Thrift Finds: Baby Shoes

A small person I know was in need of new-to-her shoes and her parents are down with thrifting. (You should be too, if you have a small person in your life–often pre-loved baby items are barely used because the kiddo who previously owned them outgrew them without doing much damage.  And as Bea of Zero Waste Home says, “A washed secondhand undergarment is cleaner than a new one from a department store,” so don’t let germophobia stop you!)

On the list of preferred characteristics for said shoes: able to take a beating, and nothing crazily pink.  Because, have you looked at anything to do with little girls’ clothing options lately?  The PINKness is overwhelming. Just Google “baby girl clothes”–your eyes will burn with pink overload (or water with happiness if you love magenta).

This is funny, because easily half my baby clothes growing up were blue (with a good smattering of yellow, green, and orange alongside some pink), as were two dresses my mom passed on from her 1940s babyhood.  So it’s not as if pink is the sole appropriate hue for girls.  But for some reason, we’ve been determined lately to equate the two in a way that seems, I don’t know–limiting, at the very least?  Or, when combined with messages like the following gems, oppressive at the worst?

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Let’s discuss objectification of infants AND moms AND the cave-manning of dads (left), or the policing of women’s bodies/relationships/agency (right).  It starts in the crib, people!


I did some looking during my last few trips and voilà! This is what I found:

“Aw, (s)he got the velcro.” -Macklemore’s Thrift Shop.  If I had to guess I’d say early 90s?  A treasure.

Corduroy Mary Janes–it doesn’t get much more “fall” than corduroy.


Both pairs are sturdy, and although both pairs have touches of pink and flowers (because, see above), I think on the whole they are rather inoffensive for folks trying to avoid drowning their babies in gender roles.  I hope the lucky recipient of these found kicks enjoys ’em!

What are your favorite baby items you’ve thrifted? Scroll down to comment!


Thrift Finds: Skirt Upgrade

Last week I finished early at work and my spouse was all, “Go have some you time, I’ll pick up the kid.”

Say no more–thrift store here I come!*

When time is limited, I find it’s best to choose one or two items to keep in your sights in order to minimize distractions/feeling overwhelmed.  My objective this trip?  I’ve had this navy Anne Klein skirt for a minute, and while I love how it goes with eeeeeverything in my closet, I do NOT love its broken zipper, the funky little speedbump at the waistband, or how stiff the fabric is–it’s a little hard to walk in.  So through my last several thrifting excursions, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a thrift upgrade that would zip properly, move fluidly, and lay a little better on my bod.

Thrifting an upgrade means you can:

1) Get something now that works, and
2) Get something later that wows

all without breaking the bank.

Here’s where I started: yes this zips all the way, but only after much wrestling and a few bad words:IMG_1931 Continue reading “Thrift Finds: Skirt Upgrade”

Thrift Finds: Weekend Wear

Lest you think that this week’s sweater post killed summer, here’s something else I thrifted on that trip that I’ll be wearing all weekend (minus church).  The epitome of comfort in hot weather:

Yellow striped cotton romper by Lux.  

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What’s your got-to weekend wear?


Thrifted Pants in a Jiffy

Today is the last day of Pants Week on Thriftshop Chic.  Click here for posts from earlier in the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  Scroll down to the comments section to tell me what you think about a themed week–yea or nay?

My friend Sheena pointed me to this article discussing what goes into a $200 vs. $20 pair of jeans.  The comments are pure gold–okay maybe from a socially conscious style nerd’s perspective, but still: they cover environmental/labor factors, investing in quality vs. cheaper clothes that fall apart, how it’s hard to do that when you don’t have class/wealth privilege, and thrifting to find good jeans. Here’s the comment that sparked this post (let us pause to delight in her username):

Ygritte Snow: Yes. When you are poor, the option is to: a) buy new clothes from a cheap, made-in-china kind of place, whether it’s H&M or Kmart or b) buy used, thrifted denim that may or may not be quality – if you can find a pair that fits you. I tend to try to go for the latter on jeans, because you can find some gems and I like the vintage look and stiffer denim -BUT when you rip through the seat of your only pair of, say, nice pants and need a pair of pants to wear to work TOMORROW because you work with little kids and can’t wear a dress or shorts but also can’t wear jeans because it’s not Friday and you work for a prep school (for barely over minimum wage >_>) sometimes it’s not practical to spend hours finding a pair of pants at a thrift store.


Sheena wanted to know what I’d do in this case–you need pants in a jiffy and it seems easier to jaunt over to Old Navy or Target and get you the same pair you always get because they’re cheap and you know they fit.  Can you do the same thing at the thrift store?


The answer is yes and no.  You can’t just walk into a thrift store and guarantee you’ll find a specific garment in your size because thrift stores, by nature, rely on random donations.  That being said, if you want to give it a shot–maybe the thrift store is actually closer and more convenient than anywhere else you could go, or it’s on the way home from work/daycare (both true for me)–here are some tips:

-Try to avoid being stuck with only one good pair of pants in the first place.  Pants at thrift stores are much less expensive than retail, so stock up!  If you can dedicate an entire thrift visit (or two or three) to pants hunting before emergency strikes, you are likely to find a couple pants that will do nicely for work or play even if they aren’t perfect.  Then be on the lookout during subsequent trips for “upgrades”–pants that better fit your lifestyle needs/style wants.
If you are already down to one pair and don’t have time to thrift backups right this second, keep an eye out for signs that your current pants are on the way out–seam stitches become visible and fabric thins along key seams or well-worn areas; pocket corners start to detach.  Start looking for new pairs as soon as possible after you notice these telltale markers.  And keep a sewing kit handy so that minor fixes like a popped button or dropped hem don’t send you into a pants panic.

Alternatively, if you truly have no time for thrifting but you know which brands/sizes fit and you don’t want/can’t afford to feed the retail economy, consider using a filter on eBay to search for “pre-owned” pants in your preferred brand and size.  Takes almost no time and the pants are delivered right to your door. (Thanks Gillian for the suggestion!)

-Stick to stores with a big selection.  Though I love them dearly for their quirky atmosphere and unique finds, this is not the time to patronize independent/tiny shops with limited selection.  Goodwill has racks upon racks of women’s pants (jeans in particular), as do many Savers, Value Village, Salvation Army, and America’s Thrift stores, among others.  Men’s pants tend to come in a smaller but still wide-ranging collection.

Scan quickly and efficiently.  Don’t flip through every pair of pants on the rack.  Skip over low quality brands (a cheapy tag with cutesy font is a telltale sign, as is really thin or wrinkly material) and sizes that are way outside your range. Look for brands and sizes you know fit you.  Here is where your knowledge of the perfect Old Navy size for your lower half comes in handy–zero in on those if you find ’em, and likewise don’t waste time on a brand you love but a size you know from experience won’t fit.  It can be hard to let go of a pair that’s perfect except for being a size too large or small, but trust me, it’s better this way.  The thrift gods shall yet smile upon you.
Conversely, if you find a brand that looks quality but with which you aren’t personally familiar, be willing to grab a size smaller or larger than your norm as their sizing system may fit you differently.

Try on in bulk.  Load up to the limit allowed in the dressing room–then park your cart outside the stall and, if there isn’t a line, swap out the pairs that don’t work for a new batch without actually exiting the unit.  (If you are really desperate for time I won’t judge you for doing this even if there is a line, although fair warning: the other people in line might.)

Adjust your standards, then Commit.  Conversely to the slow thrift where you don’t nab a piece of clothing ’til you’re satisfied it meets all your criteria, these may not be the world’s ideal pants for you. But if you find a pair that will do — length’s okay, fit’s okay, no holes or other potential wardrobe malfunctions–don’t waste time dithering on whether you *should* buy these pants.  At that price point and with your time as valuable as it is, the answer is yes.

Give (your new) pants a chance.  The unexpected bonus to buying the first pants that fit decently is that you might go home with a pair in a new-to-you pattern, color, or cut–and you might LOVE them.  They might breathe new life into a wardrobe rut where you’ve been stuck, or they might become a new favorite silhouette.  That’s the magic of thrifting!


What are your tips for quick-n-dirty pants thrifting?  Scroll down to comment!


Thrifted Finds: Navy Tahari Pants

This is the other piece I picked up in Delaware: navy Tahari pants.


Top, Lauren Conrad; pants, Tahari; shoes, Clarks; all thrifted.  Necklace by me.  Ignore the awkward back foot there.

You may be familiar with my slow style quest for navy pants and remember that I recently nabbed a nice navy trouser, so in true minimalist/capsule fashion I should’ve been sartorially satisfied and thus blinded to any other navy bottoms, no matter how attractive (…and now I have distracted myself with visions of sailors in their dress whites.  Ahem).

But as I mentioned in that same post about the navy trousers, part of the pleasure of thrifting is that, because of the low price point, you can be open to upgrades–or in this case, a versatile, if unexpected, addition to my wardrobe.  Since my closet is mostly navies, tomato reds/corals, off-whites, and a pinch of camel and the above minty/light teal hue (anyone want to name that??), a pair of navy pants that functions differently than the ones I already own is not necessarily overkill.  These Taharis are quite a bit cooler, don’t require a belt (they zip up the side and have no belt loops which makes for a lovely smooth line), and are close fitting in a way that lets me wear loose tops like the one above and not look frumpy.  My Loft trousers will still get plenty of use in the colder months, when I want pockets, and when a more tailored top is the order of the day. In short, I think the two will assist each other nicely.  Did I mention the Taharis were $1.50?  (Big upside to independent thrift stores–even bargain-ier prices!)

Speaking of that top…it’s by Lauren Conrad.  I’m almost ashamed to type that, but I LOVE the color and print.  Worn to church yesterday it was complimented three different times, including “that outfit is SO YOU” and “that color suits you so well,” so I’m happy to take myself down a peg in terms of my celebrity snobbery for such a star shirt.  It wasn’t getting worn as much as it deserved because it looked a bit blobby with the looser-cut trousers I already own, so I’m even more happy to have acquired pants that will let that star shirt shine.

Tune in over the next few days for more on PANTS: how to shop for pants with an eye to filling holes in your wardrobe, how my own pants work in my wardrobe, and how to find non-retail pants when you’re short on time.  Have a great week, Thrifters!


Thrift Finds: Office Supplies

Thrift stores ain’t just for clothes, ya know!  Home decor, kitchen tools, sports accoutrement, and office supplies are also great things to thrift.   Below are some recently thrifted office supplies that are keeping me sane and on budget.

Delectable ramekin for rubberbands (sadly I will probably never use this for cooking, it’s about 3 levels fancier than my culinary skills care to handle)–$2.92:


Continue reading “Thrift Finds: Office Supplies”


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This one’s for Brian!  And a shout-out to Rachael for a great tip on graphics–check out to make your own.

These are brands I frequently find at my local thrift stores that (usually) make it through in decent condition.  Your mileage may vary depending on your local thrift store’s catchment area (where their donated goods come from) as well as the varying quality of items produced by brands–retail fashion bloggers often remark that brands’ attention to detail, fabric sourcing, and other markers of quality can vary from season to season.

This list is meant to help get you started if you’re not familiar with the wide variety of companies whose tags you’ll see on the thrift racks.  But note that it’s always a good idea to check individual garments to see how they hold up instead of just assuming that a fancy name = good clothing.
And don’t discount a brand just because “my mom wears that” or “my teenage nephew wears that.”  As fashion trends expand and globalize, you’d be surprised at the way styles from a brand aimed at one particular demographic can translate across age brackets. Continue reading “Brands”

Thrifted Finds: Rehoboth Beach Vacation Edition


On vacation last week we traveled to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for some family beach time–and some THRIFTING.  Thankfully I have family members who are down for the thrift, and the pressure of not wanting to hold up other people’s R&R made it easy to do a quick sweep of the store and resist the desire to go through every. last. thing.

Because y’all?  This store was crazy.


God’s Way Thrift Store: Irony Sold Separately.

I should’ve photographed some of the ginormous Bible verses about Jesus being the only way, or the 25-point rule list about when/how/what to donate, but as previously stated I was on a schedule–we were leaving for Dogfish Head Brewery in an hour and I was not about to be the slow coach who delayed our departure.

Nevertheless, here’s some ambience for you:


My sister-in-law spotted this righteous collection of Avon perfumes:


The most bizarre of the aforementioned collection–Eau de Corncob Pipe:IMG_1639


If you were following my thrifting on Instagram, you saw this number on a mannequin–but NOT FOR LONG!  I promptly tried that sucker on and made it my own.

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Instant wedding outfit–just add hat.IMG_1687 IMG_1686

Dress (Anne Klein), shoes (Clarks), and necklace (leopard-painted wooden beads) all thrifted; other jewelry inherited; hat: fabulous hand-me-down–thanks Mom!

The dress was $10 which is normally too rich for my blood.  (The tag specified “no half off”–apparently God’s way is that everything is always half off.)  However, I was able to justify it because the navy Tahari pants–coming soon to a post near you–I found were half off, ringing in at $1.50.  A total of $11.50 for 2 great finds?  Sold.   Plus my mother-in-law, in a beautiful thrifting camaraderie assist, told me it would look great for church.  (I couldn’t resist replying loud enough for the checkout clerk to hear that I did need something to preach in the following Sunday.  I would bet that same $11.50 that God’s Way does not include women preachers.)

As we left Delaware at 4:30 am (ughhh wonky flight times), we drove past two more independent thrift stores that made me salivate with visions of unique and bizarre thrift finds even before the sun was up.  But alas, those beauties will have to wait for another trip.

Anyone thrifted the Rehoboth Beach scene before?  What’s your take on funky, stand-alone thrift spots–do you prefer them to Goodwills or Salvation Armies, or is it just too much of a risk to go somewhere unknown?  And lastly but most importantly–wedding hats, yes or no??

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