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Thrift Shop Secrets and Fresh Fall Styles

Fall is right around the corner and that means it’s time for a wardrobe update. One of our favorite ways to update each season, on a budget, is by thrift shopping. Turns out that National Thrift Shop day aligns perfectly with this change of season. So in honor of the occasion, we teamed up with our in-house stylist, Kelsey Dunneback, to teach us how to navigate the thrift shop this Fall.

There comes a day every person looks into their closet and wonders why they ever bought any of their wardrobe. If that day happens to fall on August 17th, consider this not the day to burn every t-shirt and beige cardigan you own, but rather to celebrate. The rest of the world has beat you to the punch on the official occasion; let’s celebrate National Thrift Shop Day.

Thrift shopping may seem like a daunting task. “There’s no organization!” you yell. How do you find something, anything, worth putting on your body after who knows what has worn said article of clothing?

First of all, these seem like minor issues for someone who wants to burn their entire closet. Agile brain cells and laundry detergent are there to help with said problems. Let’s start with the basics.


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The first thing I look for in second hand shops is statement pieces or vintage items I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, like this Def Leppard concert tee. Sizes are something to compromise on- you might find the perfect shirt, but it might be 8 sizes too big. Tweak it and becomes a great oversized shirt or t-shirt dress. This corduroy purple skirt had far too many ruffles on the bottom until I chopped them off and frayed the ends to be the perfect distressed skirt for fall. Tall boots work great with skirts for the cooler weather, and the tan Penelope finishes the outfit.


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Which brings me to my next tip- hemming can and will be your new best friend. Before you quit reading because you’re crying about how you don’t know how to work a sewing machine, worry not, a pair of scissors will be just as good.

If something is just a little too off for you to consider picking up, think about what would make it A-OK to wear.

Then do that.

Like cutting off about 6 inches from this skirt in order to see my Alora boots. I was looking for a great full midi skirt and happened upon this plaid gem. No thanks to my being challenged verticality, the original was too long. I shortened it up, added a heeled ankle boot, and voilà, Ralph Lauren AW16 can now too be yours.

Customization is, in my opinion, the best part of thrift shopping and can force you to be creative when putting together an outfit, helping you look like no one else.



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Another way to browse thrift shops is to look for specific pieces that you have been wanting, but have not been able to find. I’ve been looking for a pleated skirt and happened upon this dress. While it’s not a skirt per se, it does have a skirt and a unique, lace top making it cooler than any pleated skirt you could find brand new.

Finding a velvet green blazer to throw on top of this for fall seemed perfect for the next Gatsby soirée I get invited to.

Now accepting invites.

If you don’t happen to stumble into a man who’s been pining after you for years at a large gathering, dressier pieces can be turned into everyday outfits with a chunky boot. I paired this with the Kearny in black for an edgier take on Daisy Buchanan.

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If you still aren’t sold on the idea of thrift shopping, I have two more ideas to pitch you.

My no fail approach to second hand shopping is to head straight to the denim rack. With “mom jeans” trending right now, this is the perfect time to scour the leftovers mistakenly threw out. Again with the clothing modification – I cut off the ends to achieve the perfectly cropped frayed hem. Pair with some heeled ankle boots like the Olive to keep you from feeling too frumpy.

My last ditch effort to appeal to your creative fashion sense, which I know is buried deep inside of you, is thrift shopping from the comfort of your couch. Yes. I found this floral bomber jacket on Poshmark, an app where you can search clothing people are re-selling, shopping by brand or category, to find exactly what you are looking for, shipped to your door in two days. You can never go wrong with a great sporty jacket.

So if I’m a day too late and a dollar too short- and you’ve already thrown your closet to the fire, sweep up the ashes and I’ll loan you the dollar. Now get out there and celebrate Thrift Shop Day.


All photos by @shuttersam.

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