Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thrift Store Shopping for the 1st time

    Since I have been blogging I have acquired quite a blogroll of blogs I love to follow.  Grosgrain is one such blog.  There are lots of fabulous features and one that really caught my attention was the "Embellish Your Knits" month that took place during November and December.  I really love J Crew and  Anthropologie cardigans, but they are so expensive that I wait until they go on sale, and, even then, I have to be very selective because they are still pricey, IMHO.  During the months of November and December, Grosgrain redid about 30 cardigans that came from thrift stores.  It was absolutely amazing to see a rather dull looking sweater be transformed into something that looked like it came from Anthropologie or JCrew.
     I decided that I wanted to try this.  I usually don't shop at thrift stores because I have always been under the impression that my area does not have any good ones.  I live in a very small town that has no major department stores.  We don't even have a movie theater.  Even the local government has taken down two red lights on Main Street in our town and turned them into four way stops.  I joke that we are trying to become a one stop light town.  The neighboring town I work in has only one major department store and the closest Anthropologie and JCrew to me is 3.5 hrs away (probably a very good thing!!)  A friend of mine suggested to me that I try a particular thrift store in the town where I work.  She said she has found some very good items in there.  I decided to go visit today on my lunch break to see if I could find a sweater to embellish.
     Well, I began to search through racks of clothing--something I have always thought I would hate. I am a mathematician and I like order.  Therefore, I gave myself my lunch hour to do this.  It didn't take but about 2 minutes to come across a very good looking sweater (no pilling) in my size that I thought would work well to embellish.  It is this very nice looking orange sweater.  It was marked $3.50, but the cashier sold it to me for $1.25.  I am considering turning it into something similar to JCrew's Traversa Cardigan.

    After that success I kept looking.  About 2 minutes later I found some JCrew City Fit skinny ankle pants in an orange color.  I remember wanting a pair of these when they first came out, but I would not drop $98 (or was it $78) on them.  $98,$78--- it is all the same expensive.  Unfortunately, when JCrew stuff goes on sale, it is usually FINAL SALE (read...NO RETURNS).  I have learned the hard way not to take this Final Sale chance with pants.  (read...I have a pair in my closet that doesn't fit).  I took a good hard look at them and decided they would fit.  Now these can't be returned, but in this case, I am only out $3.25.   But, guess what...?!?!...THEY FIT!!!!!  There is a slight discoloration under one of the front pockets, but it is not noticeable from 3 feet away.


     I was on fire now!!! I kept going down the racks like a mad woman.  Next I found this cute little black and cream striped dress with lacing down the back.  I haven't decided what I will do wtih it yet.  It is to long so I am either going to hem it shorter or I may just salvage the fabric and make a cute little top like maybe this anthro top.  I really love the style of it and the big bow on the shoulder.

    I was having alot of fun by this point going through the racks of clothing.  My orderly mathematician self had just melted away.  I found another pair of pants.  They are black with a windowpane type print in ivory.  They fit perfectly, too.  They were just $3.25.

Well, I have saved the best for last.  I decided to go over to the coat rack to see if I could find some old leather coats.  I have been wanting to try sewing leather, but I don't want to spend alot of money on a piece and then mess it up.  I thought if I could find an old leather coat, I could salvage some of the leather to try sewing with.  Well, something unexpected happened.  Before I tell you, let me share a little background.  I used to have this beautiful lambskin leather coat that I got from my sister.  When my cat and his late brother were kittens, I used to keep them in the closet and laundry room while I was at work.  There is a door between the two rooms and I would leave it open so they would have a big space to play.  Unfortunately, it never entered my mind that they would entertain themselves by climbing my lovely black lambskin leather coat.  One day I was going to wear it and I noticed that it was all nicked up with claw marks.  I was devastated.  I have wanted another one, but they are just too expensive for no more than I would wear it. 
As I was looking through the coats, my eye caught this beautiful piece of black lambskin leather.  I looked at it and, lo and behold, it was a black leather lambskin coat--in my size.  This coat is scrumptious!!! I looked it over and the only flaw I found is a very tiny piece of paint at the bottom of the back hem.  It is just a tiny line about an inch long and about the width of a strand of hair.  It is so tiny that you have to look for it.  I checked out the price of the coat and it was marked $8.00.  I snatched that thing up quicker that you can drop a hot potato.  I most definitely won't be salvaging the leather to sew on.  I just cannot fathom why anyone would give away such a thing I beauty as this coat that there is absolutely nothing wrong with.  It looks brand new.  However, I am happy they decided to donate it.  When I got to the counter with my 5 items the cashier only charged me $6.00 for the coat.  I could not believe it!!!  

My total bill was $17.75.  Will I be going back to the thrift store next month?  Ummm...absolutely!!! 
I think I am more excited over these clothes than I have ever been over any anthropologie or JCrew item I have ever purchased.  I feel such satisfaction at having gotten these items at such a cheap price, and the coat is just the icing on the cake. 
    I will keep you all up to date on how I refashion the sweater and the dress.  Next week, when I get back to officially teaching, I will post my two new skirts I have made.  Thanks for letting me share my happiness over thrift shoppng. 


Rebecca said...

Great finds! I can't wait to see if you make the anthro top.

Gail said...

Some of my favourite wardrobe pieces have been bought at my local St Vincent de Paul shop. They sell designer jeans for $9 a pair, and I have a beautiful antique silver ring bought for $20. My all time favs are my Italian beige suede handbag, my red wool overcoat and my black and cream Mary-Jane pumps.

Amanda S. said...

AWESOME finds! I recently discovered the Goodwill stores when I needed some bigger tops for nursing. I haven't ever found anything as nice as what you got, though. What a treasure of a thrift store!

angie.a said...

Awesome! i love thrifting, but I'm with Amanda. I never find deals quite that good! (And my cashier never dickers either!)

stitchywitch said...

Congratulations on your first thrift store scores - isn't it a great feeling? I have a long black/white striped dress awaiting a refashion too... I don't know if I will get to it this year!

Julia said...

what a treasure trove of bargains you found. I may have to check out the consignment shops, etc.... around here.

goldenmeans said...

What an awesome first thrifting trip! Hopefully the first of many wonderful finds =)

Eilane Vida Costura said...

Olá, Deve ser uma bela surpresa encontrar peças tão boas a preços tão pequenos. Espero ansiosamente ver sua camisola remodelada.


Eilane - Brazil

Laura said...

Wow! So many great thrifty finds for $17. Especially the leather coat. My cat did a number on my BF's leather coat too. It was Black, so I filled in the little scratches with a Black Sharpie. It worked. I've been to the Thrift stores in my town and they stink. But there is no place to buy cloths here so not much to get rid of I suppose.

I stopped by to see if you posted the Easy Keeper Skirt with the Purple Jacket.

Jamie said...

Hi Rachel! So glad you had such a successful first experience with thrifting. You really found some amazing items.

BTW, I just realized that I never responded to your comment on my review for Daffy's in which you asked how I went about getting contacted by stores to do reviews, etc. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond!

I actually had the good fortune to be contacted by Daffy's, as well as a few other retailers -- I think they must have a team in charge of social media marketing who somehow came across my blog. I'm not sure how they selected me, but I'm glad they did!

Rachel said...

It will be awhile before I post my outfit with the purple jacket. I have to make the jacket, but it is next on my list.
Thank you for the info about retailers.

amy kelinda said...

Thrifting can be absolutely amazing, as you've found! It looks like you had a lot of treasures in your store, too. I can't wait to see what you do with your new purchases! Unfortunately, the thift stores in my area are pretty hit-or-miss, but once in a while, I do stumble upon a few gems.

AllisonC said...

Oh my gosh the coat especially is an amazing find. I love a bargain!