Not so fast, spring — we still have a few days of sweater weather left!
I’m totally down with the sudden chilly weather, though. It means I get to wear this excellent, grandpa-ish sweater that I found at a secondhand store a few weeks ago.
I used to thrift around a lot, especially right after college. But I would tend to lose my focus and buy things because they were inexpensive — not because they worked for my life or style.
So after a while, I just sort of … stopped. I felt like it wasn’t working for me anymore — I retired it to the “just doesn’t work” pile.
But, as I’ve learned more about the way fashion impacts our planet + people, I wanted to welcome secondhand shopping into my life again. The benefits were just too good:
Extending the life of an already-produced garment? Check. Reducing the demand for more clothes AKA slowing down fast fashion? Check.
Oh, and the possibility of finding something completely unique? :) Check.
I was in.
But first, I had to be honest with myself.
I’m the world’s most enthusiastic advocate of Try, Try Again, but it’s wise to change up the approach the second time around.
So, I came up with three little tips that would help keep it a joyful + productive experience for me:
1. Look for well-organized stores. Read reviews before you try a new store.
2. Look for stores that will have age-appropriate clothes. I’m turning 30 next week, so … sorry Plato’s Closet.
3. Only buy clothes that are well made and will last a long time.
The little tips helped and I had a successful shopping trip a few weeks ago! My grandpa sweater is the proof.
I’m glad I tried again. It’s so easy to toss something in the “just doesn’t work” pile, but it never hurts to try again later.
So tell me, do you shop secondhand? Do you ever find it challenging? How do you make it work for you?
Quick topic change:
I’ve been hearing murmurs that skinny jeans are on their way out.
While I am excited to try out some flares in the near future, I’m not giving up my skinny jeans any time soon.
In fact, I just figured out how to do the messy half-roll. Let me show you:
- Make one big cuff, about three or four inches tall.
- Grab the bottom of the cuff you just made — one hand on the inseam of your jeans, one on the outseam. Roll the inseam up for a second cuff, while holding the outseam down.
- Fuss with it a bit and — here’s the secret — make sure the hem of your jeans is still peeking out a little above your messy cuff.
Try it and see if it works for you!
Top: Thrifted / similar / similar for less
Bottoms: Joe’s Jeans (old) / similar (Made in USA) / similar for less (Made in USA)
Shoes: c/o Fortress of Inca (Ethical + Sustainable)
Victoria Montes de Oca says
I have had a similar experience with thrift shopping in the past, the stores are way too disorganized; you just kind of get lost in rifling through the racks and just buy something that you weren’t even looking for at all because it is cheap.
I have started shopping at thredup.com recently and I have to say that I absolutely love it. You are able to search for whatever it is you want and filter by size, brand, colors, and price. They also are constantly adding new items which I think is neat in case you are a frequent browser like me!
I love thredup, too!
Victoria MOntes de Oca says
I have had a similar experience with thrift stores in the past. They do tend to be disorganized, and you just sort of get lost rifling through racks of clothes, and purchase something you didn’t even set out to buy because it is cheap!
I have recently started shopping at thredup.com. I really enjoy it because it eliminates the “rifling aimlessly” aspect of second-hand shopping and you are able to filter your search results by type, size, brand, color, etc.
If you haven’t checked it out I would highly recommend it!
Caroline, Switzerland says
I’m new here on your blog. Actually, I’m new with blogs altogether. And I really love your blog and your posts! I’ve been trying to go simpler for some time now, getting rid of old stuff so that something new can happen in my life and that’s how I met my new partner last summer. Also I want to shop less and keep the amount of clothes down to a small size. I’ve just started with the capsule wardrobe, following your advice! ;-)
It feels very comfortable so far so I’m really excited to see how this will work for me.
Anyway, let’s go back to the second hand shopping. Although I am totally for second hand shopping as a concept, I feel that the “chi” that these clothes have accumulated while being worn by previous owners could affect me. I know that you wash them and you can even “purify” them but I definitely feel more comfortable in new clothes that carry a fresh energy. I don’t want to carry around the lingering energy of other people. I used to buy second hand furniture as well and stopped doing that, prefering to buy old-looking but new things.
I had a friend who felt the same way about used clothing or anything used for that matter. When she went house hunting she would only look at brand new homes. The thing is all this negative energy she’s trying to avoid she became a recluse and now has many health issues. I think this type of thinking is just all in the mind.
Also, I have tried on new clothes that have made me feel worse than any used clothing ever did. I once bought a pair of brand new boots that smelled so strong of toxic chemical they made me feel sick. Quickly returned them.
You’re right of course, it’s all about how you feel in your clothes, whether old or new. The energy a piece of clothing possesses depends on so many different aspects. I’ve probably had a few bad experiences and could give it a new try! Thanks for encouraging!
You should check out Marie Kondo’s the life changing magic of tidying up. She is a wiz at explaining the energy of inanimate objects.
I actually have read her book two weeks ago and loved it! Thanks for the advice.
My favourite blog on sustainable clothing is Paris To Go. She takes the whole small wardrobe quite extreme but she’s ace at thrifting and really educates you on material, sustainability and the impact of certain processes on the environment. Thanks to her I avoid all synthetic and semi synthetic fibre mixes now, and I’ve noticed a real difference with how my skin feels within my clothes. her wardrobe posts might be something you’re interested in to help along the way?
Caroline Engel says
Thanks for this!
When I was growing up I went to the big vintage market in Rome religiously every Sunday to spend my tenner. It actually took me a long way and I had a pretty crazy and unique wardrobe.
I was 20 and a working gal before I ever started making new clothes purchases, and I haven’t turned back from this small luxury ever since (also because now I live on top of a mountain in Switzerland in a tiny village with no stores, so I shop online).
However, I’m moving to Vienna this summer and one of the things I’m most excited about is the second-hand culture they have there and the possibility to start vintage shopping again, because as I try to slim down my family’s belongings for the move, I’ve become sickened by the amount of stuff we have and the consequent trash we’re creating!
Thanks for the roll tutorial, btw, I was direly in need of that-just yesterday I was wondering why the way I was cuffing my jeans was making me look like a sausage…now I know!
Vienna has some crazy good second hand stores! When I was there for a few days, I would always organize clothes swaps with other girls from kleiderkreisel.at – this way, we could even meet the pre-owner! :)
It’s the smell of second hand/charity stores that gets me. That and people are too savvy to donate their nice ‘vintage’ stuff which now ends up on eBay where I can’t try it on.
I agree with two of your rules… Age appropriateness though can go the way of the dodo. Firstly, because 30 isn’t anywhere near old and secondly, because there isn’t anything more aging than dressing to a notion of what that age should wear.
Dress You-appropriate. You can never get it wrong then. Xx
i would LOVE to read about your “age adequate” clothes type. Im turning 30 in dec and…. haven’t even thought about changing much my style ;-). looking forward too
I’ve turned 42 and realized that it was nice not to dress like my 18 year old daughter. I thought I didn’t want to look like a teenager, although I really like the way she dresses and she encourages me and helps me chose my outfits.
I’m a second hand pro and have some great items in my closet. Don’t avoid the big, messy thrift stores! Just skim the racks quickly for appropriate colors/textures. If something catches your eye check tag for size, fabric content and brand. Try to stick to quality brands. If size, fabric and brand are ok – ONLY then pull the item from the rack and look at it. You can get through a ton of clothing this way. Happy thrifting!
Exactly! If you’re looking for a certain colour of pants, ONLY stop to look at pants of that colour. If you want a certain cut of pant, that should be the second thing to check.
Another thing I’ve found extremely helpful in thrift shopping is knowing my size visually. Since each brand has its own sizing and shapes, having a couple of favourite go-tos won’t hurt, but nothing can replace the value of looking at a few waistlines and saying, “nope, nope, yes!”
Step 1 – Hold up your favourite pair of pants by the waist at arms’ length.
Step 2 – Pay attention to the visual width of the pants at the waist. This step is the most important.
Step 3 – Pay attention to the visual width of the pants at the hip.
Step 4 – Pay attention to the rise, from the crotch to the top button on the waist.
Step 1 – Note on your own body the widest or most important part to consider in choosing a garment (this could be chest, shoulders, or waist).
Step 2 – Hold up your favourite shirt – the one that fits perfectly.
Step 3 – Pay attention to this area or these areas (for me, this is shoulders and chest, because the waist seems to follow those two).
If any of those measurements looks too small or significantly too big, you can immediately put it back on the rack, even if the colour and style were right. Now you can narrow down your thrift shopping substantially, just by looking at the item in question, before you even consider trying it on!
Love all the ways, can just play around according to mood!
Alyssa J Freitas says
I have just started getting into second-hand shopping. I’ve found that going to consignment shops in affluent areas (hello, Princeton!) is a great way to find high end brands with great quality. While I am in no way a slave to brands, with second hand shopping I take it as a mark of quality and so far this method has worked for me :)
Skinny jeans better NOT be on the way out!!! They’re my favorite style and the most flattering on me!! Guess I better go snatch up as many pairs as possible now! hahaha
Also, I used to second-hand shop quite a bit too, but haven’t done it in awhile! I think I’ll try to go soon! :) Loved the tips!
I agree! Love thrift store shopping etc… But it’s the “murmurs that such-and-such is on the way out” that has been getting at me all morning, and I had to come back and comment. When we women start repeating those “murmurs” it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t it? It’s no secret that the fashion industry – that very one that Caroline is talking about slowing down, making it work for us instead of us working for it – wants trends to change. For when women begin to believe skinny jeans (for example) are going out of style, it’s not just new jeans we’ll be buying. It’s new shoes, new tops, all to find the right new silhouette. Following those trends seems to fly in the face of a capsule wardrobe, owning more classic, versatile, high quality pieces (along with some fun statement pieces of course), dressing in what makes YOU feel good, and the general philosophy of clothing and fashion that this blog so powerfully articulates.
If skinny jeans were never your thing (I totally get that), more power to you for not following the trend. If they are your thing, then by all means, keep wearing them!
Personally, I never liked jeans until I only very recently discovered skinny jeans are actually very “me” (I don’t shop much or pay attention to trends most of the time – I don’t have time!). Flare jeans tend to swallow my petite and slim frame, and I never liked the feel of all that extra fabric around my legs. Now I finally own jeans I am comfortable in, feel good about how I look, etc. So the fashion industry thinks it’s time I go shopping again? Why do we women always fall for this!? :) Just sayin! XO
Not to mention the industry can push its agenda along simply by what it produces. You want to be “in style,” you purchase what they’re putting on their racks. But we have the power simply not to buy if we don’t like their products that season, that year, or even longer. (Ain’t none of us in danger of running out of clothes, amiright?)
I completely agree with you both. Skinny jeans are the best for my frame and I’m not going to change my style simply because a company thinks I should or because some celebrities may be wearing different silhouettes. My jeans have a lot of life in them and we need to stop this revolving door of clothes in-clothes out for no reason.
“When we women start repeating those murmurs it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t it?” — Oof, that line instantly gave me a gut check and I’m so glad you said it. You’re absolutely right, we hold so much power in our words — thanks for the reminder, Lynn. xo Caroline
I so agree! I feel that skinny jeans look the best on me because they slim me down and since I am so short, they are the most flattering on me, in my opinion. Plus they have somewhat of a classic style to them. Think Audrey Hepburn with her skinny ankle pants. Soo classy!! :)
Laura r says
This is so true! I don’t bother with trends now, since I was 18 I just wear what works for me. Even if it means searching on eBay to find a skirt that retailed in 2012! If we did more of this think of the amount of money we would save. The amount of fabric. The amount of labour in foreign countries. All because we want to “follow trends”
I’m a re-sale employee and if you’re in the Austin area, there is a treasure trove of re-sale and consignment stores to chose from! Check out in your state if you have a Clothes Mentor, Style Encore, Uptown Cheapskate, and The Buffalo Exchange for re- sale. There is also Just Between Us and The Exchange for consignment. You can sell some of your unwanted clothing items for cash or store credit. Win win! You can also extend the life of non ethical fast-fashion brands by buying them second hand. I talk a lot about re-sale on my site http://www.gracefulmiddleaging.com. I’ve worked about 20 years ifor mainstream retailers such as Ann Inc and Gap Inc. and I can tell you I will never go back to working it again! For me it’s re- sale all the way for working and purchasing and if I wants something new/new, I will buy from only ethical and transparent companies, which I’m sure Caroline will fill you in on! Happy treasure hunting!
This is helpful Bonnie! I’ll definitely check these out – am needing to rebuild my wardrobe and am not a fan of new clothes, so was hoping to see some resources for Austin in the comments :) I’m a born & raised Austinite and actually only knew about Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet (B.E. has been transitioning unfortunately to mostly cheap fast-fashion trendy junk, and Plato’s Closet is a long drive and is generally full of teens).
Loved this post Caroline! I’m with you that I’m sticking with skinny jeans but I do have 1 pair of flares that I love for feeling a little more dressed up. I definitely need to explore the second hand stores in my area a little more.
I definitely thrift. I was a poor kid, so I’ve always worn hand-me-downs and shopped second hand. I have favorite shops (clean, well organized), and very specific, high standards for garment condition and quality. I used to go when I was bored, but that cluttered up my closet with a lot of junk, so now I never go unless I know what I’m looking for and am willing to leave empty handed. But I’m also open to snapping up a really great piece, even if it’s not what I came for – case in point: a full length down coat, a $200 coat that I picked up for $25; I’ve gotten way more than $25 worth of warmth out of it.
Hi! Absolutely LOVE your grandpa sweater. I am a huge advocate for thrift shopping and some of my favorite pieces have come from the goodwill/salvation army/etc. My biggest problem is that I go in with no game plan so I get sidetracked and distracted by anything that barely compliments my style just because it happens to fit me and it’s cheap. For a while I stopped thrifting completely just like you because I would end up spending 10-15 dollars a week on things I never wore, but now I go in with a strict list. Unless the item is on my list I can’t try it on and I definitely can’t walk out of the store with it! Since implementing this rule for myself, I’ve done SO much better with my thrift store purchases :)
Love your blog and it’s really encouraged me to cut back on shopping as well as making smarter clothing purchases! Thanks for that!
I love thrift shopping. It has been my go-to way of participating in slow fashion for years because my budget precludes purchasing domesic handmade/small business clothes. When I go thrifting I try to have a strict yet flexible idea of what I want (i.e. cotton cardigan in a color that “speaks” to me). Something that keeps me on track for a small wardrobe without making it completely impossible to find anything I’m happy with. My town is smaller than yours, I think–4,000 people–so I supplement my local thrifting with ThredUP for probably about a dozen items per year (things like comfy designer jeans, cute, like-new shoes, and a sundress or two). Here’s a link: http://www.thredup.com/r/S5KBBD
I’d love to hear how you determine if a garment is quality or not. I only go based on the feel of it, which doesn’t work very well. It’s so disappointing to fall in love with something only to have it pilling and out of shape in a month or two.
Firstly (because I’ve not posted here since then) welcome back! So nice to see one of my favourite blogs revived.
I love shopping second hand for exactly the same reasons you do, better quality, not fast fashion and keeping things out of landfill. One tip I have is to go to an affluent area and look at the shops there, as they usually have high quality brands and fabrics. It’s all about the quality fabrics really.
I always find it’s better not to have too fixed an idea what you’re looking for, but to have in mind a few garments you’d like to add to your wardrobe but don’t necessarily need immediately so that you can take the chance finds as they come. For example I’ve wanted a short, textured, collarless jacket (a bit Chanel, a bit Isabel Marant) for a while, but not found anything I liked until last weekend in a second hand store. I keep a list of things I’m looking for on my phone for reference. that I can add to it as I find holes in my capsules.
Lisa Hailes says
I was a fan of your old blog. Love the new one.
Yes, I’ve shopped second-hand forever. Mostly out of economic necessity, but it’s a family trait. Fortunately, I have sewing skills that I can adapt “raw” pieces into something creative that works for me. The thrill of a true one-of-a-kind! Your basic ground rules,
good stores, age-appropriate & quality fabric still very much apply.
Thanks for distilling down to the essentials of what fashion should be.
I go on and off of thrift store shopping. It is so easy to get carried away and pick up things because they are just a few dollars.
1. Always try it on. Check it fits, is flattering, and isn’t damaged.
2. Consider thrift items as carefully as something you are paying full price for at the mall.
3. Thrift stores are great for jackets, formal wear, and blouses. Finding a great vintage piece is an added bonus.
4. There is no bigger thrill than finding the exact something you were shopping for at the thrift store. Unless its a pair of $200 like new shoes that are priced at $4.
Esraa Bassiouni says
You have no idea how useful this post is. No matter how I try to get this messy look, I couldn’t, so thanks for sharing it with us.
Where did you buy those boots??? ; )
Caroline has the link for the boots posted above.
I love to shop secondhand on thredup.com. I easily get overwhelmed in thrift stores since they often are rather disorganized. being able to look online for specific items, sizes, colors, etc. helps me out!
I love ThredUp too! It’s a recent discovery, but it helps organize the chaos so I can also easily find something I’m looking for ( instead of troving through racks upon racks ). Even Oprah recommends it :)
Love the new blog! I was a huge fan before for inspiration but have always been on the ethical, slow fashion, thrifting band wagon. Now your blog is dangerous grounds from turning me to a minimalist to a maximalist. I didn’t realize how many options are out there for ethically sourced clothing now. I mean, THOSE SHOES! I’m bookmarking that company for whenever I need to replace any shoes in my closet. Thanks for the introduction :)
I looooove thrifting! However I have definitely fallen into the second hand abyss before, so now I prep myself first. I assess my closet before I go and make a list of anything I’m looking for specifically, as well as any basics I’m looking to upgrade. Thrift shops can be amazing places to upgrade my basics i.e: swapping out a lower grade gray cardi for a cashmere one at a fraction of the price. For ease, I tend to go to the shops that organize everything by color. That way I can hit the colors I’m incorporating into my capsule this season and skip the rest.
I’ve followed your blog for a while, but we just moved to Abilene! Would love to find some secondhand shops here, but for now I love The Real Real. I’ve had great luck especially with handbags/shoes from there. Keep up the great work!
I love second hand shopping, because I often feel so lucky when I find something that fits and looks lovely. In regular shops, when I find a nice item, I tend to take at least two sizes of it into the fitting rooms, and often, I can make one size work for me. This leads me to overspending.
With Vintage finds, I am much pickier and take a lot more time to view the inside seams, search for small stains or rips and tear etc. – when it passed this procedure AND fit, I am happy to take it home.
I have to admit I rather do clothes swapping at certain events, than go second hand shopping. At swaps, people often donate their real “good” stuff, because they know they can take something nice home too. Last time I found a hand sewn, pro-seamstress finely made coat and short skirt. The materials are incredible, they don’t sell this at stores any more (or at least under 300€…)!
Caroline Engel says
I’ve found 2 great stores for second-hand shopping. Your tips are perfect – I don’t want to spend time sifting through hoards of clothes so store organization is key.
It is a way to push back a little on the 52 week fashion cycle, exploitation of workers, and help keep clothes out of landfills.
I just posted a few days ago about thrifting because I haven’t gone in such a long time and I miss it a little. I was guilty of not being as picky as I should have, and the result was that a lot of what I thrifted over the years hit the donation bags. Time is always the challenge for me lately, but I’m hoping to get back into a little bit – just need to be smarter this time around!
Ethical shopping is exactly what brought me to thrift shopping, and I’ve found some great finds (like a pair of madewell jeans for $34 recently! never would have bought them at the store.) Fortunately there’s a Buffalo Exchange across the street from my office, so armed with a list in my mind of the types of items I’m looking for (so I don’t get distracted by the STUFF) I sort through the well-organized racks. If I find something, great! If not, no harm. It’s so much fun, though it does take patience.
I’m so glad you brought up fast fashion! I do a capsule wardrobe and after watching The True Cost I want to buy all my clothes second-hand or from ethical companies. Have a beautiful weekend and check out my blog post about natural, cruelty-free skincare today! Cheers!
Just a quick word on “age appropriate.” It’s not so much “age” as it is “stage.” If you are in high school or college, there are clothing items that are trendy and appropriate to wear. Once you begin working, those items may become inappropriate for your workplace. After you’ve been working for a while, and have been fortunate enough to advance in your career, there may be more appropriate clothing for a management role. Once you’ve reached that magical retirement phase, and you are spending your time doing what you love (like volunteering or gardening), that managerial power outfit may no longer be appropriate. Same hold true for all kinds of “stages.” What’s appropriate for a stay-at-home-mom may not be appropriate for a woman in finance and vice-versa. So, rather than thinking about what’s “age” appropriate, think about what’s “stage” appropriate. Like another commenter said, it’s really about finding clothing that’s YOU-appropriate. :)
So good, Virginia! I wholeheartedly agree — I think you clearly summed up what I was trying to say (but I kind of missed the mark). “Stage” appropriate is so much better. Thanks for sharing! xo Caroline
Great tips! I’ve always been too intimidated to thrift for clothes, though I do it for my house all of the time! I’ll have to try out this half roll thing. Love the hem poking out! It’s the best part of the jean… Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But still! If you hem the hem away it looks weird!
I love thrift shopping and have found some fantastic deals. Love your sweater.
I have a hard time thrifting because of a lack of well organized stories, but like the tips. I think all the comments about the age rule really interesting. I just turned thirty this year too (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BTW), and have also felt this desire to shift styles a bit. But, perhaps it is not age so much as finding styles that fits me and my lifestyle more. I don’t want to wear a lot of crazier items or pete rpan collars or items that are often geared towards women in their teens or twenties. I have a job that requires “professional” clothing (what is literally in the handbook); others might have kids etc. Our lives look different as we grow; finding what makes us feel good in our skins- no matter what age it is!- is vital! So, such a good rule, I think!
Also, I really like flare jeans, but the style seems to require wearing heels all the time, which makes me think skinny jeans are not quite out the door yet. They are very versatile!
I’ve been thrift shopping my entire life, but I am having an increasingly difficult time finding anything good. As another commented stated, it seems that more of the good stuff is posted online at a higher price. My local thrift shop tends to have clothing that is very worn, pilly, misshapen, etc. I even have tons of credit at the consignment shop from my closet clean out, but rarely find anything there that I like. It’s getting very disappointing. I keep scouring the racks, hoping for that magic moment when I find something great. I guess it will be all the better for the wait.
I miss thrift store shopping!! (They don’t have them here in Italy :(
Even though I love thrifting, it can be challenging because of the disorganization. That’s why I really like SAVERS: they’re spread throughout the US and other countries. They are the most organized thrift store I have ever shopped in and I’ve found practically my entire wardrobe there. When I can’t go there and I have to go to the messier shops, I just give myself a time limit and relax. What I find is a gift and if I come out empty, it’s better than buying something you don’t like!
Karin rambo says
I just completed my spring capsule and everything I added to it was thrifted. Pretty stoked about that! ?
Karin | truncationblog.com
So so glad you’re back! Tried the messy half roll today and loved it – though its seems I dd it backwards now that I read your instructions closely…..I held the INseam down for the second cuff…. still cute as ever! Always love your little tips.
I’m not a thrift shopper – no patience and too much of a need to have things orderly and easy to find. I tend to like to shop only about 4 times a year now- since I got myself in capsule mode over a year ago. Also, I like to go “shopping” not “searching” which is how I view thrift shop shopping.
I so respect those who can thrift shop and look fabulous- there is a real art and talent there. Look forward to seeing more of your finds.
Again, SO glad you’re back!!
I can’t believe you’re knocking Platos? Their target age range is up to 34. I’m 31 and I take some of my clothing there that doesn’t fit or no longer fits my lifestyle. I’m pretty particular about not looking too young and I commonly shop at Nordstrom, Madewell, J.Crew, and Anthropologie. I think it’s really about finding garments that ARE appropriate for one’s life style. If you’ can shop at Forever 21 at your age, I think Plato’s Closet is okay to at least check out. ;)
I agree about giving thrifting a second chance. I cut it out of the routine about three years ago because it took a lot of time and I found myself buying pieces for the same reason you mentioned. Recently, however, I want to take a look again.
I haven’t done as much thrifting as i would like to as it’s not as big here in Australia. I’m keen on checking out a few good second hand stores on my upcoming trip to NYC. Does anyone have any recomendations?
Emily McKeever says
First of all, love the messy half roll. I can’t wait to try it!
I would say that at least half of my wardrobe has been found at a thrift store. I love the feeling of “the find” and bringing home a lovely, unique piece.
The hubs and I are heading to Chicago in April. Does anyone know of a few great ‘must hit’ thrift stores? I’d love some recommendations!
Thanks and I absolutely LOVE your blog, Caroline! You’re the cutest!
DANIELLE BLUFORD says
Definitely check out Crossroads trading Center, and Brown Elephant. Also Buffalo exchange is not bad, head to Wicker Park for some cool vintage/thrift stores to check out on Milwaukee and North Ave near “6 Corners”/ Damen Blue Line!
Emily McKeever says
Danielle!! Thank you!!!!!!!
I purchased many beautiful, quality, cheap items in thrift stores. Many of which were not my style and ended up being donated back. As I’m learning how to be a young adult, my style is changing too, so I’m taking a break from thrifting until other things settle.
Your sweater is gorgeous and so are you. Can I ask what do you eat and if you work out? Can you make a post about these habits?
All in all, I’m so glad to have you back. Warm hugs and best wishes.
DANIELLE BLUFORD says
I always do best at a thrift store if I go in looking for a certain item. Lets say I have 3 things I am looking to add to my closet on my list– if I find even 1 of those things– its a success!!
So funny that I read this today because I was thinking this weekend of going thrifting again. But honestly, the main reason I go thrifting is because I need to save money sometimes…or if I’m looking for specific items that I think would be better at a thrift shop, like an oversized denim jacket or a bomber jacket.
COFFEESLAG Color Filled Spring
Mademoiselle Coconath says
Love this post! Love your look!
I’m a thrift-er at heart — always have been, always will be — and your reasons for doing so totally resonate with me as well. And also totally guilty of buying something at Goodwill because it was only 99 cents!!! As some other commenters have mentioned, I’m a recent admirer of thredUP.com. No matter how you thrift it still is a little more time intensive than conventional shopping, and as a young mom with two young kids shopping store front just doesn’t work sometimes, or well, ever. Lol. I find I’m most successful at thrifting when I (1.) keep to “my list”. As in: I have a clear idea of what I still need/want in my closet and I stick to only purchasing those items. (2.) stick to more staple type of pieces — they seem to be more plentiful and (3.) shop brands the brands I already love. Loving where your head is at lady!
Hi I have a question that has nothing (or little) to do with the post. Do you have an engagement ring? If so, do you still wear it? How often?
I’m a minimalist, trying to make the decision if I’d like one. But I’m concerned I won’t wear it regularly, and it will sit in my closet. Is there anything about your ring you would change if you could go back and do it over?
In breezing through the comments, I saw yours, Mary, and thought I’d respond.
I originally didn’t want an engagement ring simply out of convenience. My mother’s was constantly snagging clothing and scratching us unintentionally. When my now husband proposed, I couldn’t have been happier with his choice. He purchased it from Do Amore (ethically made rings) and because of the style of the setting, it rarely snags a thing and I wear it all the time (a feat for someone who rarely wears anything but a pair of simple earring studs).
I’d suggest looking for something with a flush design. If it doesn’t inconvenience your life-style by being a nuisance, it’ll be a super treasured keepsake. Hope that helps!
Great post! Thanks for the tip about the cuffs- it’s a science!
I have found the best luck at thrift stores if I have a very specific item in mind. That way I can move quickly down the appropriate aisle and stop at the right colors. I also ALWAYS check the purse section for a high-quality leather purse that is perfectly worn in. I have found bags there that I would never purchase new because of the cost, but if they’re well-made they will last. It feels good to give something a new life that would otherwise be discarded.
Leah LW says
All thrifting, all the time over here! I’ve found that over the years my approach has shifted significantly, along the same arc yours has: now that I know my personal style and can recognize quality garments that work for ME, I can quickly/efficiently scan a store for gems I’ll really wear. My tips for saying “no” to the awesome finds (like Maison Scotch, Boden, Madewell, etc.) that either don’t fit my body or my style? I instagram them (#thriftstagramming) so I can share the excitement of the find without having to buy it. Appreciation doesn’t have to = possesion.
Check out lots of great finds (and how I make a capsule wardrobe work entirely on thrift finds) at http://www.thriftshopchic.com
Thanks for spreading the thrift love, Caroline!
well not too long ago, actually yesterday i found silk-cashmere sweater in a thrift shop which makes me extremely happy, also found a cute white dress for spring, for my 8 years old daughter, nobody understand my happiness sooo i wanted to bring it here ;)
Cool post ! I have ever problems with my jean and my boots :p
Love those shoes paired with the black jeans! Love, Love, Love!
I’m finally getting a chance to read all of your blog posts since you have been back! I’m so excited to see what you have planned for the future – Keep up the great work!!
AM FAIRLY NEW TO CONSIGNMENT/THRIFT STORE SHOPPING BUT HAVE GOTTEN SOME DEALS OF THE CENTURY!! recent FINDS ARE A WOOL TEAL PEACOAT WITH QUILTED LINING, VERY WARM, HARDLY WORN. a RED WOOL LINED JACKET, SOMEWHAT CROPPED, NEVER WORN. bLUE SUEDE “BALLET” LOAFER, EXPENSIVE BRAND, BARELY WORN. sOMETIMES I CAN’T BELIEVE MY LUCK!
Wait, am I also too old for Plato’s closet? I’m 33. Seriously questioning my fashion choices now.
I am a true believe in consignment, but I have also learned it pays to be picky and patient –I have to just “drop in” on thrifts stores and not stay more than 30 minutes in order to stay sane. On this note in January I made a pact not to buy any brand new clothing until the end of March. This later evolved into no clothes shopping in general until the end of lent, after which I was planning on putting a capsule collection together for the spring. However, through my fast I found I don’t want a capsule collection, I enjoy more of my clothes than I thought but I don’t want to wear them all the time. My plan has change to perhaps only spending a certain dollar amount every 3 months. Thank you for being an inspiration and enjoy finding hidden treasures in consignment.
I’m a little surprised no one has mentioned thredup.com. Love it, love it, love it.
Also, I’ve been capsuling a year and a half now (thanks, Caroline!), and I capsule in color. I even have a method for having prints AND color in a capsule. It’s so hard to find resources for capsuling using color, and it took a lot of trial and error. Anyway, I am happy to share what worked for me if anyone is interested. Thanks, Caroline, for your awesome blog, and I am so very happy you’ve chosen to make a move towards slow fashion. :)
Alyssa G. says
Hi Caroline! Could you do an updated beauty routine post? I love your take on keeping it simple and natural, and I’m interested in finding out what products you’ve been using lately.
You are such an inspiration! Thank you for this amazing blog!
Hi! I live in Boston and now I’m really curious about what Plato’s Closet is..I’m going to look it up. In the meantime, about skinny jeans, “they” do say that skinnies are on their way out but I don’t think there’s any chance of that, at least not for the next year few years. Love the mini-tutorial on how to roll pants. I’m notoriously bad at this. I was just looking at the cuff on a recent post , which is a lot less girly of an outfit than it sounds. And my jean cuffs look awful, especially after seeing your artful rolling work here:) Also, love your blog!
Trina | Blog URL: http://www.petitestylestudio.com
Love this! So glad you’re seeing the benefits of slow fashion for personal style and for the world – it goes nicely with minimalism + a capsule wardrobe ;)
It’s good to have you back!
You are awesome all around! So glad you’re back!!
I love vintage and probably 50-60% of my wardrobe is vintage. (Big fan of Junior League thrift stores!) And, I guess I do kinda question all the age stuff about what is appropriate, though. I think if you’re trying to look younger, that’s a big warning sign (Don’t do it!) but if you have confidence, know your body, and can rock a mini or low cut shirt or kimono – whatever – do it! To me the barometer is, “Do I feel like me?” “Would I be embarrassed if I ran into a colleague/family member?”
You’re lucky to fit so good in skinny pants! While I’m not far from waify myself, I haven’t been able to fully embrace skinny jeans. I’m a wide leg person. Not necessarily flare, wide leg and relaxed fit. I have this picture in my mind about my perfect pair of denim but haven’t been able to find them just yet ;-) I’m still searching, but until then I’ll roll up my classic levi’s and march on.
I’m so convinced the world is going bonkers with new collections and so many new clothes in so many stores, I can’t bring myself around to buying new clothes/shoes unless I’m convinced I totally absolutely need it and it will be with me for a very long time (for instance a pair of timeless, classic all-black sneakers I just bought from Onitsuka Tiger). Other than that, I’m all second hand. And happy because (1) I’m not paying as much on renewing my wardrobe, (2) what I wear isn’t on everyone’s back, (3) it gives me a lot of freedom to buy whenever I need, not whenever the sales are on, or the new collections are in. I could go on, but I think I’ve gotten to too long comments already ;-)
I thrift shop all the time. I especially like the Goodwill outlet (you buy things by the pound and have to dig through huge bins of stuff). When I first started I would bring home tons of things I didn’t need and have to redonate them. I have gotten a lot better at it now and really only bring home things I need. It is crazy how many great things are discarded or never even make it to a Goodwill. I think thrifting is sort of a skill and you get better at leaving behind things that aren’t perfect the more you do it. I find quality brands regularaly (e.g. J. Crew, Theory, Madewell, James Perse, etc..). Last time I found a pair of rag & bone Newbury booties. Sadly they were a 37 and I’m a 38 :(
I am NOT ready for skinny jeans to go out of style :/
Just saw your blog was back up (yeah I’m late to the party oops) and am so happy!
Shannon Swenson says
I’m so happy you’re blogging again! I love thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, etc. I find quality pieces that are unique. I’ve learned it’s also okay to leave empty handed. I recently discovered Poshmark. I’ve had great luck selling items I no longer wear and finding new things! Love the direction your blog is taking!
Thank you for the jean tuck tip. Will need to try this weekend!
I also went through a thrift shop shopping hiatus. We have some good ones close and II found that I was just buying things because they were a “deal” and there it would sit in my closet. When I Marie Kondo’d my closet last year, I realized that all the thrift items gave me no joy and had to go. I also discovered that minimal, comfortable clothing is more my style at this stage in my life (49, mom of teens and work full time for a non-profit). I sold most of my clothes on Poshmark and have carefully curated a new wardrobe from Poshmark and the local thrift shop of mainly Eileen Fisher (love her fabrics and ethics). Her things are very expensive, but by having a list of things I am looking for and being focused, I have been successful. Better for my wallet and the earth!
I used to love Plato’s Closet and then went a few weeka ago before vacation to get some dresses. Everything was so tiny! I am only 24 but with 3 kids, those clothes don’t fit my… Inner age? Ha. I don’t know if it’s the old soul or the stretchmarks, but I definitely need a more womanly thrift store.
I used to do the exact same thing at thrift stores — buy a bunch of stuff that didn’t really work for me just because it was cheap. I still look for things for my kids, but for myself, I feel like I’m looking for specific things…. Especially now that I’ve been using a reduced wardrobe for almost two years. So thrift shopping doesn’t usually work that great for me, though I love the idea.
Also, I tend to feel either very overwhelmed or very underwhelmed when I thrift shop. And I have five kids, so I don’t have time to peruse the racks for as long as I’d like. ThredUp overwhelms, though the one time I purchased from there, I didn’t keep any of it. Also, they don’t send closet clean-out bags to Hawaii, where I live, so I’m kinda annoyed by them right now. :-/
Steph m says
I love thrift shopping but it’s hard to do with three little kids in tow. :( So it just doesn’t work for my lifestyle right now.
I don’t want skinny jeans to go out! I have worked on curating my shoe collection and I want people to be able to see the shoes, dangit!
Thank you for this post.. Because I read it yesterday, when the hem on my jeans was being difficult today (I didn’t iron them..) I was able to roll them and continue my day without looking seriously scruffy!
I just got a similar sweater, also thrifted. Mine is short sleeved. Wondering if you have any styling tips for it, more outfit pictures, etc.? I’ve only found this one post with you wearing this sweater, would love to see more. Summer is still in full swing but I’m excited for Autumn.