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Vintage Thrift Shopping

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By Emily Smith


Thinking back to my youth, I remember nothing thrilling me more than a good ole’ treasure hunt. Be it Easter egg induced, Girl Scout oriented or otherwise, taking part in any type of organized hunt left me with a sense of “scavenger lust” that could only be quenched by a heaping helping of more scavenging.
Hand-in-hand with my fondness for foraging, my compulsion to “dig” began early. Young and eager, a girl wielding (and quickly ruining) many a soup spoon digging for treasure in the backyard, I hoped to unearth and lay claim to fossils, coins or any old oddity that had been buried away for decades.
Resourceful lady that I am, I’ve been able to weave these two passions from my childhood together into a fabulously interesting and earth-friendly hobby and career. I call it “vintage thrift shopping,” and I’m a professional.
In a typical week, I visit most of the local thrift stores once. I comb through rack after rack and bin upon bin looking for anything that catches my eye. Seldom do I leave empty-handed. In my 10-plus years of scouring Salvation Army, Goodwill and the like, I have found the most amazing, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, leaving me with quite an extensive and eclectic wardrobe.
I enjoy knowing that the chances are severely slim that I’ll ever pass anyone on the street dressed exactly like me. Furthermore, most of my nearest and dearest finds set me back less than $5 a pop.
Despite the fact that my wardrobe was extremely inexpensive-to me, it is priceless. Everyday, I can take pride in knowing my entire outfit cost less than one T-shirt on the sale rack at Old Navy. I’ve been known to blurt out, “This dress was only 50 cents! Can you believe it?” while thanking someone for a compliment on my outfit.
So, believe it or not, it is possible to build a one-of-a-kind wardrobe finding great vintage and secondhand pieces, all while keeping your wallet intact. The possibilities for experimentation within an almost nonexistent budget are endless. Soon, you’ll be saving money, helping your local community and furthering the cause of reduce, reuse, recycle, all while looking better and feeling more confident than ever.
Simply, let your favorite magazine guide you. Take direction from their pages. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to recreate looks just by being a little creative. Every month, I find a plethora of ingenious outfit ideas in my two fave mags, Lucky and Nylon.
Designers inevitably reference the past. It’s exciting to realize that I usually own most of these looks tucked ffw-0319-bluedeep within my vast secondhand collection, and if I don’t, I know it’s out there in some bin waiting for me to discover it and make it new again.
There is plenty out there from decades passed needing to be claimed. It’s easy to find wonderful vintage, secondhand pieces when your eyes are open to the possibility that someone else’s trash could be your treasure.
Check out these outfits we put together in the photos. All of these outfits were pulled together for less than $20 and that includes the shoes. It doesn’t get much cooler than this.

Photos: Emily Smith

Model: Julie Blood

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