Take a look around. What do you see? Bell bottoms? Fringe? Moto Jackets? All are being sold in stores in 2015. And are we to be daft enough to believe that this is the first time these styles have graced store windows? No!  We, my friends, are the style gifted! And if you’re not, you will be after today. That is to say, not only do we know that these styles have come and gone and come again, but we also happen to be filled with the wisdom of where to snag these boomerang style items for much, much less.

So where does our sartorial treasure map lead?

The Thrift Shop!

Much like Macklemore aptly reminds us, we sometimes find ourselves “being tricked by a business.” Sure, sometimes there are items that we just want, and, doggone it, we deserve them solely because of our desire to have them. But other times, we are blinded by brand names and the popularity of the item. The bottom line is that the exact same item exists elsewhere, possibly even a better quality version and certainly with a better story. There is a way to enjoy both the feeling of starting your own style story and continuing someone else’s. Here is a list of vintage thrift shop items that you can add to your clothing repertoire while adding a unique spin to your look.



A well-made hat can cost a pretty penny. If you’re looking to add to your hat collection, a thrift shop is the frugal way to go. You’ll find that a vintage fedora originally sold by a hatter will last much longer than a hat that has been made by a machine. These old school fedoras have been made with love by a milliner whose aesthetic calling is to fashion a hat that will look good and last.  And don’t be deterred by a slightly beaten up fedora, this can add character to your look.


Photo Credit: R/DV Flossy’s Suitcase, Highland Park MI



Boy, has the fashion industry outdone themselves with such a diverse array of bags. So many of these bags are colorful, bold and can add just the right touch of historical meaning and beauty to your outfit. These days a bag’s job is twofold. On one hand, it acts a vessel to transport items like phones, keys and money. But on the other–much more fashion forward–hand, it acts as an additional element with which to tell your personal story. Bag thrift shopping gives you a chance to take some style risks by allowing you to mix and match from different fashion eras with more current pieces.


Photo Credit: Feathers Boutique Vintage 


Oversized Sweaters

An oversized sweater is a wardrobe staple. Any thrift store in a place that experiences winter will have rows and rows of women’s and men’s sweaters for a fraction of the price that retailers are selling them for today. Mohair, wool, cashmere are typically all available for the taking and usually with a sub ten-dollar price tag. Give yourself some time to try each sweater on. Give it a good once over to check for fading, missing buttons and irreversible damage. All it takes is one or two trips to the thrift store to rack up on light and heavy sweaters for the fall and winter seasons.



 Photo Credit: Sarah Collins Photography for Highway Robbery Vintage



Even the fashion inept understand that denim will never go out of style. And it is for this very reason that thrift stores provide an inordinate amount of value where denim is involved. Styles come and go, but denim sticks around like a stalwart sartorial soldier. A really good thrift shop will offer up racks upon racks of denim from the 70s, 80s and 90s all riddled with a host of distressed features. Give yourself an hour and go home with a denim piece from every decade.


A photo posted by Pink Suede (@pink_._suede) on

Photo Credit: pink_._suede



Oversized and over-worn are the two characteristics to look for when you pick out your t-shirts. A funny saying or an old school band is always preferable to plain, but the feel and versatility of the t-shirt is just as important. In order to be a successful vintage tee shopper, flip through the t-shirt rack relentlessly asking yourself if you can see yourself wearing the t-shirt with everything. Would you be cool with wearing this t-shirt with your favorite pair of jeans? How about that black tulle skirt you own? And those overalls? If you can say yes to pairing this t-shirt with most items in your wardrobe, it’s a keeper. Move on to the next t-shirt in line and repeat. You’re sure to acquire a hefty collection of vintage tees in no time.  

Photo Credit: Penny Lane Vintage


So, get out there and start thrifting! Once you’ve acquired pieces that you absolutely love, you can begin pairing them with the rest of your wardrobe. Then take your thrift store fashion to the streets. And when a stranger taps you on the shoulder, compliments your distressed Levis and asks you where you got them, you can respond apologetically, “Oh these old things? They’re thrifted!”