Thrifting an Emergency Travel Wardrobe in 30 Minutes Flat

Has a luggage crisis  ever left you with the need to assemble a mini wardrobe, stat? Rather than head to the mall and spill a bunch of cash, you might consider hitting up a local thrift store to find a few items to tide you over ’til your luggage arrives or your travels come to an end.

For example.

Remember the weekend travel wardrobe I packed for a holiday trip? Well, we went on that trip recently…and I left the entire, flim-flammin’, ingeniously packed thing behind.


I chalk it up to my child being on strike and the whole family being late and the fact that I’d put the bag in a safe (read: foolishly out of sight) place to prevent said child from emptying its entire contents on the floor…anyway, we got to the airport sans bag and with no time to go back for it.

The upside was that it was a lot lighter navigating the airport without it!

The other upside was that we were going to visit family (thus: laundry) and that said family loves a trip to the thrift store.

So the day after we arrived (and after I had slept in the clothes I traveled in…just to make sure I was telling the truth in that post about wearing literally the same clothes for everything), we headed to a local Goodwill.

I gave myself 30 minutes to find clothes to get me through the next few days, clothes I wouldn’t hate wearing in real life once I got home. I figured if I was spending money on something anyway, I’d try to make those purchases count.

(Meanwhile, my in-laws went looking for clothes for my kid, whose wardrobe was also nicely packed away in our travel tote, at home. My mother-in-law was PSYCHED.  No really, she loves dressing her grandkid.)


So…what did I end up finding? Did I make it in under 30 minutes? How can you, too, thrift a passable wardrobe on very short notice? All will be revealed…

Continue reading “Thrifting an Emergency Travel Wardrobe in 30 Minutes Flat”

Hi-Lo Fashion: or, a Tale of Two Turtlenecks


It’s no secret that I love turtlenecks. I’ve been working my way through my collection lately, updating what I have to colors that better match my other clothes and my skin tone. (The pics might be instructive if you’ve wondered about the difference wearing “your” colors makes.)  Thankfully, thrift shopping makes this kind of upgrade totally affordable.

So this midnight navy, almost indigo:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


became this warmer, dark blue (please excuse the running leggings):


Continue reading “Hi-Lo Fashion: or, a Tale of Two Turtlenecks”

It’s Christmas Sweater Season

Thrifters, December is upon us, and you know what that means: time to thrift yourself a Christmas sweater (or two!).

Some will want an ugly-ish Christmas sweater, or at least a tacky one:


Shut up and take my money.

Others will want something festive but still in relatively good/cute taste.  I went thrifting for an ugly Christmas sweater party one year and came home with this sweater vest, which really wasn’t ugly enough to disqualify it from wearing it to staff holiday parties:IMG_2809

Look at that sassy little snowman on the back.  And the fake snow—it kills me!IMG_2813

And so it has graced my wardrobe ever since.

Get amongst it, thrifters!  And don’t forget to look for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas decor (particularly fake trees) while you’re at it.  Thrift stores are FULL of this stuff.

What’s your take?  Would you attempt to thrift classy holiday wear, or only look for over-the-top fugliness (ahem…that’s festive + ugliness)?  Scroll down to share, particularly if you have pictures!


Happy Thriftsgiving: Cookin’ and Thriftin’

Happy Thanksgiving, American Readers!

In honor of the food-friendly holiday, my friends Rob and Daman over at Chefs-N-Giggles (ahh, the punnery!) have put together a great post on finding props for food photos at the thrift store.  If you are a food blogger, meal instagrammer, or just want inspiration on how to make your platings look good, head over to their blog—pause to mop up your drool over their tasty culinary concoctions—and then head to the thrift store!

Fun Find: Props for Food Photosphoto credit: Chefs-N-Giggles

I will add my own two cents by saying that we’ve found everything from Mason jars to Le Parfait jars to coffee pots to travel mugs to potato mashers to pastry cutters to bread machines ($7!!) at the thrift store.  They’re jackpots for everyday cooking utensils, weird appliances (see: pasta grabber, above), and the types of cooking gadgets people spend a lot of money on and then never use.  (Seriously, if you dig homemade bread, hit up a thrift store and score a $175+ bread machine for under $10.  WORTH IT.)


What kinds of kitchen-related gadgets have you thrifted (or avoided thrifting)?  Scroll down to answer!

And since it’s Thanksgiving for my American readers, why don’t we share what inspires gratitude in us this time of year?  I’ll start: I’m grateful for this blog as a creative outlet for my thrifting passion, and YOU readers for helping to make it a community!  Scroll down to share your own gratitude.

See ya next week, Thrifters!  (If I’m lucky you’ll get a fun thriftstore review with pics from a newly working phone to chronicle bizarre/epic thrift finds….)


Travel Wardrobe: Holiday Weekend Edition

We’ll be hitting up New England this winter for a holiday weekend, and since many of you will be traveling for (American) Thanksgiving, I thought I’d show you what I plan to wear in case it helps you pack for your own adventures.

Staying with family in the past several years, I’ve come to realize I rewear the same pieces of clothing every day—when we’re in the Northeast visiting my in-laws, that means whatever I’ve brought that’s warmest. (Thankfully, they have a coal-burning stove where you can generally find my Southern-acclimated self cozying up during all but the sunniest hours of the day.)

My wardrobe strategy for these trips?  I sleep, run, and lounge in layers, and make liberal use of my in-laws’ washing machine when I’ve done all 3 in the same garment and it’s time for some freshening up.

Yes, I can hear all you Northerners chuckling right now.


Taking our cues from the How to Pack a Travel Wardrobe post, I’m factoring in:
-length of trip (3 full days, 2 travel days);
-weather/activities at destination (cold; family time + church + spouse’s high school reunion + exercise); and
-laundry facilities (check!)

With all that in mind, here’s what I’ll be packing for our next trip (everything thrifted unless otherwise noted):


Top to bottom, left to right: Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Holiday Weekend Edition”

Thrift Finds: November Edition


Friends, November has been a fruitful month in the land of thrifting.  Let’s begin with what was technically a late October find, but which was worn in earnest for the first time this month:

J. Crew Wool Pea Coat

I have been looking for a winter coat for the last two winters.  My beloved red felted wool pea coat from college finally bit the dust a few years back: lining shredded, fuzzy finish worn down to bare threads (is that where the term “threadbare” comes from? I feel suddenly enlightened).
In the meantime I’d made do with a long camel number of similar fabric that had (almost) enough room for my then-pregnant belly.  I told myself it was a little more sober, a little more subtle and chic.

But it too was wearing out and looked loose on me in my non-pregnant state.  Plus, who south of the Mason Dixon line needs a coat that goes to the knees?

I hit up a local thrift store on a whim and lo and behold, this J. Crew number of the EXACT. SAME. RED was waiting for me in the coat section, in great condition, for $20—but on Half Price day, only $10!!!

IMG_2747Mmmm, love at first thrift.

I put it on and a piece of the universe fell back into place. Turns out all my attempts to find something different, cooler, more grown up…were all disguising the fact that I am a red coat girl, through and through. Ya couldn’t wipe the smile off my face all day.


Next up: Vince Camuto grey cigarette pants

(Are these technically cigarette pants? I don’t know, I’m making these terms up half the time. Don’t tell the fashion police.)

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

Shoes: repainted Trotters Whatever they are, they are INCREDIBLE.  They feel impeccable, they don’t wrinkle but do breathe, they are the perfect color and cut and the shorter hem length just looks… insouciant…with flats and no socks.  If Santa brings me some ankle boots I’ve asked for, you’ll get to see these paired with comfy socks in cooler weather.  Otherwise they may just have to wait ’til spring to make it back in the rotation…or just until our December/January thaws.  Did I mention I love Atlanta weather? (PS scroll down for full-length shots of these pants with blouses)    

Merona Sweater Dresses Have you ever tried on sweater dresses and thought “Yeesh, are these supposed to make me look like sausage casing?”  No?  Just me? I’d about given up on sweater dresses when I serendipitously found these two babies waiting for me in the dress section of a Goodwill.  Their looser, more modern fit is work appropriate and chic beyond belief… The zipper details on #1 and the pockets on #2 just kill me.  Target brand for the win. IMG_2750 Closeup on the zipper; one on each sideIMG_2753  IMG_2760 IMG_2759 Leggings thrifted; shoes by Clark’s, gift.     Linda Allard for Ellen Tracy tweed skirt This skirt ticks all the right boxes. It’s warm, has great visual interest thanks to its texture, and features great colors (hard to see in this photo): light blues, warm medium blues, taupes, warm tans, creams…in short, everything that is good about my winter wardrobe.  It works with all my turtlenecks, several pairs of leggings, and my warm toppers.  And it’s a pencil skirt, my fave. WP_20151123_11_07_33_Pro You can see it in outfits here:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on



Last but not least:


It should be obvious from the pictures below and this post (whoa, long hair throwback!) that I can’t resist a classy polka dot.  None of those elliptical, off-centered kind, mind you; I want solid geometry melded with a certain suggestion of playfulness.  And some sparkles, naturally.

Chico’s white blouse with gold polka dots; hello, holiday parties!IMG_2763

Living Doll peach polka dot blouse—probably to be truly debuted in warmer weather.
(Ignore the awkward perspective; I’m standing on a hill.) IMG_2765

Lucky Brand peasant top (again with awkward leg perspective; we’re working on it)IMG_2775

Closeup on the embroidery: IMG_2776

This last one satisfies my yen for colorful, geometric pattern without stomping all over someone else’s culture.  And the fabric, while giving the impression of a stiff cotton peasant blouse, is actually deliciously soft ____.  Plus 3/4 length rolled sleeves.  My fave.

This, too, shall probably wait to see the light of day until March or April.  But thrifting in the off season is where it’s at, so keep an open mind next time you visit the secondhand store.


That’s all, folks—it’s been a great November!


What have you thrifted this month?  Do you keep an eye out for garments of totally opposite seasons or just stick to one climate when thrifting?  Scroll down to share!


What I Wore: First Frost

It was COLD today.  By Atlanta standards.  Take a peek at what I wore, and come back tomorrow for more details and other delicious finds as part of the November Edition of Thrifted Finds!




Are you wearing coats yet where you are?  Do you thrift your outerwear?  Scroll down to share!


Friday ReBlog: Custom Clothing

Francine Jay is the blogger behind Miss Minimalist, a great collection of inspiring examples of minimalism. Her definition:

Being mindful about what we own and consume…because our resources (space, energy, money, time) are limited, and we should put them to the best use possible. Minimalism is determining when you have enough, so you can do something extraordinary with the excess.

She’s executed this expertly in her own life: when her daughter was born, she decided she wanted to spend more time with her child and less time on her blog while still curating it as a community for those interested in living into minimalism.  So she stepped back from writing her own posts and instead started featuring weekly stories of her readers’ minimalist journeys.  Virtually zero input from her, yet endless inspiration for readers. Brilliant.

Francine does occasionally pop back in to share an insight or an update.  This week’s post ties into clothing: custom clothes as an option for what to do if you don’t want to support fast fashion but are crap with a sewing machine and haven’t had luck thrifting.

Buying made-to-order clothing—and less of it—is a common paradigm in many developing countries.  I was amazed on a trip to India several years ago to find how affordable it was to have clothing created from scratch and tailored to my exact measurements.  A friend of a friend from Ghana here as an exchange student also commented on how much better she felt about her body in her home culture where clothes are understood to be made to fit your body, as opposed to the negative body image she developed in a culture like ours where your body is supposed to be toned and tucked to fit a manufacturer’s arbitrary standard.

Read Francine’s post here, or just scroll down to tell me what you think of her idea–would you ever buy (or have you ever bought) bespoke clothes?  Do you think it would keep you from buying excess off-the-rack, less-than-ideal pieces?


On Thrifting Maternity Clothes


My advice:

Do it.

Pregnancy is the perfect time to thrift clothes because you’ll only need them for a finite time and you don’t want to lay out a fortune for a new wardrobe—you got a baby coming, after all!

Except for a couple of gifts and one pair of jeans on clearance, all my maternity clothes were second hand—passed on or lent out from other mamas, thrifted, or consigned—and I did just fine.

In fact, my maternity wardrobe was pretty ideal: cute, coordinated, and stylish without being overwhelming (because, see above, I didn’t buy a ton!).  Essentially it was a maternity capsule wardrobe, and as such, it was also a great chance to try out a different color scheme from my usual—instead of muted reds, navies, and neutrals, I got to play with springy greens, heathered purples and some fun plaids and corduroys.

Read on for ideas on how to thrift yourself some maternity clothes. Continue reading “On Thrifting Maternity Clothes”