Monday, October 25, 2010

Vintage Shopping Demystified + My Favorite Places In L.A

  Thrift stores are filled with 70's tops and high-waist trousers like the one's picture on Solange!

If you're looking for eye catching clothing that makes a statement while easy on the pocketbook; thrift shopping is for you. You can find an array of statement items from funky blazers, to bold jewelry, eccentric accessories, timeless dresses and everything in between. The key to making the best out of your thrifting trip is knowing first what you're looking for, then what type of store to visit to find those items.

Know the difference between Specialty Thrift Shops, Consignment Shops, & major thrift retailers like Goodwill & The Salvation Army:

Specialty Thrift Shops:  Proceeds from the sale of merchandise normally goes to foundations, churches and schools. I have found that the prices are a bit higher than major thrift retailers yet the quality of clothing offered tends to be in great shape. These are the stores I normally get quality items like cashmere sweaters [$10-20], vintage shoes [$10-40], and unique purses [$8-15]. [Genre of clothing most likely found; Early 60's - current]

*Want to find a listing of thrift stores in your area? Check out The Thrift Shopper for a comprehensive list

Consignment Shops/Vintage Shops: Consignment shops are normally higher than both Thrift Shops & major thrift shops, yet can be chock-full of designer goods. Items are usually in great condition and have minimal signs of wear and tear. I have purchased signature Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses [$20-40], Gucci Trousers [$45], Versace Blazers [$65] and Marni wedges [$70]. Consignment shops are a haven for those looking for quality designer items and collectible vintage pieces at a fraction of the cost. [Genre of clothing most likely found; Early 50s - current]

Goodwill & Salvation Army: These stores are the most reasonable out of the bunch, however you have to dig a little more. Major thrift chains usually stock an abundance of 80's pieces like beaded and sequined blazers [$3-10], secretary dresses [$2-8], trousers [$2-8], a variety of tops [$1-5], belts & jewelry [$.25-2.00] and interesting purses and clutches [$1-8]. [Genre of clothing most likely found; Late 60s - current]
*Not afraid to get down and dirty? Check out the Goodwill Clearance center in your area to get most clothing for $.50-1.00 a pound. This is the best kept secret in thrifting, as most of the flea market vendors and specialty stores flock to the clearance center in hopes of snagging a few jewels. I scored Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Lanvin & Diane Von Furstenberg for .50 a piece! My favorite clearance center is: 342 San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, CA 90031 - Bring a mask and gloves. Seriously.

** For more collectibles, antiques and jewelry [usually the best stuff you won't find in your local Goodwill], check out the Goodwill Auction website.  

**Estate Sales: I find a lot of my best pieces at Estate Sales.  A lot of my vintage collector bathing suits [$.50-5.00], hats [$1.00-3.00], dresses [$.25-5.00], capes [$.50-5.00], jewelry [$.25-5.00] and vintage furs [$50-100]  have all been purchased at Estate Sales for little of nothing. If you like a lot of the items found in Consignment Shops, you will love Estate Sales as that is where most of the merchandise originates. It is not uncommon to run into collectors, consignment shop owners and dealers at these sales. [Genre of clothing most likely found; Late 40's - current]  

**Check out EstateSales.Net for listings on future estate sales in your area.

What to check for when thrifting:
Check the hems of all clothing: This is normally where you find holes, rips and tears
Check the underarms of dresses, shirts, and jackets: Look for holes, rips, and discoloration
Check the zippers: Make sure all zippers are in working condition
Check for missing buttons
Inspect sweaters for holes

How to care for your garments: 
Dry clean the following items:
  • Items that are made with two different types of fabric
  • Items with lots of embellishments [trim, beads, buttons, sequins]
  • Silk, velvet, wool
Other garments can be washed with Dreft or Woolite

Tips For Thrifting: 
Sale Days: Most thrift stores and consignment shops have sale days where merchandise is 40%-75% off. Pick up a calendar from your thrift shop to take notes of these special promotions.

Store Stocking Days: Find out when your local thrift shop stocks their shelves! This is when you can get first dibs on the best merchandise.

Go during the week: Drop in your local store during the week to avoid the crowd and get your hands on a better selection.

Drop in regularly; I usually stop in my local thrift store about 2-3 times a week to scour the racks for new threads. New merchandise is sometimes put out daily.

Set a budget & bring cash: If you bring cash, you are more likely to stay near or under your set budget.

Bring an ipod: I literally comb each rack when vintage shopping, having an ipod with an upbeat playlist will help keep you focused!

Check out stores in towns with a large elderly population: Some good places to check out are Palm Springs, Palos Verdes & Palisades

Be creative: A lot of my most coveted pieces have come from the costume section [lacy dresses and capes] as well as the children's section [rompers and t-shirts].

Dress for the occasion: Some thrift shops may not have dressing rooms, wear a pair of leggings and a fitted top to try on items inside the store.

New to vintage shopping? Keep it simple and stick to blazers, jackets, men and women's trousers, high-waist skirts and dresses until you're familiar with the fit different silhouettes.

Did you find perspiration stains in silk or linen? Skip these items as the chances of removing them from those fibers are slim to none.

Find mildew? I have never been able to successfully remove mildew from any items.

My favorite thrift stores around Los Angeles:
Valley Thrift - Super huge selection of clothing from [$.25-15.00] - 9007 Lankershim Blvd, Sun Valley CA 91352

Goodwill [South Bay, Reseda, Palos Verdes & Canoga Park locations] - These locations have the best selection of vintage and current clothing. -

Salvation Army [Canoga Park, Palos Verdes, South Bay, & Sunset locations] - These locations have the best selection of vintage and current clothing. -

American Way Thrift - 3226 West Magnolia Blvd, Burbank CA 91505

Rodeo Drive Resale - Consignment shop with tons of designer items - 13727 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks CA 91423

Follow MTM on Twitter | Add MTM on Bloglovin'Like MTM on Facebook 


  1. Very helpful hints! I am a thrifting addict myself so I can benefit from surplus help! And I really want to go to an estate sale but I don't think there are ever any in my area (I live in PA) but I will look, I could probably drive down to Philly and find one!

    That GOOD GOOD Blog

  2. OMG!! you told them about the shop goodwill website!!!lol

    that's my lil secret! They have great stuff on there but the shipping costs are very high for some items...other than that you really can find some really great antique pieces on there.

    Great Post I'm a vintage addict! I've recently started selling items as to prevent myself from being featured on A&E's Hoarders lol :-(

    @Dee O. i live in Philly and there are estate sales every week (a good # of them are outside of the city) Check craigslist and the website listed above for listings. If you need a listing of vintage stores in Philly let me know i know where just about all of them are!

  3. thank you so much for this! i live in the south bay area in LA and i've been trying to figure out some good places to go and turns out their in my backyard! have you tried the Out of the Closet thrift stores around the LA/Hollywood area?

  4. @Beverly, YES YES YES YES! A listing would be very helpful please. But I will definitely go on craigslist and check, I live only about 1.5 hours from Philly so I don't mind making the drive :)

  5. Oh how i love my thrift stores and these tips are right on point. I need to see if we have one of those clearance centers here. Lord i'd be in

    My latest post: When seasons change

  6. LOL I remeber going to the clearance center as a child with my mom. We would did through those large bins with gloves and go home with a bag full of clothing for like $3.00!Sometimes we would get lucky and find some designer clothing. Most of the T-shirts I sleep in or go to the gym I got from the oulet centers for next to nothing. The only thing is its kind of dirty so gloves are a must!

  7. this is great thanks...

  8. OMG.. you are on point with the thrift shops. I usually go to thrift shops on the out skirts of Los Angeles. I always find great deals.

  9. I love this post!!!


  10. Great post!!!! Just the info I've been looking for!! I'm a vintage newbie and this info came right on time, because I just started making trips and researching thrifting and estate sales--Now just gotta figure out the best spots in my stompin' ground of NY. Any NY tips ladies, I'm all ears!!!


  11. The prices at goodwill and salvation army is relative to what city you live in. Here in NYC we usually pay more than your average pricing. I've seen dresses for as much as $20 and blazers for about $12. I wish your prices were a reality here :(

  12. Thanks for the tips! (BTW I definitely think Solange reads your blog:)


Related Posts with Thumbnails