I’ve never been called trendy or fashion-forward. Growing up, I was a little bit of a tomboy and shopping was NOT my thing. (Just ask my poor mom.) Fast forward to my teenage and early adult years, I tried hard to wear what I thought I should and ended up with countless cases of buyer’s remorse and a tremendous amount of time spent in clothes that just did not feel like ‘me.’ Here I am, a little older, a little wiser, and with many more responsibilities (aka bills), so there’s REALLY no time or money to shop now.
Love at First Sight.
It happened the summer of 2017. I stumbled into what is now my favorite second-hand shop out of desperation. There was a family wedding coming up, and 4/5 people in my little family were in it–1 Best Man, 1 Flower Girl, and 2 Ringbearers. It was a blast, but hard on the budget. So, there I was, looking to dress myself for the big event and the parties that preceded it. Did you know they have sales at resale shops? That’s what I stumbled into, and it was a sublime experience. I left with 3 dresses – a BCBG cocktail dress that I bought for $8 (it’s still the most glamorous thing I own), a second for the bridal shower, and a third just for kicks because it was ONE DOLLAR with the original tags still on it.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been back. My current trend is to visit 2-3 times a year and stock up for the upcoming season. (It’s south LA; we only have 2 anyway). This last time, I went with you in mind. I gave myself 1 hour and $100 and promised I would report back on what I found. In the spirit of full disclosure, I busted my budget by 30 minutes and $30 but neither was necessary. I could’ve walked out of there after only 20 minutes and called it a success; I was just having too much fun. Also important to know, you do need a fair amount of time and you should definitely try everything on before you buy. It’s probably never a pop-in, scurry-out situation. I don’t know that you always need an hour, but if you rush yourself the magic will be lost.
Happily Ever After.
While browsing, I took note of the brands I found. I didn’t necessarily buy something with all of these labels, but I saw Citizens for Humanity, J. Crew, GAP, LulaRoe, Michael Kors, Lush, the Loft, Jessica Simpson (heels!), Lou & Grey, the Limited, TOMS, and the list goes on. They have entire racks of jeans, sweaters, a wall of dresses, work-out clothes, and more, all grouped by size, then color. It’s organization at its finest. I’m not a big purse girl, but an entire post could be written about their selection of gently-used designer bags alone. One of my favorite finds from this trip? A maxi-skirt + pockets that still had the original tags from one of Lafayette’s upscale boutiques … I bought it for $10. Oh! Another major steal? A like-new pair of Converse for myself … $12.
When it was all said and done, I walked out of there with 2 pairs of pants, 2 dresses (1 for $6!), 4 tops, 2 skirts, 2 pairs of shoes, and 2 pairs of earrings (Yep! Jewelry, too!). Fourteen items of clothing at an average of $10 apiece. Most have been worn, which means they’ve been washed so they won’t shrink or fade, and I can guarantee every item I bought is softer than when it was brand new. Two of those 14 items still had their original tags, and all (sans shoes and earrings) took a spin through the delicate cycle when I got home.
My favorite thing about the clothes that I find in a resale shop is how good I feel wearing them. For starters, it’s great for the environment. But more than that, something about giving these clothes a second-chance, I think, makes them kinder … maybe even more flattering. They’re so grateful to be worn, they help me to look good! I love wondering about their first life and always hope I do them justice. (And lastly, it’s easy to take a gamble on a new dress style when you paid less than $10!)
I do have a favorite store … I’ll gladly tell you if you ask. The staff is so friendly and helpful, they’re a huge part of why I keep going back. But, it’s not the only one in town! I’ve walked out of every one with great finds at even better prices. One of my favorite things to do when I travel (especially with my girlfriends) is shop at second-hand stores. Then you KNOW that what you’re bringing home is completely unique.
I’m always looking for new stomping grounds! If you love thrift-shopping, tell me where I should try next…here, there or anywhere!