I absolutely love vintage stores. I’m not one of those girls who squirms at the thought of someone else’s worn clothing. In fact, just the opposite. I love the idea that the clothing I’m sorting through was owned and loved and worn by somebody else. I love spending hours combing through the racks of all items ugly, fabulous and somewhere in between, hoping that something hidden will pop out and be my next favorite piece of clothing. Call me crazy, but I even love that musty, worn smell of vintage and consignment stores. My favorite vintage stores in LA were always Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange and Jet Rag, and I’d beg friends (most of whom only had about half the patience I had) to spends hours shopping with me on Saturday afternoons.
Needless to say, a trip to Goodwill is always on the agenda when I’m home in LA. In September, I discovered a brand new Goodwill just a few blocks from my house which is incredibly neat, very well organized and brimming with awesome finds. That trip led me to my favorite pair of Chinese Laundry heels, strappy sandals in silver & gold with a killer 4 inch heel that cost me just $10, and a cashmere J Crew cardigan (which I’m totally obsessed with) for just $6.
So yesterday, I went back. Two hours and 3 trips to the dressing room later, I’d found an H&M cardigan ($5), Ann Taylor blazer ($6), a pair of Steve Madden flats ($10), Nine West heels ($8) & a pair of Steve Madden sandals ($6). My total? A whopping $35.45. Score! Scroll through the slideshow to see pictures of all my finds!
Vintage shopping is not for the weak. The same way my friends roll their eyes at me for spending hours combing through the racks at H&M or Forever 21, shopping at places like Goodwill takes stamina, time and patience. I’ve found that there are a few tricks for shopping vintage that really help:
- Go on your own. Shopping with a girlfriend or group of friends can be great, but often times having the time to yourself can be really satisfying, and you can shop at your own pace without feeling rushed or pressured. Need advice on something? Send a picture message!
- Don’t have a specific item in mind. You can’t show up at Goodwill and think “Okay, I need a long black cardigan, a pair of designer jeans and a killer pair of pumps.” It just doesn’t work like that. Go shopping with an open mind and you’re likely to come across something you didn’t even know you were looking for but is absolutely perfect anyways.
- Try things on. Most stores will have fitting rooms, but regardless, I always wear a tank top and leggings or tights that are easily layer-able. That way, when you throw on pants or tops they aren’t necessarily rubbing on your bare skin. Often times, sizing will be off. Items may have shrunk, pieces marked small will have stretched. If you find a piece you absolutely love, try it on regardless of what the tag says. Keep in mind that if a pair of jeans that you love but don’t fit perfectly are only $5, they’re usually worth getting hemmed and/or taken in.
- Check carefully for holes and stains. While the majority of things on the rack have been checked for too much damage, many people give things away because they’re over worn or ruined in some way. When trying things on, do a full check for any stains, holes or rips. You don’t want to get home and discover your new purchases aren’t actually wearable.
- Most importantly: have patience!! This one is key. Like I mentioned above, I spent more than 2 hours at Goodwill yesterday. I find it’s easier to tackle the store in sections – first I hit the long sleeve tops, slowly making my way through all the colored racks. Next I went to the blazers and jackets, then dresses, then finally shoes & bags. I also hit the dressing room in shifts, so that I don’t have an overwhelming number of things to try on at the end. Plus, the majority of the things I try on I don’t get, so it empties my hands a few times throughout my time in the store. Let yourself pour over the racks – the best items are often hidden and worth digging for.