Meet Lindsey - A stellar musician, maker of fanny-packs, coffee connoisseur and thrifting genius. Recently, the two of us took a trip to the beautiful New York borough of Brooklyn. Starting our days with quality cortados, finding steals at American Apparel, sorting through every rack in the thrift store, and spending way too much money on ombre candles; Lindsey is the kind of person you wouldn't mind getting lost in a big city with.
I have always admired Lindsey's eclectic, yet curated, wardrobe and am amazed by her keen eye when it comes to finding second-hand treasures of all sorts. Thrifting success can be tricky to come by, but Lindsey breaks down her practice for us to find the best pieces in the hodgepodge of stained denim and 80's shoulder pads.
When did you start getting into thrift shopping?
I was very intrigued with the whole idea of thrift shopping long before I ever actually started thrifting myself. I would see something a friend was wearing and say to them, "That's so cool! Where'd you get that?" And they'd respond with,"I bought it at a thrift store for only $3.” My mind was blown!
Thrift shopping is great because it’s a low budget activity, and most of the items that you find are unique, which gives them a certain specialness.
I only really got started about 4 years ago when I met a friend who was a thrifting expert herself. We started having little breakfast dates and then would go thrifting for the rest of the morning, with her three little kids in tow. It was a lot of fun, and we took our time meandering through a couple different stores.
I quickly learned what I did and didn’t like while thrifting and developed a mental list of things that I’d always look for in thrift stores, like vintage fabric, baskets, mugs, shoes… stuff like that.
Also, with housewares, don’t be deterred by the color. A fresh coat of paint can give a whole new life to an old piece of furniture or a decoration. I once found an ugly, brown-colored, pineapple-shaped picture frame at a thrift shop. I bought it, spray-painted it gold, and gifted it to my sister, with a black and white photo of the two of us in it.
What are some of your most loved finds?
I don't know if I can narrow it down to just one thing! Most recently, I bought a little yellow and white brocade bath towel at Salvation Army, and it’s perfect in my recently repainted bathroom. I also have had a lot of success finding really nice, floral silk robes. Other than that, I have a collection of cute little mugs that I’ve thrifted over the years, a pair of gold-colored aluminum knitting needles, and a few weird shirts from the 90s that i’m trying to bring back into style.
What is something you currently have your eye out for?
I’m a little late to the game, but I’d love to find a vintage pair of overalls. I might cave in and buy them new though, because it's so hard to find the right size. Also, overalls are in high demand these days, so they are usually really picked through in thrift stores.
How do you find the best stores?
Ask around! You may need to drive 30+ minutes away to find a store with a better selection, and you may need to visit a particular store more than once before ruling it out entirely. It also helps to be aware of the area in which the store is located, because you're literally shopping through the neighborhood’s hand-me-downs and junk. This makes it fun to thrift when you’re traveling, though! Some stores get really picked through depending on the location, so finding out when the store puts out “new” inventory is a great strategy.
Do you go in with a mental checklist or just see what you find?
I usually have a list somewhere in my phone of things that I would love to find while thrifting, but I’ve learned that it’s so much better to go in with an open mind and be ready to dig for treasures. I find that shopping in general is so much more enjoyable when I’m not looking for anything in particular. Typically, when I go thrifting, I have my mental list of staples to look for, but ultimately I’m open to finding whatever — aware of what I do and do not like — and it’s more fun that way! You get to be surprised at what you end up coming away with. Even when I drop into a thrift store and leave empty-handed, I am still inspired simply by exposing myself to “new” patterns and colors and shapes and textures.
Any tips for spotting good pieces from the rack?
Know what your favorite colors are! I'm always drawn to things based on their color and on their material. I’m not too concerned about shirts being the right size, because I'm always ready to alter whatever I buy (except for pants! — I haven’t learned that one quite yet). On my last thrifting trip, I bought an XL men's camo t-shirt for a couple bucks, cropped it, and rolled up the sleeves and stitched them. So much better than buying a $40 camo t-shirt from Urban Outfitters!
How do you decide when to thrift vs. buy new?
That’s always tough, because thrifting can be such a gamble. When you actually do find what you’re looking for, often it’s in the wrong size or color. I have found so many amazing shoes that were way too small and jackets that were way too big, and it can be so aggravating, haha! When it comes to clothing, if I really want something, I usually buy it new. I think thrifting can be wonderful because you do find those pieces that are in really good shape and are exactly what you’ve been looking for, and only for a few bucks! But that doesn’t always happen. So you need to be okay with buying new when you’re not willing to wait to find a specific article of clothing.
What is on your current thrift hunting list? Comment below!
Find Lindsey on Instagram! @lindseyjhorst