Thrifting: My favorite items to buy at thrift stores.

Most people go thrift shopping to see what they find – which is very true for me. However, I do have favorite items that I like to buy at thrift stores because they’re the best bargains. I check these sections out before I check anywhere else in the store.

COATS

Coats are probably my favorite items to bargain hunt. Coats are very expensive and if you’re like me, I only like to buy thick, warm and cozy wool coats. I live in Charlotte and while it may not be Chicago cold, it’s still cold enough for me. Wool, cashmere, fur, mohair and nylon can call come with a pricey price tag when purchased new but you can get these fabrics at a steal in thrift stores. My all-time favorite winter coat, featured throughout the blog, was purchased at a Goodwill for $8.00 (MaxMara). I would have NEVER been able to find it at that bargain price if purchased new – no matter the sale. The coat was still in excellent condition and all it needed was dry cleaning.

LEATHER GOODS

It’s no secret, leather is expensive. Whenever I find boots and/or leather bags in good condition I get super giddy. Of course, if a label is attached to it, then I am SUPER giddy. Most of us love a good label/luxury find and we get it a bargain, its even better. I have found MANY label items but the one item that comes to mind (as of recent) is these Elizabeth James leather pants. I bought these brand news without the tags at my local goodwill for under $5.00. These pants will be with me for many years to come and will last a very long time (if taken well care of).

Tartan Blazer + Leather Pants, featured here

BLAZERS

I guess the argument can be made that this could probably fall under the coats category because of its similarity. I did think of including it with the coats section but honestly, I view coats and blazers a bit different. For one, blazers can be worn year round and one could say that for this reason they are more versatile than coats. How ever you view them, blazers are my third favorite find. A good quality blazer will run you in the hundreds, especially when you factor in the fabric, brand and style. In general, blazers are just “fancier” jackets but they can really make you looked polished and pulled together. A very good blazer is a closet staple and it should last you a very long time. When choosing a blazer, stick with a neutral color, a classic design and preferably one that is lined.

What are your favorite thrifted items? Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy Fashion,

Karla

Bell Bottom Jeans + Chunky Knit Sweater

Heeeeeeyyyy {insert teeth chattering} ya’ll its been COLD here in Charlotte. It snowed twice in a week and that is almost unheard of. On a normal season, it snows once a season but this week was insane. This is the kind of weather that makes me miss home dearly.

This outfit was definitely not worn this weekend – I was covered in layers of clothing this weekend. I actually wore this a few weeks ago when it was chilly – but not bone chilly. I love a good pair of bell bottoms and I am NEVER giving them up. Say what you will about them but they make this short girl look like a runway model with extra long legs. I have always loved bell bottoms and I am always in search of the perfect pair (actually think I found them). I luckily found these at a thrift store about 2/3 years ago BNWTs and have worn them a handful of times. They are super stretchy and comfy and the bell isn’t too exaggerated. I wear these during the colder months because I can wear them with boots, being 5’4 I can’t really with these without high heels. I was really going for that 70’s look so I paired the jeans with this chunky knit bell sleeve top and finished it with a floppy hat for the full 70’s experience. The top is absolutely gorgeous, it’s Free People and I actually got it a consignment shop a friend of mine took me too. I’ll admit I’m not the consignment shop kinda gal but I was impressed by this shop. I actually plan on another trip soon since this top was 100% the trip.

Outfit Details – Jeans similar here | Top similar here | Shoes similar here | Floppy Hat similar here

Karla

Top: Free People

Houndstooth Coat + Converse

The Houndstooth coat again. As mentioned on my previous post, this coat is a rental and since its a rental, I try to wear it as much as possible. As a member I don’t have a deadline of when I have to return my items but I like to keep the items rotating. I really wanted to keep this one but it was simply a bit too big. I do plan on renting it again in my size, so expect to see it again.

I wanted a more relaxed weekend – off duty look. This is a day-to-day outfit that you could typically catch me wearing. I usually reserve heels for work or outings but errands I’m usually in sneakers unless heels aren’t an option (or not in the mood). I was actually really excited about these converse. In high school, I had about 20+ pairs of converse in a variety of colors and designs. In time, I got rid of them and stopped wearing them altogether but since I needed new lifting shoes, I decided to give these a try again. OMG, these are super comfy! It really was a mere coincidence that they happen to go well with the coat so I made an outfit out of it.

Have a nice weekend ya’ll.

Outfit Details: Top Similar here | Jeans here | Coat here | Shoes similar here

Karla

Winter Essentials

Every winter season, I either update or upgrade sweaters, shoes, pants etc. However, there are some items I never get rid or replace every season because it’s too worn from the previous season. Keep in mind that winters in North Carolina are very mild in comparison to the North or Northeast. Since our winters are so mild, I don’t necessarily need snow boots but do I need warm sweaters because this Floridian gal isn’t use to cold. Here are my easy peasy winter essential.

Turtleneck

I am not a fan of layers and rarely wear scarves so when its really gold out and I need my neck covered, I opt for turtlenecks. If it’s really cold I’ll throw on a scarf but usually a turtleneck is sufficient. I usually opt for a medium thickness top so that I can easily layer underneath sweaters, coats, jackets and blazers. I specifically love wearing them with blazers to work because its the easiest way to look polished. Unfortunately, I have not found a turtleneck that I have been able to keep for more than one season, especially the black ones because of fading and/or overstretching. I try to have 3/5 different colors on hand so that I can rotate with pants and skirts (and even dresses), currently I have one in black, green, burgundy, yellow, and white. I do have a gray chunky knit one but I can’t really layer this one with much because of its thickness and warmth.

Boots

This might be kind of obvious but we all need a good pair of boots in the winter. Finding the right pair is the tricky part. For me, it has come down to more than one pair. I try to stick to two different styles and shapes. I tried finding ONE good pair but noticed that because of my height and outfits, one just wasn’t cutting it. I have a pair of trusted Chelsea booties for comfort, knee-high pair to spice up my outfits and a pair of patent leather ankle booties for work. Of course, I have a few pair of boots in different shades and shapes but I find myself reaching for these the most. All of my essential boots are black but I have ventured into different colors and patterns. The key here is to look at your closet and see what color you will be able to match with the items you already own. Additionally, stick with a solid color, avoid a pair that has too many buckles, large zippers and colored zippers/buckles/studs. I also recommend leather/faux-leather over suede and patent leather boots.

Luckily, I don’t need to invest in snow boots !

American Apparel, similar

Coat

A warm coat will take you a long way and it should last you a few seasons (years). I was lucky enough to have found a very good coat at Goodwill a few years ago. Its the MaxMara wool coat I’ve pictured here a few times. Every year, no matter how cold it gets, I always reach for this coat. It’s like a wearing a warm blanket to work, the grocery store and dinner. I was very fortunate to have found this coat in such great condition and truth be told, it might be a bit too warm for NC but I don’t care. It keeps me warm every fall/winter season and I can’t get enough of it. The perfect coat should be one that you can wear almost everyday during the colder months and that they can handle the wear and tear.

MaxMara Icon 101801, similar

Black Tights

Stockings, tights, which ever word you use, I need these in black, EVERY winter season. Winter dresses (skirts too) are one of my favorite pieces of clothing to wear during the colder months; especially for work. That is why black tights are a staple in my closet because I have to wear tights underneath my dresses – this serves two purposes, it helps me avoid chaffing and adds an additional layer of clothing to keep warm. Every season I have to replace my tights because of how much these get. They usually get pulled/frayed from my nails, rings and pilling from the boots. I have tried buying warm tights but find that the material doesn’t last long and I find myself replacing them before the season is over.

Wool Pants

Black trousers are a staple in my closet but black wool pants are a must. I probably wear my black wool pants more than any other piece of clothing in my closet when the temps drop. I can wear them with blouses, sweaters, my boots and large coat. They easily help me avoid having to wear multiple articles of clothing while helping me stay warm. I also love how pulled together they can make my work outfits look but also, the versatility to be able to wear them off the clock. I prefer straight leg ankle pants because I can wear them with different shoe styles and height.

Are your winter essentials the same? Let me know in the comments!

Karla

Houndstooth + Suede Boots

Boots season continues… I’ll be real honest, my favorite thing about winter is coats and boots. If I could wear coats and boots all season long without having to wear layers of clothing, I would. Unfortunately, the way my body is setup (often joking I have palm trees for bones, LOL) I get cold fairly easily and I need a thick sweater to go with said coat. I wish I was those folks that can get away with a light sweater and a thick coat but that simply isn’t me.

Let’s talk about this coat for a minute (this is another Rent the Runway). Out of all my rentals, this was the ONE item I wanted to buy. I have contemplated buying it and I didn’t because the size was too big. I mistakenly ordered a large not realizing that it was an oversized fit but nevertheless, I still wore and still want it. This was the perfect coat for the extra chilly days we’ve had in NC. I loved the bold colors, print and pattern; what’s not to love about it. I wanted the coat to be THE outfit, so I paired it with a neutral sweater dress (also RTR) and these beautiful Vince Camuto boots. The neutral tone can be matched with several outfits and I love the 70s-eque style. I bought these about two months ago and they are still available in the Vince Camuto site.

If you’re in a cold place right now, I do hope you’re staying warm.

Outfit Details: Dress here | Coat Here | Boots Here | Hangbag – thrifted, similar here.

Karla

NVLT Coat – Rent the Runway

Velvet Pants + Tiger Print Blouse

Animal print can definitely be intimidating; especially, non-traditional prints like tiger or zebra stripes. I don’t stray away (get what I did there, LOL) from print, patterns, designs or colors because I love experimenting. Sure, sometimes it can be very hit or miss but the key to any outfit is confidence. Whenever I do wear a loud print, I try to neutralize by wearing a solid color. This usually lets the one loud print stand out without it overpowering me or distracting. That’s what I did with this top today. I knew I wanted the outfit to be office chic so I paired it with these velvet pants. Velvet pants are amazing and if you don’t own a pair, get some. They’re super easy to transition from office to cocktail hour. I did wear the top without an undershirt but if I were using this for work, I would wear a top underneath it.

Today’s outfit is thrifted – except the shoes and sunglasses. The top and pants were both brand new with tags, the duster I got several years ago and the bag was purchased on Poshmark.

For similar outfit items, top here, pants here, duster here, Bag here and shoes here.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Karla

Thrifting 101: Things to look out for when thrifting – Part II

Now that we’ve discussed how to go thrifting, lets discuss what to look out for when you are thrifting. You can easily forget that you’re in a thrift store when you’re having fun! But it is, true. Once you’ve been looking at clothes for a while (or anything for that matter) you forget where you are and you start picking things out of racks without checking them first. This is a big no-no. In order to make sure that what you’re buying is worth it – since most thrift stores don’t accept returns – you need to make sure you are inspecting your items with a fine tooth comb.

To Note – The list provided below is things you should be looking for whether you plan on putting some elbow grease to your clothes or not. I understand that you are buying used, and therefore, the expectation should be that you are not always going to find things in perfect condition and the items will be worn. This is not to say that you can’t – but, if you are buying with the intention of not having to fix things, keep the list in mind. If you are buying with the intention to fix (or as I like to say, ReChyc-it) then, you probably won’t mind buying something that you’ll have to put love into it. And finally, by worn, I mean, has the item been worn so much that it’s clearly visible and it may not worth the effort.

Tip #5: Thoroughly inspect your item.

And I do mean, inspect. There are the obvious things to look out for such as, stains and rips. However, when most people check, they’re looking at the obvious places – visible stains, missing buttons, rips and loose threading (which you should be checking). Aside from the obvious, here are places that you should be inspecting:

  • Tops/Dresses
    • Neck – Check the back of the neck – look for stains and possible rips. Also, if it’s a collared shirt, worn or stretched out collar.
    • Arm – Check the inside of the arm for deodorant stains.
    • Hem – Check for any unraveling hemming.
    • Sleeves – Stains and/or stretch out sleeves.
    • Pilling – This is especially true for sweaters.

  • Bottoms
    • Inseam – check in and out – you want to make sure there aren’t any stains.
    • Inseam – inner thigh area – check for fabric pilling.
    • Hem – especially check for any ripping, unraveling thread and possible stains.
    • Pockets – check for possible holes inside the pockets and any items left behind.
    • Waist – Check for unraveled belt hooks, rips and/or tears from an unravelled belt hook. Missing buttons or broken zippers.

  • Accessories
    • Shoes – check in and out – look for any visible scratches, stains, peeling fabric and any strong odors.
    • Shoes – The heel – is it too worn or broken?
    • Shoes – Inner sole – missing, peeling, cracking.
    • Shoes – The bottom of the shoe – is it too worn, cracking or damaged – beyond repair?
    • Handbags – check in and out – stains, rips inside the bag – you know where everything seems to go once the bag has a giant (or tiny) rip. Strong odors.
    • Handbags – straps – peeling, cracking, stained, missing or torn.

As a general rule – these are things you should look out for every time – visible stains, missing buttons, pilling fabric, strong odors, unraveling hems, broken zippers, missing stones, loose threading, faded fabric and/or bugs. Yes. I said bugs, keep reading below for more on this. The lists above are a guide to where you should be looking for these things specifically.

Tip #6: Read the cleaning and care instructions labels.

I cannot tell you how much this gets overlooked. Cleaning/care instructions are so important to read when you are buying anything – whether new or used – because this will help you maintain your clothes looking fresh and new. If you are not the type to do dry cleaning (keep reading to find my favorite at home dry cleaning kit) or follow special cleaning instructions when it comes to washing your clothes, that’s fine – but keep in mind that this may explain why your clothes don’t last. There are some items that you will need to dry clean and there are items that need to be hand washed. Think about if you want to invest the time and money (esp. if you are bargain shopping) to clean these items. Vintage clothing is exceptionally delicate and you want to keep this in mind. Clothing with heavy beading has to be hand washed with mild soap and water – do you want to spend the time cleaning such garments?

Tip #7: WASH/CLEAN your thrifted items before use.

Even if reading labels is not your thing, WASH and clean new and used items. Especially if you are buying at a thrift store – people donate these things and normally, people don’t wash and donate. Also, and this is a theory that some have and I am here to tell you, this is not true – THRIFT STORES DON’T WASH CLOTHES before putting them on the sales floor. The items are briefly inspected, tagged and placed on hangers. I had a coworker that thought this was the case and I had to break it to her.

Full Disclaimer – I am not a healthcare professional and nowhere near being a scientist.

We as humans perspire in our clothes, sneeze, use it a drying towel etc. This includes, traces of our body odor and any skin diseases we may have. As such, we can leave behind microbes and fungus on our clothing, even bugs, yes bugs (think hair lice). As a result, this can trigger skin diseases – which is rare and I don’t want to cause hysteria or chaos. But this is why you should be washing and cleaning anything that you purchase at thrift stores. Since we don’t know who wore our clothing, and where our clothing has been, it’s best to wash.

My recommended at home dry-cleaning kit.

As promised, my at-home recommended dry cleaning kit is Dryel At Home Dry Cleaner. This is not a sponsored post. One of reasons why I thrift shop is for its bargain and I want to spend the least amount of money on cleaning. My husband actually stumbled across this product in the detergent isle because my dry cleaning pile was as high as the Himalayan mountains, LOL. I was a skeptic at first but I have to say that following the simple instructions, my clothes came out looking and smelling fresh and clean. I have dry cleaned all sorts of clothes and fabrics and only experienced one issue – the wet sheets stained a silk-ish top. It does recommenced to do a spot check and I failed to do that but otherwise, I’ve had no issues. The only thing I haven’t tried is larger coats and I am sure it probably isn’t an issue but I prefer taking it to the cleaners for that nice, dry clean polish finish.

The drawback to this is, that you don’t get the pressed clothes or polished finish from a dryer cleaner. You may still have to iron if you like pant creases and for harder to steam fabrics. There are other brands out there with similar products but I recommend this one because its the one I’ve used. All in all, I rate it a 7/10.

Let me know in the comments section if you have other recommendations that I missed and/or if you’ve used a at-home dry cleaning kit.

Cheers,

Karla.

The Zebra Print Dress + Pony Hair Boots

I have another shopping obsession besides thrifting and it’s renting. Renting clothes it kinda of a new trend in the fashion scene. I say kinda because renting clothes by no means is a new concept. Clothes renting has been around for a while; growing up, what people rented around me was suits for prom. Nowadays, clothes – regular clothes – can be rented for a one-time fee or monthly fee. Rent the Runway (not a sponsored post) might have started this trend (though don’t know if this is factually true) but I have been renting clothes from them a few years now. The first time I used RTR was for my engagement photos, after that I was hooked. Recently, I decided to become a member to since I catch myself browsing their site for hours! I have decided to justify this expense by promising myself to shop less (hehe).

I don’t like layering (think I’ve mentioned this here before) especially now that I’ve gained weight. I find that for me, wearing dresses is the easiest way for me to avoid layers. I fell in love with the print but once I received it, I loved the material. Its a silky lightweight dress that you can probably wear year round. It’s a two-tonal dress but you can’t really tell until you actually see the dress in person. The fit was amazing and I loved that it slimmed me down. I also happened to rent the coat as well – I have a black wool coat but I wanted something more fitted. It happened to be a brutally cold day here on Saturday so I had to wear extra gear to keep warm. I wore leather gloves and this chic (thrifted) beret that made me feel very Parisian chic. The last piece of accessory was this cute thrifted briefcase style purse. It has removable straps but I prefer to wear it with the handle. Its a beautiful vintage bag that is still in great condition.

The boots are a moment. I have purchased exactly three pairs already and have forced myself NOT to go Schutz anymore; better known as the Maryana boot. I honestly should have started this post with the boots because the boots are THE reason why I rented this dress, lol NO SHAME. They photograph amazingly but they are also beautiful IRL. They’re very comfortable and versatile boots. All in All, 10/10. The site actually happens to have a sale right now. Trust, you will not regret it.

Hope you all have a fantastic week.

Karla

A.L.C. Dress – found here

Mens Wear | Oversized Mens Blazer

Today, I borrowed from the boys. I love a good oversized blazer and I had my eye on a Zara oversized blazer but then I found this one at Goodwill. I was really tempted to get the Zara one because its just gorgeous but this one was $5.00 so that was hard to pass up. At the time, the Zara blazer was NOT on sale, however, it currently is on sale, check here. Oversized blazers can be tricky if your petite like me, so its important that you balance this look with fitted clothing. Which is why I wore it with a pair of straight leg Levis and a fitted cashmere top. I finished the look with a pair of (thrifted) patent leather Rag and Bone booties and a (thrifted) Tignanello mini bag.

Y’all have an amazing weekend!

P.S. I plan on posting Monday, Wednesday’s and Fridays. However, to keep up with me on the daily, check out my IG @ReChycd.

Karla

For similar items; jeans here, booties here and black mini tote here.

Thrifting 101: Thrifting Tips for Beginners or Pros – Part I

It’s no secret that I have been thrifting for a very long time and as a result, I’ve become sort of a pro. People that don’t like thrifting, usually don’t like it for the following reasons: used items, especially clothing gives them the heebie jeebies, they don’t like the “hunt” of having to sort through racks of clothes, or the belief that the only clothes that are sold at thrift stores are vintage and/or outdated.

If you’ve gone thrifting before, you know that you can find all sorts of clothing; vintage, gently used and even brand new with the tags clothing. While I can understand that used clothing isn’t for everyone, I dare anyone to go at least once.

Here are my tips for a successful thrifting trip.

Tip #1: Keep an Open Mind.

This isn’t a big box store or your favorite online retailer. Most things at thrift stores are kept either on clothing racks or bins. There may be organization and there might not be. If you shop at your local Goodwill [best example as they’re everywhere in the U.S.] chances are clothing is organized by color. If you go antiquing, it may be sorted by era or just hung up in racks. If its your first time walking into a thrift store, check the scene out before you dive in. If you’re unsure, ask an employee for guidance.

Once you start looking through the racks, look for color, texture, print, design etc. Maybe you like something that you normally wouldn’t wear or maybe it’s vintage. You won’t know if you like it until you try it on – if you’re able to (more of this later). This is the perfect time to experiment with otherwise things you normally wouldn’t pick up or buy (especially online; if you hate online returns like I do, then you get it). Always remember this: Clothes ALWAYS come back around – even if that item that you pick up isn’t “on trend” if you like it, wear it.

Tip #2: Be Patient and go with time to spare.

I promise you not every thrifting trip is going to be successful. Just yesterday, I traveled an hour away from home to a thrift store that was supposed to be the best around and it SUCKED. I was there a solid 3 hours and came up short. Normally, I have a shopping cart full within 30 minutes but here, I was begging to find ONE thing worth the drive. I didn’t. You will have trips like this. Be patience in that you won’t always have good finds and be patience while you are browsing. This isn’t the place to rush. This is the place where you go with time and patience. If you know you have plans within the hour, you may just want to skip it and go on a lazy Sunday or when you’re not booked for the day. My most successful trips have been when I have been there more than an hour. The best advice I can give you here is, thoroughly check racks, bins, baskets, tables etc. Trust me, the more you slowly browse through bins and racks, the more likely you’ll find things. And this is key and leads me to my next tip.

Tip #3: Don’t go shopping for specifics.

You don’t walk in here looking for a specific item, as I like to say, “thrifting tells YOU what you want, not the other way around”, lol. Some days you may find a pot of gold and sometimes, you’ll find nothing and that’s part of the process. If you are looking for something specific, this isn’t the place to shop. If you need a specific pair of black pants or a specific shirt/shoes etc. skip the thrift store and go straight to your trusted retailer. I’m not saying you won’t find it, I’m saying you won’t find that specific item that you need.

Tip #4: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

This is a common mistake that newbies make. Wearing clothing and/or shoes that aren’t comfortable. Since you are going treasure hunting, (and if you’re following my tips with plenty of time), you should wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Not every thrift store has a dressing room and chances are, you may have to try clothes on top of your clothing. Which is why I highly recommend that you wear comfortable clothing for this very reason – I prefer to wear workout clothes (because they’re not bulky) and I can try clothes on top of my clothing. The Goodwills in my area recently removed all fitting rooms (but they updated their return policy) and as a result, you either have to take the items back home to try on and return or (and very discreetly) you can try on clothes onto of your clothes. However, I have encountered in the past that this is frowned up so check with the stores policy before attempting.

Also, since we are still dealing with COVID – but these were also applicable pre-COVID – wear protective gloves and/or face masks. This is especially true if you are shopping at the Goodwill Outlets.

These are my top tips for thrifting – whether you’re new to this or a pro. Stay tuned for part II and let me know in the comments sections if you find these useful, have other tips/rules you follow and of course, if you try these out.

Karla

%d bloggers like this: