treasure hunting

So, I haven’t yet found my striped blazer, but I’ve been having fairly stellar thrift luck. I’d knock on wood but I’m ok with my recent luck being the bulk of it, please refer to the whole LESS STUFF thing. I basically fail at paring back when it comes to clothes – especially since so few of mine fit these days, but I’m unwilling to get rid of the things I’ve grown out of. So I have 3 sizes of wardrobe in my closet, and nothing to wear. Lately I’ve been gravitating to super classic, more preppy-beatnik styles. It works professionally and feels polished and makes me feel better, at least. Soooo, some of you might be like “ew! old lady clothes!” but I’m into it.

Desert thrifts:
Chanel bag – currently at Chanel being spruced up. The chain had detached from the bag, but I figured at 1/100th of the price of a new Chanel, it was worth it.
Donna Karan black wool tulip dress – perfect for work & got so so many compliments when I wore it!
Set of 4 aperitif glasses (we’ll use for port)
Paul Stuart jacket for Sean
Vintage 70s indigo jeans
English pottery cup for my desk pencils
Woven leather heels
Carved earrings
Mod silver candlesticks

Goodwill 1/2 off sale:
Diane von Furstenberg black and white paperbag waist silk dress
Calvin Klein fitted stretch denim jacket
Celine shoes
H&M flowy grey tank
1960s Saks Fifth Ave tweed dress (oops, too small. body dysmorphia from rapid weight gain, hi.)
Built by Wendy striped top
Ralph Lauren long fitted equestrian jacket
Bryn Walker (an old lady label that I think is based here) black linen 60’s style beatnik top

If I had to boil down how I shop to a process, I’d say:

1. Learn your fabrics! It’s almost always that the first things I grab are high end. I started out in school studying textiles, so I can spot good fabric at a distance. I’d say this is responsible for about 50% of my thrifting luck.
2. Be fairly methodical. Know what you’re looking for, have an idea of colors/cuts and focus on those, then work outward.
3. Look in the kids section. Obviously this mostly works if you’re on the smaller side, but old thrift ladies often file smaller women’s clothing in the wrong place.
4. I find the best men’s (Yves Saint Laurent velvet blazer, Paul Stuart tweed) in the ladies dept. My husband is pretty thrilled about this.
5. I haggle like an old lady.
6. Know how to tell designer fakes apart from authentic pieces (if you care.)
7. Grab anything that looks promising. I’ll have a huge pile that I whittle down – if you hem & haw on the spot, someone else is grabbing your treasures. Just pick things up on instinct and get decisive when you’ve finished looking at the entire shop.
8. Go where the rich people live. Or students at private colleges.

And in non-thrift news, I’ve been using up hexmas gift certificates. These Repetto heels were love at first sight (I’m scared to wear them and muck them up) and the lightning necklace made of bone has been worn 3 days straight and I love love love it.

My apologies for wonky light on these photos – I can’t wait til there’s actually extra light in the day after work!!


  1. Oh my goodness gracious – those Repetto heels are just gorgeous! I would be very interested in knowing how you style them.

    And yes, YES to 70’s jeans. I am hoping for a revolution.

    Still gobsmacked about that Chanel bag.

    P.P.S The carved earrings – coral?

  2. those are all such great finds! i find now that discovering treasures is even more rare for me than when i started thrifting ages ago. i think finding them makes it that much more satisfying.

    i saw so many tiny thrifts on the way down the coast a few years ago. i’m lusting for a car so i can have random thrifting adventures.

    i have the worst time paring down my wardrobe. i donated a ton of things before i moved to california. i’ve donated stuff while i’ve been here as well. sometimes i think my clothing is secretly breeding without my knowledge. i swear i could warm alaska with all of the jackets i have.

  3. The Repetto heels are too pretty!

    My only other tip would be keep your iPhone handy. Went thrifting last night and found out just how helpful a quick name search on an item can be!

    1. For the 1/2 off days, I drive around to most of them in the East Bay! I actually have found some amazing things at the one on Haight, but they have slightly higher prices. The University Ave one is good, too.

  4. My best thrift tip is to only buy things that I would be comfortable buying retail. That is, no cheap target or forever 21 duds, very few foreign/ sweat shoppy goods, nothing already too worn, and mostly things made of natural materials. I also touch things as much as possible and try to guess the fabric content. A very quick way to learn about your basic textiles and their quality!

    I have hit a thrift shop plateau. Maybe I’m just boring but I already have so many clothes that I like and are of good quality that it is becoming more and more difficult to find things that are worth shelling out for. I mean, how many red and white breton stripe shirts or black sweaters or roper boots or polka dot dresses can I justify having?

  5. Love all this! I usually have horrible no-good rotten luck when I go thrifting. I don’t fit into anything, especially not things considered to be vintage, because I am just way too tall. I love thrifting for home decor stuff though – it’s so easy to find amazing things at Goodwill!

  6. Honestly, I have problems with #2. Maybe this is why I have problems thrifting successfully? Also, ever since you pointed me to repetto, I’ve been a bit lost. It’s simply not fair that they cost so much when I want them.

  7. Wowww, you have some incredible finds there. I can’t remember where you’re located.. I vaguely remember you being connected to Vermont somehow? (follower of your Flickr) I love thrift shopping, but I never had any finds like that back in the states (upstate New York & Vermont)

  8. Textile studies really did help! I just run my hand over a crowded rack and the nice things jump right out. That said, no more thrifting for me, not until I get rid of at least 50% of my clothes and shoes. :/

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