Category Archives: Clothes

Tales from the Thrift – Another Clothing Addition!

In my last installment of Tales from the Thrift – the Clothing Edition, I shared some of the great everyday pieces I’ve discovered this year.  Since I retired from the corporate world in July, I haven’t really been on the hunt for work clothes.  In fact, I have a full closet of work clothes that I may start unloading soon – meaning, they will soon find their way to the thrift store for someone else to enjoy!  I do want to hang on to a few classic styled items including great jackets.  Those always come in handy and sometimes are hard to replace at a reasonable cost.

I like to have a strategy when I go to my favorite thrift stores on how I go about finding things.  Something I’ve discovered over time is that it’s good to check the return rack outside of the dressing rooms.  I mean, these are clothes that people have taken time to select items that didn’t work out for whatever reason.  Maybe the size wasn’t right or the fit wasn’t perfect.  At any rate, I always check out the return rack before I start going through the general racks.  Last week alone, I found three items that I ended up buying from the return rack.  Not a bad haul!

I also like to check the ends of the racks before I get seriously into the hunt.  For instance, at my favorite thrift store in Hoover, there is a large wall that is completely mirrored.  People will take clothes and try them on in front of the wall mirror and if the clothing doesn’t work, they just put them on the rack by the mirror.  So I’ve made it a point to check the ends of all the racks too and I luck up on some great pieces.

I found this red Kasper blazer jacket on an end cap earlier this year.  It’s the perfect color for me and I’ve already worn it for a photo shoot for a project I was into a few months ago.  It’s just such a classic jacket so it’s not going anywhere except back into my closet!

Red Kasper Jacket

Earlier this year I also found this lovely knit jacket with the Ming Wang label.  Honestly, I had never heard of this label before but the jacket really had a classic quality to it.  I liked it immediately so tried it on and was sold!  I then did a google search to find the label and learn more about it.  Yeowza!  These are some expensive knit jackets!!!  I learned that the label was founded in 1986 and the only place in town that I found that carried the line was Von Maur.  I paid a little more for this jacket than normal – $9.99 – but these types of knit retail for over $300!  I always got a lot of compliments when I would wear this jacket to work!  I also found this black with white polka dot shirt by Foxcroft.  I wasn’t familiar with this brand either but when I googled once again, found the retail on a shirt like this would be around 80!  I paid a cool $4.99 for it and have really REALLY gotten a lot of wear from this shirt!  In fact, it’s the shirt I wore on my last day of work!  So I guess you could say it’s a little special to me!

This vintage Banana Republic olive-green jacket was quite a find too.  I paid $4.99 for this beautiful piece.  I really like the structure of this jacket – you can dress it up or down and it will be down more than up from now on!

Vintage Banana Republic olive jacket

Doncaster is another brand that has some great pieces.  This is clothing that is available through trunk shows or home shows.  In fact, I remember going to one such show early in my career many years ago.  The clothing was beautiful and I wanted everything I saw that night but it was pretty pricey.  So when I run across a Doncaster piece I always pay extra attention.  This jacket is a real classic in my book and so well made!  It’s a dark gray color and I love the pocket structure and the fact that the sleeves can be rolled up for a slightly different look.  This jacket cost me $4.99 – and similar jackets on the Doncaster website run over $400!

Doncaster jacket

This St. James sweater jacket in red caught my eye primarily because of the color.  I love a good red jacket!  Again, another google search ensued…the label has that it is made in France.  I found other beautiful pieces online but the bottom line with all the things that I end up buying is that they feel good when I wear them.

You can always tell a good piece by the way it fits and feels.  All these items I’ve mentioned in this post fit that criteria.  I’ve discovered labels that I never knew too, like St. James and Ming Wang!  It’s always a treasure hunt at these thrift stores and I love the hunt!

Tales from the Thrift – the Clothing Edition

I’ve written a lot recently about my thrift store finds and how I use them in my home.  In my post Tales from the Thrift Part Tres, I mentioned that my thrifting finds aren’t limited to household items and decor.  Sometimes I find some pretty nice clothing too!

I tend to get pretty lucky with jackets and tops.  Pants tend to be another story though.  I don’t know what it is but I have a problem with pants in general – finding the right fit and also with the length.  But every now and the I luck up on some!

Some of the brands I like to look for are J. Jill, Banana Republic, Chicos (more current items), Jones New York, Ralph Lauren and every now and then I find a great Eileen Fisher piece.  Naturally, just because it’s a brand name doesn’t always mean it’s a good deal.  I make sure to look for stains, tears and general wear and tear.  Some items have seen better days, as they say!  Occasionally, some show up at the thrift store with the original price tags!  I’m sure we’ve all done that before – bought something and maybe wondered – “what was I thinking” – when you got home and then put it in the back of the closet.  Then months later it ends up in the donation pile.  Like I said with the Chicos brand, I look for more current items but the same goes for most labels.  Every now and then though, I discover a vintage piece which is great!  Those are always nice to incorporate into your wardrobe!

As with household decor, these days I’m currently looking for things I can wear right now.  Since I’m no longer in the corporate world, I’ve stopped looking for blazers and dressier items.   In fact, I’ve sent quite a few items BACK to the thrift store these past few months.  That’s another thing that is always fun to me – seeing the things you’ve donated on the racks and the pricing on those items!

On a recent trip last week, I found several long-sleeved tops.  I don’t know what it is with me and stripes, but when I spotted this black and white stripped Ralph Lauren sweater, I hoped it would look nice when I tried it on.  Well, it did and I walked away with it for $2.99!  It’s sturdy but not too heavy and feels great on!  I also found this Banana Republic blue-green long sweater with pockets in front.  This one was $3.99, is lightweight and will work well with a jacket over it.  I like that both of these are long enough to go with yoga pants or heavy tights and boots.  It’s fall after all, y’all!!!

Getting excited about a plain white tee probably sounds crazy, but you can’t go wrong with a white tee, especially one that is both cotton and spandex.  These Chicos ultimate tees really hold their shape well and I decided to add it to my basket with the two sweaters for $2.99!

Chicos white tee – great go with anything piece!

J. Jill clothing is always so comfortable and I’ve found my share of great pieces over the years.  Earlier this year, I found this Pure Jill (a J. Jill line) red quilted jacket.  It is SO comfortable and this is the perfect weather for it!  I can match it up with that Chicos white tee, some black tights and my boots for a great weekend look!  I paid $6.99 for this jacket.  I also found this dressier jacket – I know, I know – I said I wasn’t buying dressier items but this J. Jill black jacket with the flower design is another comfy item and I’ve already worn it.  Interestingly, it was only $4.99 – two dollars less than the quilted jacket!

Originally tagged items are always a fun find.  I spotted this short sweater by INC for $3.99 with an original $69 tag on it!  I had on a long shirt when I tried it on and it looked great with it as a way to dress up a casual look.  These two Karen Kane long sweaters were another bargain at $3.99 each!  Original price on both was $128!  Seriously…I can’t imagine paying that much for these items!

Finally, pants…it’s a struggle sometimes but then other times the thrifting gods smile upon you!  These J. Jill dark gray stretchy pants feel great on and were $6.99.  They look like they’ve barely been worn too, but I’m sure I’ll take care of that!  And these brown stretchy Jones New York brown pants are a nice change from the black pants and yoga pants I wear all the time.  These were also $6.99.  Honestly, it seems like every pair of pants I find are priced at $6.99.  Must be a rule or something!

I’ll share more about thrift store clothing in another post including my strategy for working a store.  Until then…happy thrifting!