Get your thrift on.


Love! Romance! Two of our favorite things.

I love that little wall hanging. I found it on ebay for $5 and it is Amish. Do you need any more reasons to love something? I don't.

So, Like I said in my last entry, I went thrifting for several hours on Saturday and had a blast. I explored some thrift stores on the south side of Austin that I don't get to very often. I walked away with a few bags full of fantastic finds. I'm going to use some of the nifty stuff I found to demonstrate some great Thrifting Guidelines...I was going to call them the Rules of Thrifting but I thankfully remembered that rules are dumb. Phew. Now, Keep in mind that I am not a Jedi Knight, or Harry Potter, or teen witch for that matter. Meaning, I cannot make magic! A lot of this may seem obvious and elementary to thrifting old timers, but bear with me and please add any of your own suggestions to the comments! I just want to tell you guys what my personal thrifting philosophies are in the hopes that they help you in your quest! And before I start, if you haven't actually seen teen witch before, you need to get on that. So...

1. Where to thrift? If you can help it, avoid thrifting ( especially in big name chain stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army) in urban, downtown, or otherwise "hip" areas. Before we moved to TX, my family and I lived in L.A and I avoided thrifting there like herpes. I stuck to the suburbs, the less hip Orange County, and surrounding areas like the inland empire. Big name thrift stores especially in urban/cool neighborhoods are going to be picked over and overpriced. Do you really want to get in a fight with some anemic boy hipster in a sweatband and prefontaine shorts over a pair of (kinda) cheap skinnies? No. You're over it. Stick to the random, privately owned thrift stores on the outskirts of town ( also, different religious denominations also often have their own thrift stores benefiting charitable causes, which is fantastic). Even better if you can get to the sticks and raid some country church basement sale! I recently drove by a BRAND NEW GRAND OPENING sign for a thrift store in the NW suburbs of Austin...


The Nifty Thrift was a double bonus because not is it a small, one off store but they were just opened and fresh as a daisy. I got a few things to sell and I picked up a great pearl snap cowboy shirt for a guy friend. I also got...

The Perfect Shades. $1.49
Photo 59

My favorite earrings. Ever. $1.00
Photo 46

I have been looking for a really basic, nicely shaped pair of sunglasses for awhile as an alternative to the rather costume-y collection I have amassed. And those earrings speak for themselves. They're so early 90's it burns my eyes. Don't even try to guess what that means. Anywho...

The point is you want to avoid other people looking for the same things you're looking for. Now, you can find great stuff in the old standbys like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Your best bet is to go to older, wealthy neighborhoods because the best thrifted and VINTAGE finds are from old, wealthy people. :) Go to the nice part of town where the rich get rid of stuff on a regular basis and to the most obvious/convenient places aka Goodwill and Salvation Army. The hope is that they're unloading goods from bygone eras that have been in their attic for decades. I wandered into a Salvation Army one day to find that some tiny, stylish, probably well off woman had obviously passed and her family seemed to have dumped her entire wardrobe from the 50's and 60's on the racks. I found some of the most beautiful, handmade, well preserved vintage dresses I had ever seen that day! The employees must have thought I was a loon because I bought them all...all 40! And all at the whopping price of $4.99! As of now that day ranks as my most epic thrifting venture yet.

2. Don't go thrifting on the weekend if you can get around it. If you can possibly thrift during the day on a weekday, you're golden. Weekends are a mess and there will be millions of families and the racks will be a mess (is there really anything more annoying than tangled hangers?) and the dressing rooms will be full. If you're going to go on Saturday, get there when they open and be ready to roll your cart over some miscreant children.

3. Give yourself a lot of time. Thrift stores usually have a TON of inventory and you want to be able to go through it all. My friends always say they never find anything in thrift stores and they can't understand why I seem to find so much. I have been shopping with these friends and they skim the racks! If you want to get something amazing for cheap you have to work for it. Go get yourself a venti iced coffee, throw your jacket and purse in a cart, park it at the end of a row and then GO THROUGH EVERY ITEM ON THE RACK. I mean literally separate every single hanger and look at what's hanging on it. It is going to take a long time...wear an ipod?

4. Try it on. I mean try it on no matter what. If you like the color, try it on. If you think it may be too small, try it on. If it smells funny but it has amazing buttons, try it on. TRY IT ON TRY IT ON TRY IT ON. You wanna know what makes me insane? People who pull something out of the rack (the $6 rack, no less) say "oooooomaaahgaaaawd this is cute huh??" and then put it back on the rack. WHAT. is that about? Wear easy to remove clothes, tie your hair up, sport some slip on shoes. TRY. IT. ON. You canNOT tell what something will look like on you unless you do. The worst case scenario is that it doesn't look awesome, you just didn't spend a fiver and you're out 4 minutes of your life. The best case scenario is that it looks shockingly good and IT COST A FIVER. I don't know why I am suddenly obsessed with the term "fiver."

Ok see this dress? This dress is a pretty color but on a hanger it looks like something a veterinarian would have to wear to work with orthopedic shoes.


But, I tried it on. And I think it looks pretty righteous.

Heck. Throw some accessories on and it's pretty special!

I even gave it the cold weather treatment.

This is even more exciting because I was finally able to put together a look with this EPIC shawl/scarf thing that I got on ebay a few months ago. It's been hanging in my closet for awhile now, mocking me because I couldn't figure out what to wear it with. This thing is so me, I can't even put it into words.


Is it embarassing that I bought this in large part because the words "stevie nicks" were in the item description? I feel like I should perhaps try and wear this every single day, because I love it so much...but let's face one challenge at a time.

5. Figure out when your favorite thrift stores put their new stuff out. Some do it every day but most (according to my research, ahem) put out new inventory once a week...often on Tuesday for some reason? Obviously, try and go on that day. No-brainer.

6. TRY IT ON, K?

7. It's a pretty good idea whenever you're shopping to buy something only if you have something to wear it with or something to wear it to. Even if that super neat pea-green, pencil-skirt for $6 is to die for, you may never put it on if you a) never wear skirts or b) work architectural digs for a living. Spending a little money is still spending money and if you won't wear it why bother? I have to admit this is one I am working on. I am an impulse buyer in my heart and I have a tendency to buy things cause they're SOOOOOO AWESOMESSSS!!! Then they rot in my closet...cause pencil skirts look awful on me.

8. Don't be easily deterred. If you find something great with a tear or a stain maybe, chances are it is easy enough to fix. If you find something vintage in a thrift store evaluate the damage. TIP- armpit stains/discoloration on really old clothes are usually impossible to remove. The thing is, if you buy something you love on the cheap and it needs to be mended you're still out way less money than you would be to buy something similar new. And I know a lot of people are squeamish about wearing other peoples old clothes especially...other peoples stains, other peoples wash it genius. Wash it in hot water or have it dry cleaned or BOIL IT if you need to. Do you think you're going to catch a disease? Don't be dumb.

I'm going to resist the urge to type TRY IT ON again (um, sort of) and leave it at that for the time being. I can honestly say that I do all those things up there and I find some pretty cool schwag when I shop.

Saturday I also picked up...

wedges, Nine West $9.99. You can't quite tell but the bottom half is patent. Classic and easy to wear with anything!


Fall/Winter goods
Old lady sweater in a dusty purple color with wanna-be Chanel buttons
2 old man sweater vests for layering
Muted plaid blazer

Glam-tastic faux fur vintage coat. Smells like someone smoked in it for a living but nothing a dry cleaner can't fix!That's not all I found last weekend but I don't want to show you everything. What would I have to look forward to?

For the record, this is what I wore today.

IMG_0180Photo 50
dress, Anthropologie
shoes, Steve Madden

None of my outfit today was thirifty OR vintage, but I they're not new. Some days a pretty little dress and basic wedges is just the easiest, quickest way to get me out the door. 

One more bit of secondhand goodness that I feel you guys deserve to see is something out of my top five favorite finds of all time in the universe (!)...I present,

My Chippendales mug.
Photo 1

Do you know how hard it is to have a bad day when you start it off with a hot cup of coffee in this bad boy? It's nearly impossible. And get this! I got two, in a set...identical. What on earth is up with the hand coming around his head and putting its finger in his mouth?? WHAT is going on here?

The last thing I will say tonight is that if you haven't perused Sesame magazine online yet, you should hop to it. There are a whole lot of fun online magazines out there, but despite the fact that it hasn't been updated in forever, I still go back to Sesame magazine regularly for the pretty pretty and some good old fashioned inspiration. Peruse the back issues, there are some beautiful editorials!

Go get your thrift on! Don't forget to take a peek inside my ebay store, Magnolia Family Vintage, for great finds. And add us on myspace! Ok, self-promotion OVER.

Seacrest OUT!
(is that getting old yet?)


bonjouritsjinah said...

AHHH is that the plenty by Tracy Reese dress? It is so gorgeous. And I love your blog so far, the entries are so fun and epic.

Kim Grant said...

Sorry my doll, I am cheeky. But I also am POOR, and have been thrifting for a long long time (I won't say how long as it gives my age). You are extremely good at it, and as I say, you are my new fashion mag. Get your DIY up and get yourself an article in BUST magazine...everyone needs to know about you!

Linda said...

Today was my first time really reading your blog, and lady, you had me laughing my ASS off! LOVE this entry! I think the tips are smart and well-put. :D

Hope you don't mind, but I'm going to link you in my blog later today. :)

Coco said...

the best thrifting I've had in my life was in Miami. Old rich Jewish people move from the Northeast, bring all their amazing fur coats/neon granny jackets/vintage dresses/hilarious glasses, realize that they will only be wearing bathing suits and sweatpants for the rest of their lives, and donate it to the thrift stores. THE BEST.

JIN said...

40 DRESSES FOR $4.99? WAT.

i hate thrifting with other people because they have that annoying habit of skimming. -_-

and for the record, I TRY EVERYTHING ON. :)

Sarah D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah D. said...

we must be kindred spirits jin!

i_heart_vintage said...

I live in Orange County and I rarely find anything good here. I've actually had some good luck out in Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage. Old wealthy retirement communities! Do you have any other locations I should check out? I'm thinking of heading out to the Indio area when it cools off to check out thrift stores there. I've also been thinking of Ventura area, but I'm not sure if that would be picked over. What do you think?

Ashley said...

so top that so top that
i don't really give uh
'bout tryin' to top that
so top that


We are mind twins. And I love this blog and I'm so excited for you and how famous you will be :)

Just don't forget about lj! Hey, you should set up an rss feed!

xo Ashley (theverticalbar)

ほし said...

Oh yes. I'm officially addicted to this blog.

Lately I've been just buying a lot of vintage jewelry...thought I got a .25 cent blazer at the flea market about three weekends ago. Mwahahaha!

le13anna said...

#1. I love your outfit for today.
#22. Dear GOD I hate to shop.

Zelda said...

I've never been a very good shopper. I'm definitely a "skimmer". However, after reading your guidelines I'm considering giving vintage shopping a try.

Found you through That Austin Girl... so glad I did!!

tc said...

two questions:
1. What are your top 10 thrift stores in Austin?
2. Do your thrift shopping tips apply to us girls on the voluptuous side thinking about starting thrift shopping?

Sarah D. said...

good questions!

I'd b hard pressed to name ten great thrift stores in Austin...maybe I am an elitist? My favorites right now are-

1. Thriftland
3. Treasure City Thrift
4. Goodwill on research blvd. and Anderson Mill (north west)
5. Salvation Army directly next to said Goodwill.

They can all be found on or google or whatnot for directions!

As for your second question I can honestly say I usually come across larger sizes (especially in dresses) more often than small. Since a lot of plus size stuff that people get rid of can be a bit dated it probably requires more styling, belts, vests, etc...

I am confident that being voluptuous is not a set back when it comes to thrifting. :)

TeeCee's Trifles said...

That scarf....made me wet (just a little). beauts. SOOO beauts.

Sarah D. said...

haaaaaaa. I am glad my scarf, erm, made your day :)

Crystal said...

Okay, first of all? Teen Witch! I thought I was the only person on the planet who loved that movie...also, loving your blog and your super-cute self. :)

Megan said...

ahh where is that nifty thrift? i thought i passed by it the other day but didn't have time.. i can't for the life of me think of where it is now.. do help!