5 Things You Can Always Buy Thrift — & 10 Ways To Wear 'Em!

Photographed by Savanna Ruedy.
As a fashion journalist, I'm always asking people to define their personal style. But when the question comes back at me, I find it's a hard one to answer. I tend to put on different sartorial "characters," depending on my mood. There is one constant, though, and it's something that's really important to my theories on shopping, style, and self-expression: I am always wearing at least one vintage piece. In fact, as I type this, my whole outfit is (coincidentally) entirely thrifted.

I shop thrift for a variety of reasons: It's cheap, it's accessible, and it's unique. Growing up in a small town without much access to Fashion with a capital F, I was able to try out many aesthetic phases (some of which I live to regret) by investing in different decades of thrift. And to this day, no matter how many designer pieces I've saved for or collected, my favorite finds are still those purchased for under $50. It's safe to say that my happy place is a giant Goodwill on the side of Route 22 in New Jersey.

But I don't blame people for getting overwhelmed at the prospect of sifting through racks and racks of used clothing. It's tiring and sometimes fruitless. That is, unless you know what to look for: Truth be told, some things are just better when bought thrift. So to hone your search and up your game, I've put together a quick-hit guide of what to look for at any and every thrift store, from online favorite NiftyThrifty to more curated boutique stores to (yes) even the mega-shops on the side of the highway. I've also styled each sure-to-win piece two different ways to debunk the "I couldn't pull that off" myth you've been telling yourself. It's time to make new fashion friends and keep the old.

Hair and Makeup by Dina Calabro.