Retail Shopping Sticker Shock

A couple of miles from my house there’s a big shopping center. It’s beautifully landscaped, has comfy outdoor seating, good restaurants, and if you’re lucky you might see social media sensations Minnie and Max taking a stroll.

It also has a lot of posh stores. Think Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Bloomingdales, Michael Kors, Eileen Fisher, etc.

Despite its proximity I don’t go here often, but I did yesterday. I wanted to take my youngest daughter (who’s home from college for a few days) clothes shopping. We also wanted to look for a Father’s Day gift and grab a little lunch at Max’s Cafe.

It was a lovely day though this thrift-store shopper suffered from price-sticker shock. I did a lot of internal head shaking. I don’t mind paying more for quality items (i.e., well-made clothes with good fabric), but a lot of the stuff we looked at was just average at best. 😦

In the end my daughter wanted only one thing, a Banana Republic sweater in a soft silk/cashmere blend that I had spied on a sales rack. It was originally $80 marked down to $30. (Well, that’s more like it!)

Though it was pleasant to walk into clean, well-lit stores with beautifully arranged clothes and jewelry, I have to admit I found it a tad…boring! I’d rather grub around in a thrift store, rummage sale or estate sale looking for well-priced treasures including clothes.

Here are two of my favorite 2017 thrift store finds that I’m keeping for myself: a $329 Julia Duren leather purse for $18.35 and an Ann Taylor leather moto jacket that sells for over $300 for $25.65. Both are in beautiful condition.

If you’re particularly budget minded or just like a bargain or a little adventure, I encourage you check out your local thrift stores. You may not find anything the first visit, but with a little persistence you’ll get some great deals on great items.

Tips for Shopping for Clothes at Thrift-Store/Yard Sale/Estate Sales

  • Thoroughly check over the garment for dirt, stains, marks, holes and rips. Some things can be fixed, others can’t!
  • Give it the sniff test. If a garment reeks of cigarette smoke or mildew, give it a pass. Mild smells can be removed with non-toxic home remedies including soaking in white vinegar water, spritzing with vodka or washing and drying in sunlight.
  • Love the fabric, but not the style? Consider…can this be easily altered to something fresh and modern and more your style?
  • For ladies, don’t forget to look in the men’s section too. Sometimes things get moved around in a thrift store. Plus, some men’s clothes are darn cool. I found a striped Etro (high-end Italian brand) men’s shirt for $11 that I like wearing and my oldest daughter has several “old-man jackets” she bought at estate sales and wears all the time.
  • Buy secondhand items online. If you don’t want to do the legwork and/or don’t have access to good thrift stores/sales or can’t find what you want, look online for good stuff at a fraction of the original cost. I’ve bought Eileen Fisher items and vintage Coach purses this way and found the vintage Levi’s jean jacket of my dreams for a sweet price. Check out Etsy, eBay, ThredUp, Poshmark, etc.

I hope this is just sweet encouragement to look beyond your local mall for fabulous items for you and your home. 🙂

Happy hunting!!


  1. Tess

    You are preaching to the choir ; ÷)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah…there are a few FB friends I want to convert!! – Karen


  2. Joyce Jackson Hayden

    We are listening!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Joyce!! So good to hear from you. 🙂 – Karen


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s