I Admit It…I Didn’t Practice What I Preach About Thrifting.

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Last weekend I was at Goodwill where I found a gorgeous cobalt blue tunic, originally sold at Neiman Marcus. It was only $4.69 plus tax. Score!

There was an identical tunic in the same size on the rack beside the blue one. This one was a chartreuse green. I grabbed it and carried both shirts around the store before settling on the blue one.

I put the green one back on the rack.

Ever since last Saturday, I’ve been kicking myself. Why didn’t I just buy it?

So, last night I went back to Goodwill. And, of course, it was gone.

I didn’t practice what I preach.

Disheartened, I decided to paw through the shirts for the heck of it. I mean, I was there. Why not?

Suddenly, my eye spotted this amazingly supple, rich red top by Ann Taylor.

It had ruching on one size, pleats on the opposite shoulder, and the material felt like heaven.

Best of all, it was my size.

I grabbed it, measured it to make sure, bought it, took it home.

It wasn’t the chartreuse tunic, but it made my night.

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If you are at a thrift store and see something that you think you want, hold onto that puppy until you get to the register. If you’re standing in line and decide that you don’t want it, then leave it with the cashier. Don’t put it down, especially if you are still quibbling inside over whether or not to get it.

I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. Thankfully, my return trip didn’t disappoint.

The Skinny White Tie

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Dean has been looking for a vintage 80’s skinny white tie. Every time we go into a thrift store, he runs to the tie rack hoping to find this elusive thing. He has scoured places like Poshmark and eBay yet struck out each time he looked.

Today, by a stroke of luck, he found one.

We had just dropped off a carload of miscellaneous items at our local Goodwill and then decided to go in and see what we could find. I went to shoes and purses, as usual, and he went to the tie rack.

I was sidetracked by women’s shirts and was browsing the many racks of tops and blouses when he approached me with a shocked look on his face…a skinny white tie in his hand.

The tie was perfect. No marks, no dirt. Just as white as snow and perfect as could be. It looked like it had never been worn.

There is nothing nicer than seeing someone you love with a heart full of happiness at finding something so truly desired.

What is the takeaway message in this short post? Never give up if you are searching for a particular item. If an Internet search doesn’t produce it, look in your local thrift stores…and shop often. 

Like the moment I found that Betsey Johnson watch, you never know what you’re going to stumble upon.

And when you do happen to find the item of your dreams, thank the thrift gods and donate something back to the thrift store for someone else to find and enjoy. 

Let’s keep the cycle going, giving and receiving, for it benefits us all!

Thrifting with Debra Rapoport

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Oh man, this video is everything. I can’t even begin to imagine the treasures that can be found among the thrift stores in New York City. Even if I spent a month up there, I probably wouldn’t have enough time to do my treasure hunting.

One day I will get there. Oh, to thrift with Debra Rapoport. That would be a dream come true for me. She’s one of my style icons and I absolutely adore her.

For now, please enjoy this short video from Ari Seth Cohen and Advanced Style!

Treasure Hunts, or, Why I Thrift

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It’s a bit complicated to explain, this craving I have for “The Hunt.” I call it “The Hunt” because for me, it is just that. The hunt.

It is the hunt for a hidden treasure.

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My parents introduced my family to thrifting way back when I was a teenager. I grew up in East Atlanta and frequented the Value Village down at the Moreland Avenue Shopping Center. It became a family event. We all got excited to pile into the car and go to the thrift store.

At Value Village, my sister and I would head over to the women’s accessories department to grab up as many white dress gloves as we could find. And we found a lot. Since this was the 80s, there was a lot of groovy vintage 50s and 60s merchandise on hand. No matter when we visited, I never failed to find cool stuff.

I even scored a 1950 Webster Chicago record player that still worked at the time. I could play my grandmother’s 78rpm records on that thing. Even though I still own it, it quit working ages ago.

One particular day, at this same particular thrift store, I found a very old snakeskin cross-body bag. It was labeled Davison’s, which back in the day was one of Atlanta’s largest and most important department stores, second only to Rich’s. Burgundy in color and beat-the-heck-up, err, broken in, this bag was a true find.

For a long time I believed it was alligator. Funny how your mind can take you places until you figure out what’s what.

I have held onto that thing after 8 changes of address over the years and plan to use it this fall.

Anyway, back to the topic of this post, I have a very long history when it comes to thrift shopping. There is a part of me that gravitates toward the used and previously-owned.

That part of me is one part economical and another part environmental.

I’ll start with the economical piece first.

Shopping second hand is a very healthy way to add to your belongings without spending a fortune at a regular retailer. Thrift stores carry a wide selection of items from furniture to clothing to books and music. It’s like a world of discarded things waiting to be picked through. In every pile there is a gem to be found. It just takes a bit of time to find it. I will share my tips and tricks to thrifting in a later post.

It would be a lie if I told you that it’s easy to find those diamonds-in-the-rough. You have to work for it, but it’s work that can be fun at the same time. Hence the idea of making thrift store shopping something of a treasure hunt.

The environmental piece is this…each time you buy a used item, you are not only keeping that item from ending up in a landfill but you are giving an item a second chance at life.

Most things people discard are still quite usable. This is most especially true when it comes to clothing.

Purchasing used clothes keeps your dollars out of the fast fashion industry and supplies your closet at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a mainline retail store. Not only that, but if you find a well-cared-for vintage item, you will more than likely discover that it is of better quality than anything you can find at a department store.

I’m serious.

Depending on the thrift store you visit, the dollars you spend go to job creation, charity, or simply back into the local economy.

Needless to say, thrifting is a win-win for everyone.

For you, it means stumbling across something that might become an heirloom, or at the least, a really awesome piece of furniture for your living room.

Treasure hunting is a pleasant hobby as well. Just getting out and visiting a thrift store or two at leisure is calming, especially to me. I have a method to my madness when thrifting and will write a blog about, too, that later on. For now, it’s an exciting notion,  knowing that whenever I step foot into a thrift there is a world of possibility laid out before me in racks, on shelves and in cases by the register.

And the coolest thing of all?  Most of what one can find in a thrift store is one of a kind.

One of my most exciting finds this summer was a sparkly (yes, sparkly!) cobalt blue sweater dress. It was labeled with the wrong size, stuffed into a rack of women’s shirts, and yelled at me when I walked by.

I turned around, picked it up, looked it over, and now it resides in my closet anxiously awaiting cooler weather when it can drape itself over my body.

Did I mention it was COBALT BLUE???

I’m about to hyperventilate.

Do you enjoy thrifting? Are there any good stores near where you live? What are some of your most favorite thrift store treasures?

Please check back often for more posts about thrifting. Trust me, I have plenty to share.

~Francie