VINTAGE & THRIFT SHOPPING - The Real Thrill - September Monthly Fashion Focus
Updated: Oct 7, 2022
I have worn a lot of clothes. I’ve had my share of most fads, trends, and ‘look’ out here. I like shopping. It's it's own form of therapy. But when you’ve shopped as much as I have, have seen the amount of clothing that I have, shopping becomes something entirely different. It becomes less about getting the trends, and more about finding something rare, different, and unique. For me, it's the thrill and challenge of obtaining a good deal, and one of a kind item all wrapped into one unexpected find.
I love the hunt. There is a feeling that comes with finding a beautiful item, seeing the retail price, or taking in the mental value of how rare it is in comparison to what you’ll pay, and the feeling of satisfaction that settles into your soul. When you've had as many clothes as I do, you treasure and value the rare pieces. Having a “one of a kind” item that nobody else has, or that cannot be readily found is GOLD.
Thrifting and Vintage Shopping scratches a different type of “fashion itch” for me. The joy of walking into a vintage shop, or thrift store, and looking through a million different items that don’t peak your interest at all, in hopes of stumbling across that ONE, item that everyone else somehow missed or looked over, and for pennies on the dollar, is a thrill and joy that far exceeds the rush of the world’s tallest roller coaster drop.
I. LOVE. IT.
I was born in 1979 and missed the glorious fashion of the 70’s. But in my early twenties I started to notice that much of the items that were being sold by retailers were items that were simply 70’s remakes. All of the trendy, boho-chic stores and brands were whipping out bell bottoms, pussy-bow blouses, and platform shoes, and charging top dollar for them. This was also around the time that I started selling items on Ebay and making extra cash. As a result, I frequently visited many thrift stores to find items that I could purchase for little to nothing, and resell. All it took was a few trips, a few sales, a few profits, and few personal finds with the originality of the 70’s for minimal cost, and I was in love with my new hobby. I’d bring blouses, blazers, cardigans, A-line skirts, and make minor alterations, (changing buttons, cutting hemlines, etc.) to them. Then I’d pair them with modern items. I’d receive endless compliments and inquiries, and especially loved telling people where I’d found it, how much I’d paid, what I’d altered, and then watch the reactions of shock and awe. It was very, very satisfying.
Since then, I’ve graduated to thrifting and vintage shopping online to streamline my search. Sites like Ebay, Poshmark, and ThredUp offer items that eliminate the drive and search by foot. Sometimes you pay more, but other times you will run into people who don’t really know the value of what they have, and are willing to sell it for a nice price. I have found some of the most beautiful and rare items thrifting. I have a lot of awesome, modern day clothing. But my favorite pieces are most definitely the rare, one of a kind items that I’ve found as hidden gems whether through thrifting, or a retail search.
I also love making a believer out of the skeptical and critic.
I've heard everything from:
"I don't want anything that anyone else has worn."
"Doesn't it smell like moth balls?"
"It all looks old."
Well……..Here I am wearing some of this old, used clothing......WITH PRIDE.
This was my first Salvation Army store find and edit. It was a full length dress that was/is pretty sheer. I opted to cut it up the middle, and wear it as a open-front duster. It cost me $8.00, and 30 minutes to later. I found the purse on Ebay being sold by a vintage seller. I paid $24 for it. (I also want to note that I got my boots from ThredUp, an online store that sells both new and used items. These boots are by Schutz, and are originally over $200. I got them on there for only $70)
Easily one of my most favorite pieces in my closet, I found this item on Ebay. A lady was selling items online that did not sell in an estate sell. It was originally a dress that was somewhat too small in the hips. But I had a mental vision of making it a tunic. After some haggling, she sold this to me for $70. I took it to three different tailors. None of them would touch it because of the beading and sequins. I finally found a Ukranian lady who owns an alteration shop. She only charged me $25 to cut the sides into a tunic, preserving the beading. I've seen similar styles and remakes for $300 and more online.
I found this genuine leather and suede, fringe vest, on Ebay for $40 through an auction.
Genuine Suede Fringe Jacket - Found on Ebay $28
This is my latest vintage find on Poshmark. It's one of those items that that the seller didn't quite know the value of what she had. This jacket is a very rich, rare, wool blend. The patches on the elbows are genuine suede. The fringe is wool and mohair. A Ralph Lauren remake of this kind would cost at least $250. I paid $32 for this jewel.
My Hi-Lo Top was originally a dress that I found at Salvation Army for $9. I brought it home, cut it, and made it into a top.
I found this genuine leather vest at Salvation Army for $12. I found the dress at the same store for $8. It was originally shin length. I cut it of course to make it a more modern silhouette.
Vintage blazers are easily one of the best items to thrift and keep for ages because most of them retain their value, and often come back around in fashion design years later. This is a Donna Karan blazer that I found at a Salvation Army 15 years ago for only $10. This blazer is probably 20 years old. I have kept it and worn it many winters and falls, and it's STILL gorgeous. They just don't make things like they used to. The quality is amazing.
Definitely one of the first things that I think of when I catalog my vintage finds. I'd just started gravitating away from thrift stores into actual vintage shops. They are somewhat rare here in metro Detroit. But I found one on the east side off of 8 mile Rd. The shop was actually dedicated to selling antiques. I walked in and was immediately overwhelmed with the site of antiques everywhere, scattered in different places. They pointed me to the upper floor where they kept "any clothes that we may have", as the salesman put it. I went upstairs and found a small room with different clothing items. Most of it was not my taste, or overpriced. I found this beautiful blazer on a rack mixed in with other unwanted items. I knew on sight that this jacket was luxury. The tailoring, rich fabrics, high shoulders, and fit of the jacket was nothing like current designs. It was well thought out, and beautifully created. After a little haggling (because I'm always going to haggle if able), he sold me this jacket for $47. It's likely that not many people went into this place asking about clothing. He wanted to capitalize on the one that did. It was the perfect opportunity to have something of vintage luxury for minimal cost. I will probably always have this blazer. It's special. My photos do it no justice. High end designers are making the same jacket for $300 plus dollars. I have an original.
Vintage blouses are a much sought after thing in the thrift/vintage world. They easily transfer to modern day wear in most instances if styled right. I bought both of these at different times at different Salvation Army stores. Both were less than $10.
My mother used to have the same purse when I was little. I still have pictures of her holding me as a baby with it on her shoulder. We looked high and low all over my mom's house, but discovered that somehow the purse was lost. It was honestly very upsetting. I'd always hoped to receive that purse as a hand-me-down from my Mom. Then one day, while browsing Etsy, I stumbled across this beauty in pristine, untouched condition. A 78-year old lady decided to part with it from her very own collection. I told her my backstory. And as a result, she discounted the purse for me without me, stating that she wanted it to have a good home, and be with someone who has an appreciation for it's value. I paid a little more than I usually do for vintage or thrift items. But this purse is well worth every penny. It is genuine leather and suede, and is tailored with such beauty. It will forever be in my possession.
Lastly, my mom recently gave me two purses that cannot be valued. Both are family heirlooms. My great grandmother on my mom's side, and my father's mother were the original owners of these two purses. My mom carried them both for years. Now its my turn to do the same. And one day my girls will have them, along with their rich history.
Thank you for reading!
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