Something Old, Something New: My Love Affair with Thrift Shopping



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As Macklemore says, “Second hand and I’ll rock that mother f*$#er.” Oh yeah! I’ve been rockin’ thrift store bargains since well before it was cool to shop at thrift stores. This was back in the early 90’s before it was coined vintage fashion.

Bought this Vintage Skirt Thrift Shopping with @HotCocoaVintage

This vintage skirt from @HotCocoaVintage is a timeless piece I can rely on year after year. Linen is a great breathable fabric and I felt lucky to find such a complimentary A-line skirt for $25…no way I could ever buy a new similar skirt for that price!

My first thrift store experience was in Ventura when I was about 11 years old. I remember being drawn to the uniqueness of a store filled with odds & ends, knick-knacks, and odd smelling old knitted sweaters. When I was 14 my family moved to LA and that’s when I really began to scour thrift shops for clothes. Trust me, wearing other peoples’ old clothes was not cool, but it didn’t matter to me. There was a definite “look” I was going for and I figured I’d be saving my Dad loads of money.

And so my love affair with thrift shopping began. I always found the BEST clothes – pants for $3 or a sweet Peter Pan collared wool coat for $10!!  When thrift shopping I was on the lookout for old men’s flat front trousers, mini wool pleated skirts, knit pullovers, pea coats, and oxford button ups.  My aesthetic was far from the flannel grunge or the cross color hip-hop dress of my peers.  I’d describe my style as a tailored school girl, rather prim and proper.  I favored classic cuts and basic colors.  I stood out to say the least, but I was actually praised for my style.  It felt amazing to dress as myself and not be chastised for it.

Vintage Skirt Alternations: To give my vintage skirt a makeover, I changed the buttons from mother of pearl to simple black; purchased buttons from International Silks and Woolens…my favorite notions shop in Los Angeles. I also had the waist taken in about 1 ½”

To give my vintage skirt a makeover, I changed the buttons from mother of pearl to simple black; purchased buttons from International Silks and Woolens…my favorite notions shop in Los Angeles. I also had the waist taken in about 1 ½”

Customizing Thrift Store Treasures is a MUST!

Along the way l had to learn about tailoring and making the necessary alterations to customize thrifted treasures to fit my then bony 5’6” 98 lbs. frame. I didn’t do the alterations myself, but thanks to Joy’s Cleaners on the corner of Crenshaw and Rodeo – they took kindly to the wisp of a little black girl.  I routinely added 1 ½” cuffs to slacks or had skirts taken in.  Sometimes, when I’d buy a coat, I’d have the lining replaced to match the exact color of the outer wool.  Thinking back on it, I must have seemed odd, fussing over the preciseness of my clothes. I was even particular about my shoes: black rubber soled square heeled loafers by Two Lips or classic suede low-top Pumas either in grey, blue, and burgundy…again precise.

This new feature on the blog is a return to my thrift shopping roots. With “Something Old, Something New” I hope to encourage and inspire you darlings AND myself to sprinkle in a few well-chosen second hand garments.  Along the way I can share my tips on pricing, sourcing, and altering thrifted treasures.

Vintage Skirt from HotCocoaVintage at Pasadena Flea Market

Top: Asos | Yellow Slides: Tony Bianco

And if you already love vintage shopping, I want to hear about your favorite thrift shops in the comments below!

  1. pleats says:

    My love affair

  2. […] On my latest thrift store hunt, I went to my local Goodwill Outlet. This was actually my first time thrift shopping at a Goodwill Outlet. The easiest way to describe it is dumpster diving for fashion. The warehouse […]

  3. Angela Green says:

    I have recently discovered you on fb and must say I am highly inspired by your blogg. I am also a writer and am looking to establish a blogg website at some point. I love your style, you are truly beautiful. I am also a thrift store shopper, a few years ago when I lost 17 lbs as a result of my doctor telling me I was prediabetic and that it would be wise for me to loose at least 10 to 15 lbs. I immediately started to work on a dieting program and in 4 months I successfully lost 17lbs. After I lost the weight of course I had to go shopping for new clothes,which can be rather expensive. Well Someone was telling me to check the thrift store because they were always able to find nice bargains there. To my surprise I did visit the thrift store ,and let me say I have been shopping there since and get compliments on things I wear quite often. I still like to shop online as well with watching price tags, but thrift store shopping has me sold for life.

  4. Angela R Green says:

    I am so amazed that I’m not the only person who loves thrift store shopping. I actually started shopping at the thrift store about 3 years ago after I went through a weight loss. After 4 months of being on a strict diet regimen I lost 17lbs, and knew that I had to purchase new clothes. But the thought of spending lots of money to replace my old clothes did not set too well with me. So a friend of mine who worked with me at the time encouraged me to go thrift store shopping. He always looked great and I was shocked to discover that this is where he shopped at for all if his clothes. Let me tell you I have been hooked every since ,and always find some great bargains. I always have compliments on a lot of the things I have purchased. I still love my online shopping as well, but will continue to shop at thrift stores as long as I have breath.

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I’m a clean beauty expert, a plant-based recipe guru, a fashion maven, and a mature black woman embracing my natural hair, silver streaks and all.

Welcome, I'm Tennille Murphy