Thrifting: An Ode and How To Guide

Hello my fashionable friends! I wanted to write up a helpful "How To" thrift guide because I've gotten the impression over the years that the majority of people feel overwhelmed when it comes to "the hunt" and rather not try! (Which I totally get!) But before I do I felt it appropriate to write a little introduction or ode to my love of thrifting because it is really on that level! (Haha)

Much to my surprise I didn't set foot in a thrift store until my sophomore year in high school while hanging out with my new gal pals from a bible study I had just joined. I grew up bargain hunting at Ross and have been shopping at Target since I can remember (thanks Aunt Cindy!) but for whatever reason shopping second hand wasn't a part of my family culture growing up. Well needless to say after that first shopping trip I was hooked! I even remember what I purchased; a white pair of Roller Derby skates and a turquoise sweatshirt which I cut into an 80's style oversized neck, off the shoulder piece and wore excessively that year. I think maybe it's the thrill of the find or seeing how far $5 can get you but thrifting has been a hobby of mine ever since.

Flash forward twelve-ish years (agh that makes me feel old!) and I think with fondness of all the second hand treasures I've scored over the years and given away too! (Because otherwise I would be a hoarder and it has come to that several times before doing a healthy purge every so often)

I love to thrift because of the versatility it affords my wardrobe. I can be very hard on my clothes so buying something lightly used (sometimes even still new with tags!) at a fraction of the price always makes me feel better because I never know how long I will be able to keep it looking nice if I am being completely honest haha.

Ok now that we've covered that ;) the second and main objective of this post is to give you a simple plan of attack when it comes to shopping those resale racks to hopefully give you a boost of confidence in trying it for yourself and creating your dream wardrobe on a modest budget.

1) The Goodwill Bargain Bins.

I am starting here because this is hands down the cheapest place to shop! ALSO the sketchiest. I am going to try and be 100% real with you so you aren't completely affronted if you try and visit one. Ok let's start with the positives: They price their merchandise out by weight! Typically around $1.50 a pound and this is why I love to shop here. I've found some real gems and because of their light weight I've at times paid pennies to a dollar for these pieces. That is exhilarating to me! Now onto some of the cons, because you can't have a rose without the thorns ;) Everything here is tossed into giant rolling bins, they are like troughs for clothes ;) They've got shoes, books, clothes and then miscellaneous (which is a whole lotta of everything else) sorted into different bins. It is definitely worth a gander in my opinion, at least once to see if you care for the experience! It has also been an amazing place for us to get books, it varies location to location but typically they are under a dollar and I constantly find vintage books for decor if not for reading. (Also kids books are only .25 cents!) One last bit of advice when it comes to shopping here, the customers are a varied as the merchandise. What I mean is some folks can be VERY territorial, for example depending on the location, when a new bin is rolled out it can get fiesty, a lot of flea market and re-sale venders shop here because of the crazy low prices so they are very particular about finding those deals. I am not very competitive at all and rarely do I get in the middle of that craziness and I still manage to find great pieces so no worries about that! With all thrifting some days you win some days you lose, going somewhat frequently and only buying what you love is a good way to get the best collection!

^ My thrifting haul from my most recent trip to "the bins". I spent $11 and about one hour shopping and got all of this cute stuff including Coach flats, Joe's jeans and cute vintage baby clothes! 

2) Buy Sell Trades.

If you know me personally you would know that I've spent the majority of my adult life working fashion retail! Crossroads was my first job right out of high school and thanks to a serendipitous series of events I ended up working for some of my favorite people for several years at FreeStyle Clothing Exchange in Sacramento, CA. These days I am working part time at Fringe and Fray, a local Buy Sell Trade boutique in Spokane and I love it! I guess resale is just in my blood at this point and I can't escape it ;) So what is a Buy Sell Trade? You can trade in your stylish and lightly worn clothes and receive a fraction of the selling price in cash or store credit. I highly prefer shopping Buy Sell Trade over consignment because 1.) The merchandise seems to have a higher turn over rate, keeping the store and selection continually fresh! 2.) You can use store credit!! I almost never get cash when I sell clothes because the store credit value is typically higher and can go towards (drumroll)...more clothes! If you don't live in an area with one of these mentioned stores I also reccomend Buffalo Exchange or Plato's Closet but the customer service and quality can vary location to location. My favorite Plato's Closet is in Reno, the staff there was the sweetest!!

^Here are some pictures from the Buy Sell Trade I work at in Spokane, WA. Fringe and Fray! We carry lightly worn designer pieces from stores like Anthropologie and Nordstrom for a small fraction of what you pay for pieces like these new, it's pretty amazing! :)

3) Poshmark App

I started to use this site at the beginning of this year and so far have had a positive experience. I like to use Poshmark when I am looking for something particular. I don't use it to just aimlessly shop because sellers are looking to get top dollar for their items (which I get because I have sold on here as well!) so the bargains aren't as amazing in my cheap skate opinion. That said they are still less than retail and it's been a great way to find what I am looking for! For example last spring I purchased a barely used pair of Saltwaters sandals for $25 which have been a staple in my wardrobe this summer! Or this bundle of Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters headbands for $15!

If you do decide to join/check out PoshMark use my referral code (JUAMC) to receive $5 credit off your first purchase and I will get $5 credit as well, woohoo! My username is @Karinathebean :)

And of course what is left are conventional thrift stores, most of them donation run to support charities and organizations (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Hospice, etc) and others for profit. (Like Eco Thrift or Thift Town) These are my least favorite way to thrift because they usually have general pricing that has nothing to do with the brand or quality of the items so yes you can absolutely score amazing pieces (Like the time I found a current Anthro skirt, new with tags at the Roseville Goodwill) for like 5.99 but if it's just a cute basic piece from Target that price isn't very impressive to me so I suggest the above options to optimize your thrifting experience. But of course that is just my opinion and it works for most people so hey, to each their own! ;) And a side note, shop on bank holidays, most thrift stores will have 50% off sales or at least some significant discounts!

A technique that usually works well for me in any kind of thrifting scenario is a quick scan of the racks (or bins) for colors and/or prints that catch your eye. I will usually start there because rarely, if ever, do I have the time or patience to examine each item. I am big on textures too, maybe the print or color wasn't eyecatching but if it feels soft like cashmere or silk I'm suddenly interested! (I found my friend Kiersten a great sweater recently this way) So do your thing and have fun popping those tags, because why not when it's only .99 cents! ;)

Happy hunting and let me know if you find any killer treasures in the coming weeks! XOXO

^ This outfit is entirely from Goodwill sans the tights, those are Gap!

Getting dressed

I have been ruminating on this post idea for a little while and I thought it would be fun and possibly helpful to share part of my thought process when it comes to getting dressed each day. Finding my style as a mom has been an interesting journey! (Isn't all of parenthood?) I felt like learning how to dress my big ol’ pregnancy belly and expanding *ahem* areas with Coralee was a bit of a fuss but the real struggle (and surprise!) was the postpartum wardrobe. I think I’ll go into greater length on that topic in a future tutorial post but suffice it to say it surprisingly hadn’t crossed my mind what I would wear after my daughter was born! It quickly became clear that my pre-baby clothes weren’t going to fit any time soon and I couldn’t stand wearing my maternity clothes any longer. I started to rock some loose tops and stretchy pants for comfort (because that first month was all about SURVIVAL) but after the storm settled and life got a bit “easier” I found myself in sort of a fashion rut. I didn’t want to live in lounge clothes but was kind of torn on what to wear in those days! Side note, if athleisure is your thing, that is awesome and I see no problem in wearing what you love!! But getting dressed has always been something I’ve enjoyed so learning how to be feel my best and still be practical enough for the demands of staying home and taking care of Coralee around the clock was a process. I tried to be super low key in my style but it just wasn’t me. I think where I am at now is a healthy middle ground, I’m not accessorized head to toe haha but I still feel like Karina! Now to the main point of my post; Something that I have learned in my two years of being a mama is that when I get dressed for the day, like actually dressed not just clean sweatpants (although those are good too!) my day goes so much better! Its not a magical formula or anything, I still need my coffee and time with Jesus to be a functional human being, but wearing something clean and stylish brings my attitude to a new level. (Ok maybe I am kind of obsessed with clothes and I need an excuse to wear them all but hey there are worse things, wink) I usually grab the first two things I see, a top and cardigan that might be placed near each other in my closet or a pair of jeans poking out of my drawers. I call it intuition (maybe it's just laziness) but nonetheless it works! A couple months ago I tried laying out my clothes the night before, I've since abandoned that practice but maybe I will pick it up again because that was kind of fun! Definitely a time saver if you have somewhere important to be the next day. I’ve also found that my jeans seem to stay cleaner than black yoga pants anyways! Maybe it’s my imagination but I swear it’s true! For days that I am at home I love wearing F21 jeans because they are comfy because of the stretch and so cheap so I’m not stressed about getting anything on them, the dark wash skinny pair for like $10 is my jam! When I was working as a personal stylist I found that even though I was doing the majority of my work from home I felt more confident in my work knowing I was taking my own advice ;) I think this experience helped to “give me the freedom” to dress cute even if Keenan and Coralee were the only ones to see me that day, and hey they are pretty special so why not! ;) I guess my ultimate aim in sharing all of this is to encourage you to try it, getting ready for the day even if you don’t necessarily have anywhere to be! If that sounds miserable I totally understand and you gotta do you. Its just that I’ve found treating every day as a “special occasion” in a sense has helped me overcome what could at times feel overly routine and mundane. On a somewhat related note something I started trying to do a couple months ago was to do my best to stop and soak in the lovely and good moments as a mom. Like really stop and enjoy that baby giggle or relish a few moments of quiet while she peacefully sleeps. I started doing this because I found myself extremely stressed when something would go wrong, like a middle of the night wakeup with teething pain or I don’t know something frustrating like a bowl full of food getting pushed onto the floor. I’m sure there are better examples but my point here was to try and remind myself of all the good in life so that when things stink maybe I will realize it’s not so bad!  I love reminding myself of this simple quote “A bad day doesn’t mean a bad life” because my emotional personality (ENFP) can get things out of focus quick. Ultimately the truth is that God is good no matter what so I like to keep short truths in mind to keep that in view. Anyhow back to the main point about getting dressed, a bonus to getting into this practice, when I get ready for the day I don’t have to worry about who I might see (haha) and if something unexpectedly comes up, like a fun invite to the park, I’m already ready to go! I try to get out of the house at least once a day whether its a walk or coffee run. Pre-mom Karina would have found this hilarious that I had to try to get out of the house but the struggle can be so real, and I only have one child at the moment! Anyhow I think that is enough rambling for now, I hope you enjoyed this lengthy and more personal post, happy dressing to all you fabulous friends!

(As you can see from all of my pictures that wearing a hat is my secret weapon because although I love getting dressed I don't really enjoy styling my thick mop of hair! I could work on that, wink)


Style Points

This post I wanted to focus on a few fun ways to add “style points” to your summer looks with little effort. Each tip didn’t really warrant its own post (even though they are kind of amazing ideas, wink) so I thought a concise list would do the trick! 

1.) Try the “roll and tuck” with the front of your t-shirt. This is a great tip to have handy if your top is somewhat shapeless or if you want to show off a great waist detail like a playful belt or cool zipper pockets. You can also knot the corner of your tee which to be completely honest I used to think was a little cheesy if you weren’t at the river or somewhere like that but I think if done right, it can add a lot to an otherwise simple ensemble! I tried it with a basic tee over a maxi dress last week and really liked the way it added dimension to my low key look. I will be trying that again! 

^ How I twist my tees before tucking just the front portion in behind the button on my pants/jeans. I think this technique works best with a higher rise. I tried it last week with a lower rise pair of jeans and wasn't feeling it at all. 

2.) I’ve heard this technique called “the J.Crew” approved way to roll sleeves and in my experience it looks and works way better than haphazardly pushing your sleeves up, which is what I’ve done for a number of years haha! Not only do your sleeves stay better in place but it looks neat and adds extra style points for sure! I have fairly long arms for being an average height so I’ve always rolled my sleeves to avoid them being awkwardly short. I’ve also heard other stylists advise to roll your sleeves regardless because it can give your outfit a better fitted, tailored look. Pull your sleeve cuff up past your elbow and then roll the cuffed edge (which should be at your elbow length at this point) up to your actual sleeve cuff. I've also become fond of doing the half tuck with the bottom of my button ups, Keenan thinks its dorky but I like it! ;)

3.) This leads me to my third tip, cuff your jeans! Seriously just do it, even if they aren’t too long but especially if they are! With the exception of a handsome flare or wide leg that is just gracing the ground above your wedges or heels jeans or pants that are too long just isn’t a good look on anyone. Cuffing even appropriate length jeans adds a custom look, making you look even more styled in my humble opinion, plus it shows off and highlights your shoes! In these pictures I've used both a slight cuff and wide cuff, play around with it and see what you prefer!

4.) In my second post ( I talked about the importance of adding a “third” piece and this is probably the easiest and most effective to add extra style points, by adding a third piece aka an accessory or lightweight layer to your look! For summer I’d advise a breathable hat and a kimono or a lightweight vest. I have been keeping an eye out for an olive cargo vest in my thrifting excursions! In the picture below I was feeling super simple so I added a denim vest which hasn't been getting a lot of use in my closet lately and this scarf because it's so breezy and the florals play off the striped tee nicely. 

^The jeans in these top two pictures are the J.Crew Matchstick cut which I LOVE and I think this particular pair works best with a wide cuff. Also when you can't think of how to pose apparently staring off into the distance will do the trick ;)

5.) Lastly, for instant polish try a bold lip color. (Or bright nail polish!) Not the most revolutionary idea but lets face it a list of five is better than four haha. Mac is hands down my favorite makeup brand for lipstick. So far I've tried the Matte and Cremesheen finishes and Matte has been my favorite because it stays put for the better half of the day! I've been feeling extra simple with my makeup this summer so after adding some foundation and mascara a bold lip adds a nice pop of color to my face and I feel put together in no time :)

^ Mac Silly. Coco Chanel once said, "If you are feeling sad, add more lipstick and attack." I think that is some solid advice ;) 

^My current selection of shades. Silly, Lady Danger and Hangup. I've been trying to decide on a pale, neutral everyday pink to add next! If anyone can suggest a shade you think I'll love fire away. :)

If you try any of these ideas in the next few weeks, please take a picture and tag me in it, I want to see your looks, Until next time! XOXO

 "Life is a party, dress like it" -Audrey Hepburn. 

Mix it up!

This week I wanted to demystify another fashion technique that can add so much interest and flair to your look, print mixing! Maybe it's just me but I feel like I have been noticing mixed prints in fashion and home decor more than ever lately. Stripes and florals have been my go to for several years now but this last year I've been branching out significantly so I thought it would be fun (and hopefully inspiring) to share some of my favorite mixed print combinations. I've also gathered some tips that I thought would be helpful if you are perhaps just beginning your print mixing journey! ;) Tip 1. Find a unifying color. I think this is the easiest and perhaps most effective way to mix and match different prints, find a similar color within your prints and start from there! Tip 2. You can also go with a complimentary or neighboring color scheme for a look that is pleasing to the eye. "All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposite" -Marc Chagall, Artist. To be honest I usually just go with the unifying color or a monochromatic look! Tip 3. I've heard it said that typically it's a safe bet to mix a small scale pattern with a larger one. Personally I say go with your gut and what most interests you but I think that is not a bad guide to use! (Especially if you are just starting to mix your prints and aren't too sure) As the variety of prints are nearly endless so are the combinations you can create, which makes print mixing all the more exciting! You can also use a textured fabric as a print. If you aren't quite feeling up to mixing prints, try a print with colored denim or chambray to make your look stand out. I feel like this has been my go-to this summer when I don't feel like trying very hard! Another great way to incorporate mixed prints into your ensembles is to add printed accessories and shoes. In my opinion leopard or stripes can work very well as a neutral so start there! To quote my friend Terri Schuler, who majored in Clothing and Textiles at WSU "If it's pleasing to the eye and not too disruptive" then it is probably a good match! Thanks for tuning in this week ;) I should have some more great styling tips for you in my next post! XOXO

The Third Piece Rule

Let me preface this post by saying that any kind of fashion "rule" would be more aptly called a guide. To quote one of my fashion idols, Iris Apfel, "I don't have any rules, I would only be breaking them." I feel similarly that any time I think have some sort of system in place I do something different, ha! In the same vein, fashion "rules" should be helpful and not stifling. So think of these ideas as tips to simply help you feel more confident and put together this week, because the most important part of any outfit is YOU! Ok now that I've got that out of the way let me break this concept down in case it is new information to you. I first came across this fashion formula "The Third Piece Rule" while perusing Pinterest a few months back and I realized many of us are probably implementing this without even realizing it. The idea is that if you add a third piece to your outfit then you will "complete the look" without being over or underdone. Now keep in mind this is not including shoes. Pretty straightforward right? I am a visual learner so I've provided you some examples to drive the point home ;) Now that it's summer, chances are you aren't going to want to wear a ton of extra fabric so I'm going to focus on lightweight ensembles, maybe I will do a followup post in the fall and winter! (Because I LOVE to layer hehe) Try a t-shirt, shorts and a statement necklace. This tee shirt is cheating a little bit because it's already got it going on with the mixed materials but it's my favorite top so I had to use it as an example ;)
Or in lieu of a necklace (if that just sounds miserable when you are feeling hot and sweaty haha) try a fedora to shade you from the sun and gain extra style points ;)
Some great jewelry advice that I recently received from a friend ( is to try statement earrings or loose stacked bracelets in the summer to add sparkle to your outfit when it is hot and you don't want metal or anything bulky on your already sweaty skin.(Haha sorry for the gross example but the struggle is real!) If you are wearing a dress that would count as one piece, you could pair it with a lightweight cardigan or chambray and even tie it around your waist to cinch it in and give it extra shape.
(Above) Another idea to add a third (or fourth if you're feeling really chic) piece to your outfit for extra pizzaz would be a statement bag! I couldn't resist this tote because of that darling posh pink color and it definitely brightens up a neutral ensemble. (Below)I don't really enjoy spaghetti straps but I do think this dress is cute so I'm going to try it with this denim vest.
Try a Kimono as a third piece or as a swim coverup this summer! A kimono like this would look great with a swimmer or a basic white tee and denim shorts to give a simple look some pop.
Here are some examples of how I've implemented this rule in the last couple of weeks. The "third" piece here would be the cardigan but then the hat (fourth piece) gives it an extra touch--and let's be honest--hides my halfway done hair.
My favorite detail from this outfit is definitely the fuchsia skinny belt but again, nothing like a paper fedora for a chic accessory on sunny days.
Using my cardigan as a "third" piece and cinching in my loose blouse just a bit.
I added a cardigan to this outfit because of the color combo and liked it as an accessory around my waist once it got too hot!
I don't wear glasses but I thought these halfway tortoise shell frames added a nice touch with this retro look (complete with red lips of course! brand:Mac Lady Danger)
Well friends, that is all I have for you this week, I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know what you think in the comments! XOXO

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