I receive many questions/comments about shoppers' frustrations with second hand. These tips and techniques will help you sort through the crap and find those rare gems that will remain after all your forever 21 dresses have disintegrated.
Prepare Thyself! Heavy thrifting requires patience. You should be well fed or else you'll get cranky and bail. Wear layers. If you are wearing leggings and a tank you can easily try on any combination of clothing right there in the aisles (most thrift stores have very limited changing rooms). Most importantly, focus on the items which have potential.
Go for: Leather goods: belts/jackets/wallets/boots Leather will always be in vogue for its utility and beauty. It can also last more than a lifetime if care is taken. Plus, everyone will be jealous of your vintage cowboy boots.
Dresses/Skirts: Dresses and Skirts are great items to thrift because their wear-history is likely to be less than say pants or shirts. Also styles and tailoring of skirts does not change so drastically from year to year. A circle skirt will always be lovely (unlike jeans with a 1/2 inch zipper circa 2002)
Jewelry/Fur: Luxury items can be found for a lot less, especially when old ladies kick the bucket and/or the store employees don't realize the value of the item. Vintage jewelry is where it's at. Everyone will ask and no one will be able to imitate. Second hand fur is also the way to go, you can find high quality pieces for a fraction of the price and your money isn't going to the fur industry but most likely to charity.
Other good options: jackets/blazer, hats, ridiculous sequined evening wear, and my favorite - vintage ethnic/national garments like kimonos, caftans, saris, cholis, ponchos, etc.
Avoid: T-shirts, pants, the obvious undergarments/swimwear. T-shirts and pants have most likely been worn to death. No one should be wearing a ratty T-shirt (unless its an original Star Trek The Next Generation / favorite classic rock band T). Pants should always be well tailored for your body (and the times) and its hard enough finding that in stores. Don't waste your time. Happy thrifting!
Dear Miss Marie, I am getting married next Spring and do not want my bridesmaid dresses to look tacky or too "bridesmaidsy." Do you have any tips on finding great bridesmaid dresses?
I am so glad you asked! It has become a cliche that bridesmaids dresses are tacky - but still no one seems to learn from it! First - fabric choice is key. Dresses should not be shiny unless they are made of silk. Natural fibers are the way to go because nothing screams synthetic (and cheap) like a super shiny dress. Secondly, its easiest to choose a great bridesmaids' dress if it isn't a bridesmaids dress. Beautiful dresses can be found from mid range stores like J.Crew, Anthropologie, Anne Taylor, Modcloth, and BHLDN (though this is a bridal line). Dresses with a pattern or texture also are unexpected and add a level of sophistication.
Lots of brides are also choosing to pick a hue or palette and letting their maids choose their own dress (with the bride's guidance and approval of course!). This helps each girl feel comfortable and pretty by choosing a dress that fits her style and body. This is especially recommended when your bridesmaids are drastically different heights/weights/body types.
Hi Miss Marie, I was wondering. Everyone is getting married these
days. And next weekend I have a wedding to go to. My boyfriend says
fancy dress pants on women at weddings is like women who wear one pieces
as a bathing suit-- just not sexy. Can I make pants sexy or fancy
enough for a wedding? Love, mere
You absolutely can wear pants to a wedding, the exception being black
tie, unless of course, you have the funds for something really fabulous like an
Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking Tuxedo, Oh la la!
My recommendation would be to wear pants with an interesting silhouette and/or print. What you should not do is wear regular black office pants. That will come off as sad and unsexy.
Below are some good alternatives to dress pants.
A wide leg (like the above by Matthew Williamson) makes an impact and can be worn with a back or decolletage baring top. The cropped pant (H&M) gives room to show off a sexy stiletto and can be worn with a silky blouse and with a peek of lace bra underneath. The tailored harem pants (by Helmut Lang) are very versatile; you can wear it with a sheer button up, a fitted cap sleeve, or a structured blazer. The sky is the limit.
Because pants are more causal - remember to accessorize with sexy shoes and a piece of statement jewelry. The most important thing is that you feel confident, comfortable, and attractive. <3
My bestie Morganza and I had a glorious day filled with le Petit Abeille wafels, Shake Shack concrete (fluffernutter for me:), Laduree Macarons, and Alice's Tea Cup cup 'o tea. But the crowning jewel had to be the 17 minutes we stood transfixed in Bloomingdale's Chanel store watching this oh so beautiful runway show :