Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Saving Grace - Thrifting and Remixing

A few days ago, I let you in on my dirty little shoe secret.  I really love to shop. Well, that should be, "I REALLY REALLY LOVE TO SHOP!"  My sister says that the word sale for me is like a call to arms. I think it's the thrill of the hunt that I enjoy.  The joys of Internet shopping didn't help me either.  I can't tell you how many clothes and shoes I've bought because at the time, I thought they were cute or liked them but in hind sight I wondered what I was thinking or drinking.  A few years ago, due to a break-up I found myself paying a large mortgage all alone. I put myself on a strict budget. For a year I didn't very little shopping.  It was hard but necessary. It also helped me to take a long hard look at my wardrobe and spending.

I've always loved searching a thrift store and the challenge of finding new ways to wear my clothes.  It's fun.  I started thrift store shopping in my early 20's when I had very little money and that mostly went to concerts and bars. I loved searching for those gems at a thrift or resale store.  I'm always shocked at what other people decide to donate or sell. I'm sure the same has been said about me. There were a few years where I didn't do much thrift shopping. I missed it, so I'm back to thrifting on a regular basis.

One of my other loves is activism.  Working with women who are restarting their lives after domestic violence was a real eye opener. It also caused me to rethink my life. I'm truly fortunate. The women I met had to start their lives over from scratch. Many left with only the clothes on their backs or just a suitcase. Volunteering my time as well as donating clothing and accessories to these organizations was a great way to give back. At least in this instance my poor shopping judgement turned into something positive.

Faced with those realities, thrifting combined with remixing is now the core of my wardrobe.

One Skirt Three Ways

This skirt was a thrift store find.  It was one of the items I picked when I did 30 for 30.  It's a great neutral color that goes with black, gray or blue. It's a little swingy and it's wash a wear. In every outfit above I'm wearing more than one item that was a thrift store or swap find.

Left to Right:

Outfit #1;  Blazer (men's from Goodwill), Skirt (Goodwill)
Outfit #2:  Boots (Finder's Keepers resale shop), Skirt (Goodwill)
Outfit #3:  Sweater Jacket (Frugal Fashionista Clothing Swap), Skirt (Goodwill)

Thrifting and remixing have helped me to curb my spending and be less wasteful.  It's also helped me to develop a wardrobe of treasured finds. Here are a few more of my favorite thrift store finds. These are a perfect example that if you do a little hunting you can find some amazing pieces. It's not all bad holiday sweaters and polyester suits.

Clockwise from top left:  Coach Handbag - Goodwill NYC, Cole Haan Elly wedges - Goodwill Falls Church,
Start Bracelet - Salvation Army Manassas, Whiting and Davis Handbag - Goodwill NYC

Are you a thrifter or a remixer?  I'd love to hear your stories.  Email me at:, leave a comment or send a tweet @realgirlrunway.

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