Guest Post: Behind the Leopard Glasses

Jan 17, 2012

As you know I am off in San Francisco for work this week. Today I have Emma from Behind the Leopard Glasses here to do a guest post. I discovered her blog recently and was instantly a follower. I love her spunky style and humor. Checkout this rockstar haircut she got recently. Ok, now on to her post....

“Pay close to nothing and look like a million bucks: My Rules of Thrifting”
By: Emma Basilone

There is nothing more satisfying then having someone say, “I love your outfit!” and think to yourself, “I paid 10 bucks for the whole thing!”.

It is true, I am a thrifting master. I thrift probably 90% of what I own and wear. I have given up on malls and paying full price for anything.

There are some guidelines that you should keep in mind when you enter a thrift store.

Have a general idea of what kind of things you are looking for/that you like- It can be very overwhelming to enter a building that is stacked to the ceiling with items. For example- patterns {especially animal print}—get my heart thumping. That is what I usually am attracted to when I walk in. I have to seriously have a sit down talk with myself if I am looking for basics/solids. Also take a look at their home goods / furniture they could have that corner piece you have been dying for at a much more reasonable price than Pottery Barn… my whole apartment is pretty much thrifted.

Don’t pay much attention to the sizes on the labels- sizes change with the culture. Women were considered “normal” to actually have a waist and hips in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s {unlike today… but that is another story!}. The sizes do not coincide with what you will find in a clothing store, if you like it try it on!

Check the garment for wear- i.e. gross-ass pit stains, collar stains, food stains, blood hey man, you never know. Also keep in mind that these items are pre-loved, some wear is expected but not some that will gross you out/make an item un-wearable.

Which leads me to #4- For the love of god—wash whatever you buy. To be honest, if it says dry clean only I don’t spend $10 to dry clean something I bought for $3, I throw it in the wash even though you are not suppose to. Clean shoes with an antibacterial gel wipe down or scrubbing with soap and water. On the other hand if I thrift a skirt that is to the ground but I am in love and know I will wear it A LOT, I will spend the money/time to get it hemmed. i.e. this mustard skirt I thrifted last year from ARC thrift store in Denver for like $1, it is one of my favorites:

Some of my favorite items to thrift:

1. Blazers- something about vintage blazers, color, fit, construction- damn they don’t make them like this anymore—yes a Kayne reference… {and if they do—they will cost you an arm + a leg} here are some of my faves:

2. Button Ups- These have been a new found obsession of mine. Here are two of my latest loves:

3. Blouses- peter pan collar? I am in. My favorite: pink lace blouse:

4. Weird/Different flats- my favorites:

Some of my favorite shopping spots in NJ:

Rescue Mission of Trenton {98 Carroll Street, Trenton, NJ}- By far the best thrift store in NJ. I volunteer here & It is my favorite store. Check out these Minnetonka moccasins in great condition I found this week:

Too big, but these retail for around $40 on sale for $3!

Salvation Army and The Good Will: Average priced, many around, have some good stuff. Look for signs that tell you what colored tags are 50% off that day in the front of the store and use a student id for a discount of an additional 15% off everything else!

Udelco {Udelco 210 6th Ave, Hawthorne, NJ}- Warehouse of vintage/thrifted clothing, you want something, most likely they have it. Seriously amazing—plan to spend a few hours looking and the sheer amount of merchandise {see picture}!

Of course there are many other thrift stores around. At another store in my hometown I thrifted a sick pair of Michael Kors nude cork wedges for $5! See—you never know what you are going to find!

That is the thrill of thrifting, even if I had a million bucks, I would still thrift. It is recycling at its best & most of the time shopping for a good cause.

Bottom line: why pay a million bucks when you can look like a million bucks for close to nothing? No one has to know you thrifted your stylish new outfit—unless you want them to!

If this is not your cup of tea—try some online thrift/vintage stores. The items are already hand selected, washed and give you styling tips too! Here are some of my favorites:

Vantage Point Vintage, Twitch Vintage, MidWest Vintage, Trashy Vintage

You can find many more on Etsy and Ebay as well =)

See more of my thrifting finds at my blog:

Happy thrifting! Go dig up some hidden treasures!


  1. I love that red blazer! It looks so cute with the outfit! And those shoes sure are different. Fun though!

  2. That mustard skirt is adorable! I must give thrifting another try. We've got some great places in Austin... the stores are just SO full that it can be overwhelming!

  3. The Salvation Army thrift store near me is unbelievably awesome. I once found a wool cardigan from Anthropologie there for $5! Such a great find, there were two women there who almost wanted to fight me for it... sorry- finders keepers! Thanks for the tips and NJ thrift recommendations :)

  4. What a great post, I love thrifting but never find anything worth talking about...

    Check out my blog when you have time ;)

  5. Great tips! I'm terrible at thrift shopping, unfortunately. So I'm determined to master it now.

    A Southern Drawl


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