I kid you not, some of the latest-greatest things in my closet are from thrift or secondhand stores. Thrift stores. In Palm Springs, there's been maybe one or two times in my life I picked something up and thought, "I'm going to use + abuse this."
It was a book. Ahem.
But as I've poked around stores in more of the "young n' hungry" area in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other stomping grounds, I've been hooked. The "one man's trash" thing is definitely one of those sayings I (mostly) live by. And while they may not be the greatest 'treasures' on earth, there are still some local thrift stores in the L.A. area that I happen to have learned how to frequent to find the best bargains ('cause bargains at a bargain store equals an excuse to treat yo'self later on amiright), and utilize accordingly. Obviously there are going to be a few duds in every town, but you'd be surprised at how many in between that are actually pretty dang great. Whether it's to stylize for a shoot, add to my own wardrobe, or to snap up some pretty antique books (I'm all about those books, y'all), thrift stores are just too good with surprising me: snapping me out of a certain mindset, and moving me into a treasure hunt mode. Sounds ridiculous, but for an INFP like myself, I've gotta get me out of a mundane situation to actually start enjoying the adventure. Even when it comes to shopping.
Clearly, thrift stores are great money savers. But you've still got to figure out how to wallow your way through them, since sometimes they're just not the beautifully organized wardrobe that you can find in the "regular" stores. Here are a few tricks I remember when going thrifting.
1) Know What You're Looking For. Yes, I did mention money savers. But if you snag this, grab that, think, "that could be cool," you're defeating the purpose and walking out with more than you intended- or need. Not the goal here. No one carries cash anymore, but I've discovered if you walk in anywhere with cash, you'll be way more selective.
2) There are Exceptions to Rule #1. See, already breaking a rule here. But that's O.K! Stay open-minded to things you can repurpose or may need in the next few seasons. I have two secondhand copies of the complete works of Shakespeare; one I worked out of when I performed in shows all through high-school and is full of my personal markings; one was on my shelf until my family one day decided it was a good idea to tear out half of the incredibly old pages, and paste them together into an amazing table runner for an old-world party. It was not my favorite moment until I realized how cool the idea was. Alternatively, sweaters aren't something we need a lot of in the desert; but they are something I needed a few of when I moved to New York. Shop accordingly.
3) Try It On. Even if you're in a hurry. It's worth nothing if it's not working on you. 'Nuff said.
4) Check for Sales. Just because this isn't Anthropologie or JohnnyWas, doesn't mean certain stores have days or a sticker system where they take a percentage off. If you can score a $10 pair of shoes for $5, then even better. And speaking of Anthro, know your brands. If you dig long enough, you'll find the castoff, worn-once blouse that fits your purpose exactly. They're there. And don't be afraid to ask the employees if you're trying to find something specific.
This incredibly versatile shirt-dress-top was a find at Buffalo Exchange. I thought at first it was just a completely oversized dress that hung slightly askew on the hanger (clearly I was obsessed because I live in dresses in the summertime), but the more I looked at it, the more interesting it became. Then when I took it to the fitting room, I noticed the slits going all the way up the side. Okay, so not a dress. But over leggings, over shorts, tied up? so much yes.
Top: Buffalo Exchange
Shorts: Thrifted Charlotte Russe (similar)
Sunglasses: Hashtag Sunglasses (#InstaLove in Rosegold) - incidentally, I've recently partnered as a brand rep for this shop, so if you're looking for some cool, affordable summer shades and maybe percentage off, shoot me an email!
Cuff: Farmgirl Paints
photos by Bekah Wriedt