Thrifting Confession: Karen Dickerson

"I simply love thrifting. The key to being a good thrifter is being able to see the potential of a garment. Do you know how to sew (or have a close friend who will do it for free)? You're well on your way to being a champion of consignment shopping. Of what I buy at a thrift store, probably 50% I wear as-is, and the other 50% I alter in some way. For the most part, I just look at the color, pattern, fabric type, and condition. Fit is usually secondary (although it is smart to try things on before you buy them). If something doesn't fit, I get out my sewing machine and make it fit! Something really important to look at is the fabric type. Keep in mind that synthetic fabrics hold in odors. Even though that beautiful jacket fits you perfectly and is in great condition, if it is polyester or acrylic and has a strong odor, it would probably be in your best interest to pass on that one.

I love the 50s silhouette, cinched waist and fuller skirt, so I buy a lot of vintage shirtwaist dresses at the thrift store. I can make them more modern several different ways: alter the sleeve length, change the buttons, alter the hem, pair with a cool belt. A few months ago, I was at Goodwill and I found an amazing mustard colored cotton blazer. I had to snatch it up immediately. It was a little plain-looking, so I took a bit of vintage lace my grandmother gave me and attached it to the pockets. It added the right bit of interest to keep it from looking boring. The blazer is actually my size, so I don't need to alter it in that way, but the shape is a little boxy, so I might put in some darts to add curve. Thrifting is definitely a great way to experiment with style. I recently found a pair of plum corduroy pants that were just my size. The fit was a bit old-fashioned (think baggy 90s mom jeans) so I altered them to a more modern style. I absolutely love them! I never thought I'd be one to wear plum pants, but I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised. They are cheerful and make me feel spunky when I wear them. :)

Don't restrict yourself to one section of the shop! Men might have a harder time with this, but if you're a woman, feel free to roam the whole store! Find your oversized cardigans, big button-down shirts, and boyfriend jeans in the men's section! If you have a small frame, you might have some success in the larger children's sizes. Also, sometimes people are sloppy shoppers and hang up their discarded items wherever they please, so something amazing may be tucked in between granny's teddy bear printed turtlenecks. Take your time. Enjoy the weird things you find, and keep your eyes peeled for a great new piece for your wardrobe.

My favorite thing about shopping second-hand is that I get to be creative and make up a style that is all my own without spending a ton of money! Have fun and don't take yourself or your style too seriously!"

-Karen Dickerson

Photo 1: paisley dress-thrifted/altered, men's chambray shirt-thrifted, belt-thrifted, hat-heirloom from great-grandfather

Photo 2: navy dress- hand-me-down, mustard blazer-thrifted/altered, slouchy cowboy boots-thrifted, headband-handmade

(follow Karen on Pinterest)