Top 5 Hot Fall Looks You Can Find in Second Hand Shops

Salivating over fashion mags displaying knits and back-to-school sass in a price tag you can’t afford? You are not alone, my fashionistas. In today’s economy we have a very interesting divide between haute couture ($$$) and our take-home pay. Cue frowny face. Thankfully there are stores that help bridge the gap and help you stand out in a crowd- the unique second-hand shops we have come to love.

Quick note on finding the right second-hand shop: There is a multitude of shops out there that are selling fine pre-owned clothing and goods. To find the right one for you, take a few moments to research the possibilities in your area. You will likely come across the staples: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Saint Vincent De Paul… and likely smaller second-hand thrift shops, antique stores and consignment stores. You may even want to take a moment to check out and find out what others are saying the best thrift store is- it just might be a smaller cause-driven boutique or trendy resale like Buffalo Exchange. Also, please do not leave out the possibilities of garage sales! Those treasure troves, if you have the time and transport, may provide a bounty for you unlike any other second-hand shop. Imagine this: a fine young lady like you is getting rid of everything from last Fall because she is moving and does not need her sweaters in Phoenix- can you say matching sweater-set made in heaven?

Anyhow, Fall will be upon us soon and all good shoppers know to look ahead and stock up now on necessities for the upcoming season. That drives the theme for my list, along with tips that stand true regardless the season.

Top five things to look for now in second hand shops:

1. Fishermen’s Sweaters

Fisherman Sweater

This classic is like drinking a hot cup of green tea in October. It just works and the size is not as important as the knit- nor what department you find it in (women’s, men’s or kids’). Look for a nice, chunky knit that has no stains, holes or tears. My favorite color for this gem is a simple ivory or cream color- it will go with anything (and bring out your tan).

2. Boyfriend Jeans

Boyfriend Jeans

Whether or not you have an actual boyfriend does not make a difference here. Nothing is more comfortable than a worn-in pair of jeans that either has a few strategically placed tears or can be created! I saw an amazing simple tip for distressing your own jeans- it involves little more than an exacto knife and some sand paper- YouTube it!

3. Boots

Thrift Store Boots

I know, this is pretty nondescript, considering all of the many styles that are out there. Personally I like looking for really nice cowboy boots, military boots or booties in any color. Checking for them now will help you beat the masses once those dreaded little flakes fall.

4. Vintage Coats, Blazers or Motorcycle Jackets

Vintage Coats

This is a section I have been stalking lately and not all thrift shops will have their goodies out just yet, other than their blazers. If this is the case in your shops, check out those blazers! Vintage blazers make adorable fitted jackets that can be layered to look amazing without adding bulk to your frame.

5. Scarves

Thrift Store Scarves

Do I even need to describe this one? I love scarves- scratch that, I need an entire closet just for my scarf collection. Silk scarves are great for your hair or adding flare to a purse. Knit scarves are a classic that can be updated with a cute pin or vintage brooch. Shawls or other wide-fabric scarves are great right now over a swimsuit as a cover up and into Fall to drape over your t-shirts when the temperature starts dropping.

Another great way to navigate the aisles according to your personal taste is to bring a physical “Pinterest” board with you as you shop. I like to pull out pictures of patterns or shapes of clothing I like that I find in magazines, newspapers or online (example: plaids, jean jackets…etc.) to remind me what feels current and trendy that I want to add to my wardrobe. Taking that with me helps me zero in on cute dresses, button-up shirts, and even furniture pieces that are not all that unlike those at the expensive boutiques.

Above all things, know your style and fit. Don’t concentrate too much on sizes- the decades and designers have altered sizes so much that they have come to mean little more than a suggestion. Look at an item and gauge how well you think it will work on your body. Stick to your favorites as well- I have always loved short dresses over skinny jeans and I can almost always find them at the thrift stores I frequent.

Lastly, my fashionista friends, go forth and learn your store. Stores may have certain “tag” days or other sales that you want to watch out for. Also consider asking management when they bring in new truck-loads or when they plan to put jackets on the racks. Shopping at a second-hand shop is a much more involved experience than going to the mall and you will forever be happy it is. No one will have your look and everyone will be jealous of the price you paid to look so good (if you tell them, that is).


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