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How and where to shop for the great Finds

Learn how to shop for and choose thrift store items so you can create your own unique style wardrobe

Merits of Thrifty Shopping

Unique finds from decades past

Retail therapy

Find one-of-a-kind treasures to style in and around your modern wardrobe.

Frugality - The material is always better quality than what I could afford to experiment with in retail yard-goods. I get to “play” with silks, wools, leathers, fine cottons...anything I want.

The Fabrics - I almost never visit fabric shops anymore. Instead, I recycle the textiles from thrift-shop or bargain-rack garment “finds”

The Quality. The material in pre-owned garments has usually been worn-and-laundered a few times; so its likely not going to shrink, seam-twist, zipper-bulge, ravel, fade, or stretch oddly after I've put my work into it. Any fiber or structure issues will have already made themselves apparent...the easiest form of quality-control, for me.

The variety. I'm not limited to current fashion trends. There's stuff out there from all life-styles, seasons, and (well, almost) different time-zones! It truly satisfies me, to be able to replicate a 30s slip-dress, using authentic fabrics from a vintage dressing gown. 


Thrift-shopping Tips

Best places to Shop

I find that the smaller, independently owned vintage and thrift stores are where I unearth my best finds.

A good deal does not always equal a “good buy”

Can you use it, will it actually meet your needs, is it damaged in a way that won't work for you?

Its a waiting game

Pick a few favourite spots around you and visit them frequently - shops like this cycle through inventory pretty quick. Plus, if you go enough, there’s a good chance of befriending an employee and finding when they get new hauls in.

Find a balance between shopping with a urpose and having a curious eye.
Set out with a purpose - maybe you’re looking for a new belt to complete that dress, or just the right wrap for that evening gown. Keep a curious mind and browse a bit after you’ve done your initial “quick-browes”. Some of the best finds are going to be totally unexpected and surprising.

Come prepared

Carry a tape-measure and a list of required measurements for those items you need. It really helps to know the width of that full skirt you're trying to match with some vintage lace trim.

Fabric swatches are handy when you're looking to partner a vintage vest with an outfit you have at home.

Hand sanitizer – for obvious reasons

Wear easy-to-slip-out-of clothing; or better yet, slim-fitting clothing, so that you can slip prospects over, to assess the fit. Its not always easy to find a dressing room, and then who has time to wait in line for one, when there are other bargains waiting to be found out there?!!

What to look for

Look for prints, textures and colours that you really Love.

This one is really easy since after awhile they will practically jump out at you from the rack. Energising colours, funky prints

Look for Fine-quality and Natural Fabrics. Read the Fiber-content Label.

Words like Linen, Silk, Wool, Cotton and Viscous are the ones I'm looking for. They are often blended with other fibres like lycra for function and wearability, and that's ok too. Usually, higher the fibre content, the better.

I love viscous (rayon) because it hold dye really well and can come in strong vivid colours. It drapes so flatteringly on the body and is wonderful in bias cuts. Fragile and turns yellow with age – which can be a charming quality. Tends to be fragile so you'll often find holes and tears in stressed parts of the garment.


Linen is cool crisp for the summer and stays white.

Silk is the Queen. From luxurious and flowing, to soft smooth wonderful knits and even to fine crisp silk found in suits and dresses. My rule is If I find silk, I buy it.

Wool from soft sweater knits to fine dress pants and suits

Large King or Queen- sized fitted bedsheets in colourful prints.

Great for home-decor,, costumes,

Look for garments that are way too big for you.

Think of all that extra fabric you get to play with!

Look for garments that have interesting or complicated fashion detailing

That ornate bow that looks huge on the neckline, might look much more in scale, when placed at the hip of a little flip-skirt.

You can salvage the zipper/waistband portion of a skirt, by strategically cutting it into your new garment.



About the Author

About Maralaina

I'm a Gemini - so there are at least two of me. I am a Diva, but an outdoors one. ReFashionista, Designer, Photographer, Fashion Illustrator, Creative Artist and Blogger, are some of the hats I wear. I'm a gypsy at heart and enjoy sleeping in a tent - with a some amenities and luxuries. Of course. Creating DIY projects is a favorite pastime and I like to inspire others by sharing them. I enjoy a small-but-full family life and like to spend my free time dancing and Glamping. I absolutely love strolling along a sandy beach: in the early morning with a mug of hot chocolate; and at dusk, with perhaps a light cocktail or camera.




Hi, I'm Maralaina. I'd like to share some creative ways  I've found to personalize my wardrobe, spice up my surroundings and save some cash. You can do it too!



Dressing Room

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