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Friday, September 2, 2011

How to thrift shop - by Tanya Dempsey

If you look hard enough, somewhere in LA, on any given day - you'll see me browsing the racks at one of my favorite thrift stores. It started as pure necessity when I was a starving actress, and has turned into a sport, a styling gig, the inspiration for two blogs and now a partnership for re-designing some of these salvaged gems!

Since many of you have asked, (and my partner, the gorgeous Noa B, is the genius one behind the sewing machine) I thought I'd share some of my personal insight into what it takes to spot those diamonds in the rough.
  • Know Your Trends. As Noa showed you in a previous post here, be aware of what's current by keeping up with fashion magazines and tearing out pages that speak to you. You never know what you'll find that's a dead ringer for a major, designer piece!
  • Know What Looks Good On You. (Just because it's on trend, doesn't mean it will look good on you, so be careful!) Never buy something just because it's cheap and cool, unless you can (and will) redesign it. 
  • Make it Over! If you have a good eye for trend, can work a sewing machine, or have a trusty tailor, keep an eye out for interesting fabrics and pieces that can be redesigned and made into something amazing. Sometimes all this means is a quick hem on a dress that's pretty but too long, or a gorgeous vintage jacket that just needs to be taken in a bit, and other times it can be a total makeover into a one-of-a-kind, killer piece! Think creatively!
  • Know What's Classic. Some items hidden within the thrift racks are classics that transcend trend, year after year, like a cashmere turtleneck in great condition. (I just found a gorgeous green one this past summer, in mint condition for $5. Which leads me to my next tip...)
  • Shop Off Season. Keep your eye open for that great summer frock in the dead of winter, or that perfect fitted pea coat, in the scorching heat. Have it cleaned and pack it away.
  • Goodwill is Good, But some Stores are Better. I have found some great stuff at the Goodwill, but actually prefer small and local thrift, and those that serve charities I believe in, like Out of The Closet. Take the time to find what's around you! And when you find a store you like, get to know the sales people and shop often! Some stores offer weekly sales (like my beloved $1 Sunday's) that will change your shopping life!
  • Take Your Time; Be Prepared.  First, I never go in with a heavy bag and somewhere else to go. Thrift shopping takes time. It's an endurance sport. You must look through every rack, piece by piece. Quick browsers will surely walk away empty handed. I also like to be hands free (I tuck my money into a pocket) except for a water bottle. (Did I mention it's an endurance sport?) Wear fitted clothing, in case the store doesn't offer a dressing room and you have to toss a dress over your head! Most importantly - be patient. Shop often.

Hope this helps, lovelies. As always, happy shopping, and feel free to email or submit questions/feedback and comments! xx

Happy thrifting to you all!


Tanya D

1 comment:

  1. Great tips, I'm learning slowly how to thrift, I've had some great finds since I started thrifting about a year ago.