Tuesday, January 31, 2012

thrifting tuesday.

it's no secret. i love finding a great deal. whether it's saving a few cents at the gas pump, a dollar or two at the grocery store or clearance sales at the mall--my heart starts to beat faster and i can feel the endorphins pumping.

at least half of my wardrobe is from thrift stores, like the salvation army or goodwill. that includes shoes, accessories and every 'genre' of clothing: work out, casual (jeans + tshirts), fun and funky, and professional/dressy attire.

i have been a 'thrifter' for quite a few years.  and i would love to share some of my strategies with you!

erica's top ten thrifting tips:


10. Never thrift in a rush or on an empty stomach. It's just no fun. Thrifting can be exhausting. In order to get my 'fabulous' finds, I search through basically the entire store.  It can take quite a while, but it's also a stress reliever for me too. It's nice not to feel pressured to hurry, but to truly enjoy the thrifting experience!   

9. If you have the time/energy, TRY IT ON. This works both ways. Sometimes a dress looks GREAT on the hanger, but when I try it on...it's most certainly a 'NO.' However, sometimes I will pick up, for example, a t-shirt in an XL (I usually wear a small/medium) and it fits great (lots of clothes at thrift stores have been washed and shrunk!)

8. Don't limit yourself to certain sizes. Like I said in #9, often clothes are labeled as a certain size but have been shrunk or stretched out by their previous owners. Sometimes (no fault of the store employees) clothes are put back in the wrong sections. I have found a few items that were my size in the completely wrong area.  You never know where your 'fabulous find' is hiding!

7. Shop with an open mind. Even if you think you are looking for something in particular, you will often be surprised! You never know what treasure is hiding in the next section or row that you might have overlooked. You may just find something you never knew you needed or wanted! ;)

6. Don't just buy it because it's cheap. It's so easy to fall into this trap.  Something is sorta your style, or kinda cute, and because it's 2.99, you can easily justify it to yourself. As I have matured as a 'thrifter,' I realize it's easy to grab items because they are cheap and say, I might wear this, someday. As my thrifting partner in crime, Kara, says: If you don't LOVE it, don't buy it!

5. Check the dressing room bars and 'new' item racks. I always glance to see if there are a lot of items hanging on the bar or rack right outside of the dressing rooms. Sometimes trendy shoppers have done all the hard work for me and scanned the racks for awesome pieces but they just didn't fit them. I always start there first. Also, as you become a 'frequenter,' you will notice when stores put out new items and where they go. At one of my favorite local Goodwill stores, they have two metal bars for all the new merchandise.

4. Find your favorite few stores and check back often! After visiting nearly every location of thrift stores around the area, I have found a few favorites. Most of them are close to my house (for convenience sake) and I become familiar with their inventory and specials (lots of thrift stores advertise their specials online now via Facebook or twitter or their websites!)

3. Don't forget accessories. Don't skip out on the jewelry, shoes, bags, and home decor sections. Sometimes I get so 'clothes' minded (ha) that I forget the smaller items (but they are often 'big ticket' items!) Check out the funky pattern on this Saks Fifth Avenue purse I got this weekend at Goodwill for $6.99:

2. See the potential and possible re-purposing of an item. I don't sew. So I'm totally not talking about altering an oversized shirt or hemming a pair of pants. However, Kara (thrifting partner in crime) made this adorable headband from a stretchy shirt.

And often times, I don't necessarily alter something, but just use it in another way.  A prime example (which I mention in the video below) is folding a silk scarf into an adorable headband/headwrap. SO cute and SO cheap (usually no more than $1.99).

1. Set a budget. Yeah, this sounds like no fun. But sometimes, If I go in saying, I'm going to spend no more than $20.00, I won't walk out with a ton of extraneous items that I bought impulsively.  Thrifting is tons of fun, but I don't let myself go crazy. :) It's actually kinda of like a game when you see how much you can get for a certain amount, like 15 or 20 bucks.

Some of my favorite thrifting finds from the last week:

my sweet chico's jeans with embellished pockets...$4.99

j c penny ruffled shirt (it's actually magenta...) $3.29

silk polka dot shirt from target (apparently i love ruffles) $3.29

i always wanted this shirt at target, but wasn't willing to pay 12 bucks. 
SO i got it at Goodwill instead :) $3.29

purple gap sweater...so cozy. $3.29

Here is my television debut sharing some of my favorite finds from Goodwill...

Happy Thrifting!

Meet Virginia Design



  1. I love this post! It is such a great reminder, because it is easy to overdo it at thrift stores and walk out with stuff you really don't need! I can not believe your finds though, I love your ruffle shirts!

    1. thanks, girl. wearing ruffles makes me feel dressed up. even if i wear them with jeans :) LOVE your sweaters. you're gonna have to help me in that department ;)

  2. All of these are great tips! I can relate to #6, I've picked up stuff because it was cheap, and all it does it clutter my closet. I definitely think through my purchases now! Great finds, that peace t shirt is so versatile and awesome!

    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, the last time I cleaned out my closet I realized I was giving Goodwill back a few things I had purchased there :) haha...I have been better about just buying things (even if they are a few bucks) that I really love!
      (I'm wearing that peace thsirt today!! :)

      Thanks for stopping by Style of a Songbird!


  3. Look at you, Erica!!! What a fantastic television debut! :) Love your style and your finds! :)

  4. OMG you are so precious!!!! Thank you first of all for your encouraging comment on my blog. It means so much to me that folks want to read what I have to say and that it means something to them. I love your blog and I can relate to your thrifting addiction... in fact, what's so funny about this video that you're in is that I too have been searching for a sweater just like this one all over the thrift shops in my area! I found one but it is a little out of shape. I need to keep looking!! Thank you so much Erica. Truly.

  5. Love it! A couple more rules of thumb from a fellow thrifter, look for sales and coupons and promos. Salvation army has a rotation of color tags by date. Every week the oldest color goes on sale. So look for that. Also, value world does COUPONS so jump on that. And vintage stores have clearance, which is often the craziest items or ones with minor blemishes. Nothing a sewing machine can't fix!

  6. i love this post! thank you for all your hard work in preparing this. great tips! i have chosen and posted this as my 'post of the day' on my blog's facebook page - i hope you don't mind.


    1. chrissy, you just MADE MY DAY! thank you so much. and i am totally your newest follower on your blog. :) happy thrifting!

  7. These are such great tips! And congrats on winning the Goodwill Haul contest! Thats wonderful! You have a good eye for thrift hunting, great finds!

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