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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Styling Saturdays: Learn to thrift hunt like a stylist.

Every stylist and fashionista alike knows the key to having an impeccable wardrobe and style begins with mixing old with new.

Even fashion designers know this very secret. Why do you think they spend so much time researching fashions of the past only to make them new again; putting their own little twist on a favorite look that's decades old. If you're looking for true vintage (not just something that looks vintage) these are the places you want to be.

I must admit, I used to hate going to thrift shops and consignment stores. 

I hated the smell, the lack of organization, and the fact of knowing that someone else previously wore my clothing. Gross! (Not really. Dry cleaning anyone?)

Thank God I wised up and learned that thrift stores have some truly fabulous things!!! The funny part is, every time I take a thrifting trip, I always see tons of super trendy girls scouring the racks just like me. Their outfits are enviable and you'd never know they shopped at a thrift store. 

Aside from providing style mavens with the pieces they need to be fabulous, the best part about thrift stores is you can literally find something for nothing. Every trip I'm greeted by Louis Vuitton, Coach, Chanel,  Christian Louboutin, and many other designers for a fraction of the retail price. It's truly pure joy because you go in not expecting to find anything and come out with a plethora of treasures.

I mean who wouldn't be happy?

Aren't convinced? Here are some pieces from my latest trip this week. (Courtesy of my hubby and our SLR)
Anne Klein blazer. Currently retailing for $90, I purchased it for $10.

Silk Scarf $5, shoes and clutch $8.

So how can you learn to thrift hunt like a stylist?

1. Locate the best stores in your area. 
(Do a simple Google search and see what other shoppers are saying. The best stores can be found this way).

2. Plan a day of thrifting. 
(Prepare ahead of time and get plenty of rest. It's impossible to thrift when you're tired).

3. Have plenty of cash on hand.
(Some stores only take cash so be prepared).

4.Foster relationships with the managers and employees.
(This is something so easy to do but so helpful. Chances are the more you frequent a store, the employees will remember you. Strike up a conversation at check out or simply ask them for advice. You'd be surprised at what they're willing to tell you; things like new shipments, ultra sales, or even provide you with an additional discount. At one of my favorite locations, the manager always gives me an additional 50% off my purchase. Absolutely crazy!)
5. Develop a keen eye for staple pieces. 
(This is very important. Don't just grab mediocre things. You can do that elsewhere or hopefully never! The point of thrifting is to find hidden gems. Things from the past that can be reworked to have an amazing future. These include clutches, scarves, blazers, vintage shoes, original 70's rompers, etc).

6. Be patient.
(Finding amazing things in a thrift store isn't like walking in the mall. Sometimes things will jump out at you, but most of the time you'll have to go digging).

7. Shop the season's trends.
(Every season things of yesteryear become new again. I remember going to thrift stores and making fun of the very same floral printed pants, bright bottoms, and pastel denims that are gracing the runways today. Why spend full price on a "trend" when you can easily walk into a thrift store and choose to your heart's delight. They literally have every color of the rainbow!)

8. Try things on!
(The downside of thrifting is the return policy. At most stores, it's no refund, no exchange so take the time and try things on. Just be sure to wear appropriate undergarments. I.e. tank top and boy shorts. You'll thank me later).

9. Collect and then evaluate.
(When I go thrifting, I automatically take a cart. When I see something I like or love, I throw it in the cart for further evaluation later. The thing about thrifting is there's usually only one. So if you see it, pick it up. It may not be there when you circle back).

10. Take the store one aisle at a time.
(This extends the length of your trip but will help you locate the best pieces).

11. Visit the men's section.
(It's just like shopping in your husband's closet. Check out the men's button ups and blazers. You'll find some amazing things that can easily be re-purposed. Besides, where do you think the idea of shirt dresses came from?) 

12. Check out the accessories. 
(I love accessories at thrift shops! Most of my waist belts come from thrift stores and usually only cost me $1. One whole dollar! You can also find some great vintage jewelry that will truly be one of a kind).

13. Evaluate your lot.
(Check through the items you picked up along the way and make sure you want to purchase them. There's nothing worse than getting home with a bunch of items you can't return).

Phew! That was a lot! To all my style mavens, did I miss anything? Feel free to add to the list.

On another fun note . . .

I'm gearing up to start styling! YAY! 

As I pondered ideas I thought it would be fun to do a weekly Thursday feature called:

"The look for WAYY less." 

How it will work is every Styling Saturday, I'll post a picture I found in one of my millions of style magazines I receive weekly and then I'll recreate the look for WAYY cheaper than the original. 

But that's not it . . .

I want YOU my reader to get involved as well. If you're up for the challenge, you'll have until Wednesday every week to enter to be the Style Maven of the week. I'll pick the top four recreations from the submissions and the best one out of the four will be "Virtue's Style Maven" of the week. 

Sound fun? I think so! Hehe. 

So here's this week's look taken from the April addition of People Style Watch:
Feeling up to the challenge? Leave a comment on the Virtue Facebook page simply saying I'm in and be sure to like the page to receive the updates. I'll confirm it and give you further instructions. 

Have a stylish weekend!! 


  1. Thrifting is like a treasure hunt that can definitely turn out bad if you don't plan ahead, but it's so worth it if you do! Great post! I look forward to seeing your Style Mavens!

    XO Kelley

  2. Fun post! Your style mavens idea sounds super fun!


  3. I LOVE thrift shopping, and find 80% of my clothing there. Whatever I leave with is always a surprise and I know that I am going to look unique. Great advice and totally true ;). Fun read.

  4. I love thrift shopping. I have been doing it for years to supplement my work wardrobe and now its where I shop the most. The finds are amazing. Ask the manager at the thrift stores you like what time of day they stock the clothes so you can have the best selection. Just this week I found 2 coldwater creek white blouses with the tags and a new pair of Talbot shoes. Perfect fits! When you have time go to the next town , google first the thrift stores and go on a treasure hunt. I did this on a business trip and found a Prada bag with tags from Nordstrom.

  5. Fantastic tips! I need to plan to make time for thrift shopping I really never have.

  6. I do the same thing and you just caught the words right out of my mouth. Great post!

  7. I love thrifting, however I find myself getting easily discouraged sometimes :P