I’m not afraid to admit that I haven’t bought anything at retail price in years. Ok, maybe underwear. You might think that means that I’m going around in bell-bottom cords and puff-painted sweaters, but really one of the great things about fashion is that it just keeps coming back around – there’s a good chance that what’s in style now was in style before.


Shopping at thrift stores isn’t just a statement about consumerism; you’ll spend less money and end up with “Where did you get that?”-inspiring, unique pieces. In that spirit, here are some items to buy at thrift stores instead of name-brand retail stores:

1.  High waisted skirts may be all the rage right now, but they’re far from new, since the flapper era the waistline didn’t really move down south until the age of Britney Spears’ low-riders. Thank god the high waist is back, and secondhand skirts are the best way to celebrate it. Look for patterns and shapes you like in any cut.  You can easily have it shortened to the perfect length, or even better shorten it yourself.

2.  Keep that skirt up-to-date and accentuate your figure with a statement belt. Tons of thrift stores have bargain bins full of vintage belts with colorful bands and bold buckles, so you can get more than one.

3.  They were huge in the 90’s, and then Kurt Cobain died and all the grungers grew up and traded in their flannels for sport coats. Now these casual but of-the-moment shirts are practically crowding the racks of thrift stores – and what’s more, they’re already super-soft from being worn in so many Pearl Jam mosh pits.

4.  Having your mom be excited for you to buy shoes because she used to have the same style might seem like a turn-off at first. But leather booties are making a big comeback from the 80’s and 90’s, and look way better with your tights or skinny pants than they ever did with mom jeans. Surprisingly, the only drawback to used shoes isn’t the gross-out factor (most resale stores won’t sell obviously contaminated footwear), but the fact that it can be hard to find your size, especially if you require less-than-delicate kicks. But don’t worry, you don’t need to have bound feet to enjoy already-been-loved shoes – just be prepared to dig!

Check out an online thrift store locator to find a bargain basement near you. And don’t be afraid to shop outside these suggestions.  Who knows, bell-bottom cords and puff-painted sweaters might be hot again soon…