Look how much of my wardrobe is secondhand! (The rest of it is pretty much off the clearance racks at my favorite stores, namely Ann Taylor and The Limited.)

A few of my tips/tricks for shopping for clothing secondhand:

1. For the most part, only buy quality name brand clothing. Just because you’re only paying a few bucks for clothing, doesn’t mean you should settle for quality and shop without discrimination. A few dollars on clothing that either already shows wear, or will after a few washes, isn’t much of a bargain in my mind.

2. Thrift shopping is great for items that won’t get a lot of use. Let me give you a few examples to show you what I mean… in my life, this would be pencils skirts and colored jeans. Skirts are something that I don’t wear often in my line of work (I’m management at an early childcare center; every day is important for me to look put together and polished, but some days are *extra* important. However, on just about every day I am running around with kids for a portion of the day. Pencil skirts and heels just don’t cut it. Thanks to thrifting, I have a handful of pencil skirts in my closet for those occasions when they’re warranted, but I spent less on all of them together than I would have on one from a retail store (and in turn, I get a lot more variety). Thrift shopping is also great for those “trends” that you want to try out, but aren’t sure you can commit to. I love the look and idea of colored jeans, but this is new territory for me. If I spend $5 on a pair from Goodwill and end up not being brave enough to truly wear them (or wear them more than a few times), I haven’t really lost any money.

3. In my opinion, it’s a lot easier to find name brand/better quality pants than it is tops. I usually skip the racks for tops altogether unless something catches my eye as I walk past. Most of the shirts look cheap or show wear from what I’ve found.

4. Practice skimming! Your eyes will train to spot the quality fabrics before you know what’s happening.

5. The “reject” racks outside the dressing rooms are a great place to look, as chances are someone else found a treasure that ended up not fitting quite right for them (but maybe for you!)

And for any northern Delaware shoppers…

I’ve learned that the Kirkwood Highway Goodwill has a few “Goodwill Boutique” racks in the front of the store. I’m not exactly sure what this means, but these racks only have name brand clothing on them, which makes the it a LOT faster to weed through the “duds”. On the flip side, these clothing pieces are marked significantly higher than the normal racks (i.e. typically $12 for a top vs. $3.75).

— Jackets

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A. Byer pea coat; thrifted March 2013, $12 (no visible wear)

AK white coat

Anne Klein wool pea coat; thrifted 2012, $8 (!) (no visible wear); had waist professionally taken in since was a size or two too large

— Tops


Loft poncho; thrifted 2012, $3.75 (near perfect condition — one miniscule stain that is not noticeable unless you look for it)

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Josephine Chauss gold glitter cowl neck sweater; thrifted Dec 2012, $3.75 (no visible wear)

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Banana Republic cashmere blend open cardigan; thrifted March 2013, $8 (very, very light wear)

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Gap 100% wool grey cardigan; thrifted March 2013, $9.60 (light piling along ribbed bottom, loose thread on sleeve)

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Ann Taylor ivory  long-sleeve t; thrifted March 2013, $5.60 (no visible wear)


Ann Taylor lace top; thrifted 2012, $3.75 (no visible wear)

Banana Republic gray turtleneck

Banana Republic grey turtleneck; thrifted 2011, $3.75 (no visible wear)


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