What to shop in a thrift store?

Hello les filles,

Last week-end I styled two young ladies with limited budget so to make the most of it we went to some thrift stores (amongst others).

They always are kind of a mess with the clothes coming out from everywhere, the tiny aisle, the unidentified smell, somewhere in between musty and sanitizer… I must say the experience can be quite surprising for a rookie.

That’s why, if you are wandering without a purpose, you can quickly get dizzy and walk away without a thing (or with a grandma jumper you’ll never wear ^^).

Two options:

  • meticulously check each item in the store, one by one. It may take you hour but you may find THE gem in the boutique.
  • look for an item within a category you know there will be as thrift store have classics.

Here is my inventory of thrift stores must-haves.

The army jacket

It fits the tall girl and curvy girls alike.

Petite ladies shall lookout for a small one that may have belonged to a smaller soldier or they’ll look lost in it.

You can blend it in almost any casual outfits and use it to “break” sexy looks.

To make it look “lighter”, I suggest you roll up the sleeves and wear it opened. Remember fashion is not here to really keep you warm (just kidding, erm, kind of ^^).

If you are looking for color mix ideas I covered this for you here!

Here, the pretty parisienne Emeline Laurence pairs her army jacket with a relaxed chic striped shirt.

The jean jacket

Either you go for a super tiny one à la Hedi Slimane of for an oversize one à la Thelma et Louise. In betweens are boring.

All of Thelma’s sexynnocence in one outfit

Aim for the denim fabric with a beautiful fabric, forget about anything stretchy or too monochrome.

Madame Virgule balance her super oversize jean jacket with skinny jeans and snake low boots

You can go for some ornament! Personnally I fall for anything studded, faux-fur lined or embroidered <3

Super tiny jacket over loose lumberjack shirt at Asos

Something with leather

Thrift stores are full of leather: jackets, skirts, shorts, bags, boots… probably santiags if you read me from the US ^^

And this is good news because you can get this expensive fabric for a much cheaper cost. Plus the leather will have this cool used style. What is more to ask?

Beware of the state the leather is in. It shall not be stained (like by water) or scratched.

Often a fitted piece will not suit you, but hey, just bring this almost perfect leather skirt to the tailor to make it completely perfect!

An old picture with a bit of me, a lot of Place des Vosges and my beloved burgundy seventies boots found at Aux comptoirs du chineur

The little flower dress

No matter what the decade, there a little flower dress.

Easy to wear just as, just tailor it to your body, for instance with a belt if needed or shorten it if you feel it is too long.

Vintage looking flower dress flower dress from Rouje

The printed shirt

Aaaah the eighties print… if you were missing them, rejoy, they are waiting for you at the thrift store.

Ok some are kind of dubious, but that’s the beauty of ugly. Worn with basics they’ll add a hint of hipsterism to your look.

And if you are suspicious about them, then prefer other decades! They are also there.


Lady Moriarty, the best in vintage picks with an actual gorgeons print. I suggest you scroll her tumblr to the bottom if you are looking for top-knotch vintagspiration. 

Long or short jeans

Without a hint of elastane <3

So YES, they are hard to get into,  YES, they are like a natural bypass when you sit for lunch, but YES they make the best bottom ever.

Life decisions.

The most difficult part is too actually find you perfect jeans match. It requires patience. But hell, you’ll be rewarded with compliments. If you are aiming for a 501, check my tips here.

If you feel like you want to be comfortable, you’ll also find lots of low waist cool boyfriend jeans options.

501 jeans cut as shorts: a thrift store’s classic

Something with glitters

Glitters may fall but do not get old. So if you spot a glittery thing that have not lost a single sequin in a thrift store, you can predict they’ll hold on there for the next decade.

Jackets and little dresses are just perfect for partying like it is disco time.

Or during daytime on casual outfits!


Here a the casual glitter style mastered by Maryjane Claverol who displays a whole collection on her blog. 


Hermès looking ones, soft ones from the seventies and bandanas are to be found by boxfull.

Dig there until you fall in love at first sight.

Then be creative and tie them not only around your neck. Please your waist, bags and head with scarves (not all at once ^^).

The amazing Lady Moriarty with a basic outfit twisted by prints and red pops

Printed T-shirts

Rather than buying a faux-old print in a fast-fashion store, or 1000 dolls Viva Coco one at Chanel, you’ll get a much cooler metal band or promotional one for less than 10 euros. Plus authenticity.

Ok, ok. It may be oversize, but improvise! Tuck it in your mini, cut the sleeves for a bad gal muscle top… Options are always here!

Disclaimer, I am not sure this bright white T-shirt is vintage. But this look by Collage vintage is amazing!

And you? Do you buy in thrift stores? Or do you think this is “so adorable”? 

Cover collage: Death by elocution, unknown

13 Responses to “What to shop in a thrift store?”
  1. I’m in the USA and my thrift stores in North Carolina will rival any department store. Clean, neat, and organized by garment and colors. Everything is washed before it goes to the floor (I still rewash though).

    That thrill of the hunt is everything.

    I take my time, making sure there are no stains, tears, missing odd buttons, perspiration stains inside and out. If I can’t wash it, I don’t get it (I wash everything including wool).

    If I don’t absolutely love it, I don’t buy. Sometimes I buy for the fabric and rework.

  2. Claire says:

    Petit message pour vous remercier : en weekend parisien, j’ai déniché LE blouson en cuir, vintage dans une de vos friperies préférées rue de la verrerie ! Bel orange brique, très bon look simple, col pelle à tarte (yes !) pas trop usé (ce qu’il faut), pas cher et même marchandé (50 in fine) bref je l’aime d’amour. Nettoyé avec du lait pour bébé, oint plusieurs fois avec un mélange d’huiles vététales es-spéciales, c’est tout juste si j’ose le porter 😉 Et c’est grâce à vous, oui car sans vos conseils, je n’aurais jamais osé farfouiller en friperie à paris, et surtout pas regarder les piéces en cuir. Donc un grand grand MERCI à vous !

  3. Oooh I found a pair of 501s in a clothes swap today. I’ll be making shorts out of them 🙂

  4. Laetitia says:

    Est-ce que vous avez des bonnes adresses de friperies à Paris ? Merci beaucoup !!!

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Bonjour Laetitia, J’aime bien Freepstar, Kiloshop et Kiliwatch (plus cher mais plus facile de trouver). Sinon si vous préférez les endroits plus intimistes, je vous recommande Adom rue de la roquette

  5. Kathleen says:

    I’m in the US and I am a thrifting fanatic! Blazers are a great item to buy second hand. You can find many that are higher end brands, cut nicely and in excellent condition!

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Indeed, here I speak about thrift and not second hand which will be subject to another article!
      Best regards,


      • Elizabeth says:

        That sounds interesting. I have always thought of thrift and second hand as being inexpensive, which is why most of my clothes are second hand. It is usually consignment stores that are too expensive for me. I would love to hear what you feel are the differences between these types of stores.
        By the way, I really enjoy your website, it has been very education. I’m a conservative dresser, but that is because I’m shy with prints and colors. Your blog has really helped me to put into practice styles and colors I like, but wasn’t sure how to use in a practical way. I’m really looking forward to your next story.

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