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted

Next up, the Paige jeans that were miraculously left waiting for me in the fitting room at the Goodwill. I’m wearing them in the picture above as well as here:

IMG_20170829_154227

Vest: Savile Row Co. – thrifted
Shirt from my alma mater, retail
Jeans: Paige – thrifted
Shoes: City Sneaks – thrifted
Bag: Marco Avané – thrifted

Paige jeans, for those unfamiliar, are made in the USA and retail for around $200. BIG SCORE. These Skyline Skinnies were like new and fit me perfectly – no belt needed, which is a big plus in my book.  I’ll just have to adjust to having a second pair of jeans in my wardrobe… but with a cold climate and a casual office I imagine they’ll come in handy!

PS Yes I know skinny jeans are not really the hot new thing these days… since I tend to lag behind in trends (see: how long it took me to adopt skinnies in the first place), I’ll probably be wearing cropped mom jeans in about 2-3 years. You’ve been warned.

Mercer & Mason white blazer, new with tags
I’m digging the long, lean lapels on this blazer and the warmth it provides on brisk early mornings/late evenings here in New England:

IMG_6371

At no loss for blazers, I had pretty much decided I didn’t need a white one until I wore my white denim jacket to a wedding and felt under-dressed. This TJ Maxx brand features decent quality fabric and the lining keeps it toasty – linings were often problematic in Atlanta for this reason but are ideal here! The slightly off-white color will go with everything without washing me out (I hope – pasty white winter skin may yet prevail).


Olive faux suede ankle boots by Leila Stone
I know these don’t look terribly olive in these pictures, but they’re definitely on the green side of taupe.

IMG_6367

I’m calling these an impulse buy despite the fact that two or three days passed between when I first spotted them and when I bought them. I loved the subtle touch of color (it’s hard to find ankle boots that aren’t black/grey/brown), the asymmetrical “cuff” for lack of a better term, and the sassy little tassels on the zipper pull (although I wish the hardware was gold, but that’s my inner magpie speaking). They have my favorite toe shape – halfway between pointed and round – and the wood-like heel also appealed. It plays well with my wardrobe, unlike the other common option for heels, which is black. And they’re my size, hurrah!

But….

IMG_6368

…there’s a reason they had been donated to Goodwill. These shoes are faux suede, and judging by the tear in the fabric near the zipper, not high quality faux suede. Other evidence they are not well made, or else that they are very well worn, include wear spots near the toe and the heel on that same side (which luckily is the inside of the shoe, but it will still show).  And the heel is really too high for my personal comfort.

So why did I buy them? Mostly as a stop gap. As soon as I saw these, I started dreaming up all the delicious fall outfits they would complete, and I went looking online for something higher quality (and, most likely, retail). After spending an hour or two perusing different options, I realized that this was madness; I already had ankle boots I love, I was about to move and didn’t need to spend $100+ on new boots, and life would go on without my having a pair of olive shoes to make all my wardrobe dreams come true.  So to stop myself from pulling the trigger on something expensive and unnecessary, I spent $6 on these and told myself I could sew up the rip, my micro commute could survive the higher heel, and they’ll be fun while they last.

So now let’s see if I get any use out of them or just enjoy how they look on my shelf!

 

Last but not least, I thrifted a file organizer for my new office and a slew of hideous yet functional Laura Ashley thank-you notes which I have liberally sprinkled amongst my wonderfully generous and thoughtful congregation. And a couple of decorative pillows I have yet to convince the spouse are aesthetically pleasing. (To be fair, he was the one who started the throw pillow conversation…)

il_570xN.1053503140_mmcp

Right??? I like them too. $17 on Etsy; jacked up to $40 retail; $4 at the thrift store. BAM.

I also thrifted a goodly fall wardrobe for the child, which I will post separately.

 

So, your turn. What did you thrift this past month? Have you ever bought something ridiculous and/or crappy to stop yourself from spending a lot more money on a higher quality version? Or do you have way more self-discipline than I?

 

In Which I Impulse Buy on Poshmark

I’m not usually one for online secondhand shopping since you can’t try things on and secondhand sites either don’t do returns (eBay) or else make you pay return shipping (ThredUp). But I’ve found online shopping to have one really good use: when you find something in a thrift store that you absolutely LOVE that’s not your size but you’re reasonably confident another size will fit you, get on the internets and search for it.

Granted, this works best for mass market brands and even better for big box brands like those found at Target – you have a much better chance of finding the piece in question for resale online and you are more likely to know your size in that brand.

This combination worked in my favor a few months back when I found a dress by Merona that I fell for hard but that was just too small:

WP_20170215_13_39_32_Pro

I’m not sure if this is best described as “marled” or “Donegal tweed,” but I loved it. It had the texture I crave in muted red/navy, colors already in my wardrobe; it’s chic enough for work; and it has zipper details (a trend I know will one day go out of style but magpie that I am, I cannot help myself):

WP_20170215_13_39_51_Pro
WP_20170215_13_40_18_Pro

You can tell from that last photo that I’ve learned to use the manufacturer’s tag to search online for the same piece. (Thanks Adina J!)  Except an internet search with those digits yielded zilch.  So I started searching for the dress the old fashioned way, using keywords like “Merona,” “blue dress,” and “sleeveless.”

After some interesting detours, I found it in two sizes that might work for me on Poshmark. I had thought that (in line with their name) they only sold higher end and designer items, but either they’ve lowered their standards or they’ve always had a wide array of price points.

I figured I should ask the sellers of the two different sizes available what their thoughts were on fit. To do this I needed to sign up (of course), but I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was using my Google account – literally one of the quickest “get back to what you were actually trying to do” experiences I’ve had. Once I’d typed my queries, folks responded within the hour and were friendly and helpful in their replies, which is in line with Poshmark’s self-described social, active community.

A quick aside on Poshmark, for those unfamiliar with it (as I was). In the world of online secondhand shopping, it’s sort of a hybrid – individual sellers post their wares like on eBay, but Poshmark provides shipping labels like ThredUp. They will also, like eBay, provide a refund/free return shipping if the item is not as advertised; but unlike ThredUp, where you are welcome to return the item if you don’t like it (albeit after having paid return shipping), purchases are final.

Another eBay-like feature on Poshmark is the option to “make an offer.” Offers are binding but expire in 24 hours; in other words, if the seller accepts your price, you automatically buy it. If they don’t, nothing happens and you are free to purchase at their asking price.

Back to the dress. The first seller apparently hadn’t worn it as she simply relayed fitting information from Target’s website, but she was very prompt with her reply. (I wear different sizes in different Target brands, so that wasn’t super helpful.) Since the listing had only been up for 12 hours, I figured I should buy it right away if I didn’t want it to get snapped up.

So I asked myself if I was willing to spend $15 + $1 shipping on a dress that might not fit. $15 is double what I normally pay for a thrifted dress, but when it checks all the boxes and makes your heart sing, it’s pretty darn reasonable.

[About that $1 shipping fee – you get $0.99 shipping on your first order, but the way they advertise it is a bit deceptive. The “limited time” offer is described as only good during your first 24 hours, so I thought it was good for any purchase made within the first day, or that I could fill up my cart with items from various sellers and get $1 shipping for each item. Nope. Because items are sold by individual sellers, each item requires separate shipping (like eBay; unlike ThredUp).  Good to know if you plan on buying something bulky on your first day that will cost more than standard shipping.]

Once I had clicked “submit order” the seller messaged me to say she’d ship within the next day – hurray!  Upon arrival I was charmed by the packaging she had chosen and her sweet thank-you note: IMG_5413IMG_5414

I was not charmed, however, by the fit:

IMG_5418

Not the seller’s fault, of course, but more of a cautionary tale re: buying clothes on the internet. I could have spent another $20 or so to get the “right” size, but at that point I’d already sunk enough money into the dress and I wasn’t sure the “right” size would fit well even if it didn’t swamp me.

So I simply donated it back to Goodwill and considered it my $16 reminder that I don’t buy clothing online unless I’ve tried on the exact garment – including size – elsewhere. (See this post for the first time I learned that lesson.)
I know some of you all have had better luck with online thrifting.  Do you have any tips for this jaded internet shopper?  Do any of you join me in swearing off online clothes shopping?