The Thrift Series: Thrifting 101 with The Clothes Rack

The Thrift Series Thrifting 101 TCR promo image copy

Thrifting is serious business (side note: so much so, that my sisters and I turned it into a business). I can’t get enough and jump at pretty much any chance to do something thrift related. The Clothes Rack, a thrift store that benefits the Junior League of Richmond, a volunteer organization that raises funds to deliver programs to children and their families, reached out last month and wanted to do a collab. As I am a regular shopping at the two local Clothes Rack locations, my saying yes was a given. I also had a lot of fun writing a thrifting 101 post that isn’t filled with your typical how-to’s. You can view the blog post here with bonus photos of all the amazing things I have found at their stores. For my tips, keep on reading.

  1. Know what you want. Thrift stores can either be a lovely place to leisurely treasure hunt or they can be a gold mine when you hone in on a few specific items. Going into a thrift store armed with a list can help you navigate messy and packed racks or it can guide you directly to one section of the store (i.e. jewelry or jeans), helping you focus your search and avoid being overwhelmed by all of the choices.
  2. Inspect, inspect, inspect. A lot of really great, amazing condition items can be found at the thrift store. But just as many end up at a thrift store because they are damaged, worn or stained. Most thrift stores will scan their items to ensure quality, but this isn’t a guarantee. Closely inspect the item you are interested in – run a hand over the garment paying special attention to the under arm area, pull gently on seams to look for loose stitching, and inspect the buttons.
  3. Try it on. Most thrift stores will have a small dressing room area. Some will not. Either way, you want to try on items prior to purchasing them because once you do, it’s doubtful you can return it. If there is no dressing room, it’s common thrift store practice to pop on a top over what you are wearing or pull on bottoms right there in the store. To make this easier, if you know you will be thrifting, wear light layers such as leggings and or a dress/skirt.
  4. Know your price point. Just because you found Seven Jeans for $12 or a J. Crew sweater for $10 doesn’t mean you should scoop them up. You want to inspect for wear AND try it on. If it doesn’t fit right, or doesn’t fit your own personal style, it’s never a bargain.
  5. Love the hunt. Not everyone likes a treasure hunt, but that is the best mindset for thrifting. Looking for a great blazer? Definitely check the women’s jackets, but also venture over to the boy’s section. One of my most prized blazers is a maroon corduroy jacket I found in the boy’s section. Looking for a belt? Try the silk scarves. Want to create the perfect jean cut-offs for summer? Find a relaxed men’s fit not the women’s fit.
  6. Know the sales. Most thrift stores have some sort of discount or sale schedule – whether it’s certain days of the week or a color that is 25%, 50% or even 75% off. If you want the most bang for your buck (even at a thrift store!), you can focus your search to only those items. Another great trick is to sign up for a thrift store newsletter if they have one (which The Clothes Rack does!). You will get advance notice on sales and other special in-store events.

Perhaps my best tip though, is to just have fun, try it out, and see what you find! Some of the best pieces (and laughs) can be found at a thrift store.


Outfits: Statement Belt

2015.7.9statementbelt 2015.7.9statementbelt3 2015.7.9statementbelt2dress as top – no tag, The Clothes Rack | skirt – American Apparel | flats – Via Spiga, Ashby | belt – The Clothes Rack | earrings – Susan’s Selections

We’ve all heard of the phrase “statement necklace” made popular a few years back and I’m sure we all have a few in our wardrobes. Thick, chunky, bright and bold, these necklaces provided a pop or color or bling to dress up otherwise casual outfits. They say these chunky things are on their way out, so I’m on a mission to make statement belts a thing and I’m starting with this amazing leather, wrap belt I found at a local thrift store. Does it really get any  more statement making than sunset marbled leather with striking black accents? I’m thinking not.

Friday Chic: Mod

2015.5.3ModDSC_0242DSC_0248DSC_0249Top – vintage from Ashby | skirt – thrifted | heels – Aldo | earrings – Stella and Dot | gold ring – Stella and Dot | bag – thrifted from The Clothes Rack | bracelet – thrifted from The Clothes Rack

Photos by Hannah

This past Sunday I attended the annual Virginia Commonwealth University senior fashion show. As you saw on Wednesday, the designs were truly fantastic. I was impressed at the preview and blown away at the show. When I received the invite, I knew I wanted to dress up and wear something fun. I had originally picked out two shorter dresses, but when I found this top at Ashby, I knew it was perfect. It has the funky, fresh, mod-70’s look to it (how’s that for a description), complete by being made up of what I am assuming is 100% polyester. There is no tag, but it has that feel to it. For drama I paired it with this long thrifted maxi skirt and these Aldo heels. These are my ultimate dress up heels – patent black, side D’Orsay style, pointed toe and pretty high. Perfect for a fashionable evening out.

Thank you Courtney, Karen and the VCU Arts team for having me!



1. There’s really no duplicating this top, but a few options are here, here and here. I also found some really cool ones on Etsy and these definitely have the more vintage feel: here, here, here and here.

2. H&M Maxi Skirt | Etsy really cool green linen maxi skirt | Etsy Belly Dance Queen long maxi skirt

3. Dolce Vita Black Patent Leather Pumps | Off 5th Patent Leather Pumps | Pedro Garcia Pumps

Please note, the majority of the links featured in SHOP THE LOOK segments are affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links, I will receive a commission. If you want to see the product and then go through eBates and purchase, do so. I know I do! I just want to give you some ideas and styles to get a similar look. I always try to link to affordable pieces or ones I would actually wear. I do often link to higher end items to show a range or to provide options for readers.

Hate these portions of posts? Please let me know! I have just started adding these and I want to know if they are beneficial or helpful. 

PS. Tune in to Virginia This Morning on CBS6 between 9 AM – 10 AM to see my live summer style segment. I will be featuring clothes from Genesis Clothing Company (my sisters and my newest endeavor!), Ashby, Addison Handmade and Vintage and Yesterday’s Heroes Vintage. If you aren’t in Richmond, I will be sure to share the links later.

Wednesday Chic: More than One Way to Wear a Scarf

2015.4.12Beltedsweater – 2nd hand, no tag | jeans – J. Brand from Finicky Fox | shoes – Vince Camuto | scarf worn as belt – no tag, thrifted, The Clothes Rack | silver ring – Nest | gold rings – Stella and Dot

This past weekend I dropped in at my favorite thrift store and by luck stumbled upon a fantastic collection of vintage belts ($45 worth to be exact!), a great little chain and Italian leather purse and this amazing scarf, worn here as a belt. My growing collection of these vintage pieces is a little absurd, but when the details make the outfit, it’s an easy investment. The colors in this particular scarf are decidedly fall/winter with green, gold, yellow and orange hues. Wearing it as a belt helped tone down the colder weather tones and let it work as a spring piece.




1. J. Crew slouchy merino sweater

2. Loft straight leg jeans

3. Pour la Victoire Rocker leather ankle boots

4. Brooks Brothers scarf

Wednesday Chic: Mash Up

2014.12.17MashUp4Sometimes there is just a great mash up of colors and textures that just works. This outfit is a combination of all things I am loving lately. The scarf is a recent thrift find. I dashed into The Clothes Rack over the weekend because I thought they were having one of their 50% off storewide sales (they were not) but for $3 it makes a good wardrobe addition. My ring is one of three pieces I picked up at the Carrera’s estate sale this past weekend. It’s so dainty but still very striking. I was told it was designed after the Italian mosaic style and the ring base is metal. Don’t you just love pieces with history?


Outfit details:

sweater – thrifted / jeans – H&M / boots – Nine West / necklace – thrifted / scarf – Aris, thrifted / ring – estate sale from Carrerra’s Jewelers 


Midweek Chic: Laid Back + Clothes Mentor Short Pump Ladies Night Out

2014.10.28LaidBackAfter spending a week in Colorado, I am gravitating towards laid back, simple looks. This is usually  my style anyway, but I’m digging outfits with a weird twist or unusual item. Take these shoes paired with the sweater and slacks. I think this could look super chic with ankle jeans, but I liked the almost androgynous look the slacks gave the outfit.

2014.10.28LaidBack22014.10.28LaidBack32014.10.28LaidBack4Outfit details:

sweater – J. Crew from The Clothes Rack / slacks – Banana Republic / shoes – Cole Haan from Baggio Consignment / earrings – estate sale

PSSST – Need something to do tomorrow night? You’re invited to Ladies Night Out at Clothes Mentor Short Pump! I’ll be there dishing style tips all night and sharing my picks from the store. It’s a great way to try shopping 2nd hand 1st!

Monday Chic: Bright

2014.9.11BrightI can’t get enough of oversized, open-weave sweaters. They are just chic, comfy and can be styled any which way. The only downside to these is the potential for snagging the sweater, ruining it forever, and spending several weeks wearing the sweater anyway convincing yourself the hole will close up and finally sending it to the giveaway pile (this has happened to me if you can’t tell). When I found this sweater at The Clothes Rack (my favorite RVA thrift store for amazing brands and finds on every day wear), I had to have it. I even bought it a day when the store WASN’T offering 50% off everything so you know I was in love. It’s bright neon green with both small and medium weaves, soft, and just on the right side of too big. I am wearing it here very casually but I can’t wait to to dress it up with black cropped slacks and pumps and some bling for a good dressed up day.

2014.9.11Bright52014.9.11Bright32014.9.11Bright2Outfit details:

sweater – J. Jill from The Clothes Rack / jeans – GAP from Ashby / heels – Target from The Clothes Rack / bracelet – estate sale / ring – Nest

PS – You have until midnight to enter the two giveaways featured on my blog! 1) $50 towards Mint Julep and 2) Giveaway package  to celebrate the launch of Sydney Page Style – sign up for the newsletter here for your entry.