Happy Monday everyone!!! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving with friends and family … and enjoyed good food, good times, and for those of you spending the holiday out of town … good THRIFT STORE SHOPPING!
My motto: When out-of-town, get on-the-ball and THRIFT ON at a thrift store that you’ve never been to before in an area full of fresh thrifted finds!
The inherent beauty of holidays for every thrift store shopper is with new locale comes new opportunities to visit new thrift stores. People ask me where I like to “thrift.” While I have some personal favs that never let me down — and that list has only grown with years of experience! — really, the answer is … everywhere! And there’s no greater thrill than walking into a new thrift store in anticipation of “what you can find.”
But of course, there is also the flip side that you may not find ANYTHING! Maybe it’s because the thrift store isn’t what you expected, or maybe it’s because you had a particular piece in mind and the thrift store wasn’t stocked with your wish list items.
That’s exactly what happened to me this past weekend when spending time with my family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I decided to venture WEST! and visit York, the “sister” city to Lancaster and home to a seriously MASSIVE Salvation Army Thrift Store! My friend Brandi and a current York resident tipped me off to the store, calling it a “Wal-Mart sized thrift store.” She’d never been inside, though, so it was up to me to investigate exactly what this supercenter Salvation Army had to offer.
I had a wish list of my own for this thrift shopping adventure: Find ugly holiday sweaters! I was certain that a store as big as this Salvation Army [take a look at the pictures below to see just how big!] would be chock full of ugly holiday sweaters, and that I’d have a difficult time deciding which ones to take home.
But ALAS! This Sal Val [my term of endearment for Salvation Army, sometimes also referred to as “S&A”] had NO UGLY HOLIDAY SWEATERS TO BE FOUND!!!! I know — I couldn’t believe it, either!
So like any new thrift store experience, you can enter a store with expectations and leave with what you LEAST expected to find. And that’s exactly how this visit turned out — I thought I’d walk away with an armful of reindeer, Santa & Christmas trees … but instead, walked away completely empty handed!
Still, I had fun trying on a bunch of vintage finds in the changing room, and did some “unique vintage print” hunting to show off to you guys. I wanted to put this post together to inspire YOU to venture forth into a thrift store you may never have been in before.
So, before I begin showing off my finds below, here are my top tips for “discovering a new thrift store” in your area or a new locale you just happen to be visiting!
1.) When visiting a new area of the country, use the Goodwill or Salvation Army store location finder on their web sites. Plug in the zip code and you’ll find the closest stores near you.
2.) Salvation Army and Goodwill have both corporate centers and “stores” listed on their sites. Make sure you visit a designated Goodwill “retail store and donation center” and a designated Salvation Army “family store.” Call ahead to check on hours, location, and that they are STILL OPEN! I’ve driven to thrift stores only to discover they NO LONGER EXIST!
3.) Bring a thrifting partner-in-crime to the store with you — since you don’t know the store, it’ll be better if there are two people to “attack” and discover its finds FASTER. Since you are probably visiting a new area of the country for a purpose, you don’t want to spend an entire afternoon thrifting. Slice that time in half with help from a friend!
4.) When finding directions for the store, make sure you print out a map and the RETURN directions, too. I’ve successfully found thrift stores only to get lost on the way back to the highway. Usually you are going off the “beaten path” to find the thrift store in the first place. Especially if you are a city girl visiting the ‘burbs — those backroads can get complicated! Never rely on your memory, or you will be wishing you bought a GPS system instead of a bag full of fabulous thrift store finds!
5.) To pass on good thrift store karma, look up the Yelp or Yellow Pages review of the thrift store you visited. Write a review, giving details as to what was available in the store, the prices, the vintage and designer finds, and the size. Also note changing rooms, bathrooms, and friendliness of employees. This way, when another loving thrifter like you Googles thrift stores in that area, they can see your review and decide whether the store is really worth visiting. Each thrift store has its own personality, and it’s important to pass along this information to the thrift Gods and their universe of followers. The karma will come back, I promise! ;-)
So that’s it, folks … a few tips on how to conquer a new thrift store near you … and to pass on thrift store KARMA in return!
Scroll on down to see what I found at this Salvation Army in York, Pennsylvania … and let me know what your favorite look is in the comments below, or by shooting me an email [email protected]! Love hearing from everyone and getting recs for future blog posts. I’m here to answer YOUR questions, so send ’em my way!
xoxo and have a great Monday!
Salvation Army: The Smart Shopper’s Store
You got THAT right!
Most Salvation Army stores post their “sales” of the day on a white board like this one. My shopping days’ sale? 50% off PINK TAGS! Let’s see if I found some in the pictures below …
… and amongst the racks and racks of clothes in this MASSIVE store! I definitely wasn’t lying …
… when I said that it was the size of a Wal-Mart!
I quickly found just a “few” items in the racks of thrift treasure …
… and disobeyed the “four item maximum” limit and brought them ALL into the fitting room! [I don’t advise this, but if you can sneak ’em in … well, just be sneaky about it!]
My “pre” trying-on outfit … lots of scarves involved! Now it’s time to see what these vintage gems actually look like … and how inexpensive they COST!
First vintage try-on: HOLIDAY SWEATER TIME!
Nope, this isn’t a “ugly” holiday sweater … but its silver and gold sparkles got me into the holiday mood nonetheless ;-) I knew this was vintage because the brand is Express, and you can tell by the tag. Vintage express from the late 80s and early 90s usually is labeled as “Express Campaigne International.”
This sweater, while it fit my medium-size frame perfectly, was labeled as an extra small! Why? Because these sweaters were supposed to be worn as dresses, I’m assuming … ohhhh, the 80s!
THE SWEATER PRICE!!! $4.99
This is a blend of vest-meets-drappy-sweater. I love to pair free-flowing “accessory” clothing with form fitting pieces, like these hot pink pants. I call this an “accessory” clothing piece because really, it’s not doing much to “cover up” or keep you warm … but like a piece of jewelry, it adds a certain flair!
I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if I saw this vest sold en mass at H&M next season. Great cut, great color, great find!
Note it’s side cut angle, and the roomy arm openings for optimal positioning of layers beneath.
VEST PRICE: $4.99!!!
And the best part? It’s a pink tag … so 50% off! That comes to a grand total of $2.50. Your Starbucks coffee probably costs more, right? ;-)
Next up: This very lovely slightly sheer, slighty sexy vintage dress!
I absolutely love the print and the combination of navy/purple/turquoise. I hypothesize — although I can’t be 100% sure — that you can’t find the same colors today as you could in the past because different kinds of dyes with different chemicals are used today. Whether the change in dyes is for safety or for affordability [it’s unfortunately all about the bottom line at clothing companies today] I don’t know … but I do know that those colors in that dress above? Beautiful. And could I find those colors exactly in a modern piece? I’d bet no!
Bonus print: ROSES!
Sorry for the blurriness … my little ole’ Canon Powershot isn’t good at up-close-and-personal shots! But if you can make it out, this is a union tag — authentic evidence that this dress was probably produced pre 80s and was produced in the good ole’ US of A!
DRESS PRICE: $5.99!!
Plus, 50% off for a pink tag = $3!
A thrift store shopping spree by Sammy Davis Vintage isn’t complete without what else … SEQUINS!
Love this dress to death, I almost walked away with it … but a girl CAN own too many sequins, and I gotta limit myself!
Sequin Dress Price: $19.99!
The sequins lady was a bit more pricey — but for appropriate reasons. It was a find, and probably originally sold for 15 times more than the $19.99 price at the Salvation Army store!
This dress was oh-so-comfortable-and-chic! I loved that it was tight and definitely very body conscious, but literally covered every square inch of my body.
There is something to be said about “leaving something for the imagination.” ;-)
Dress Total: $5.99!!!
Talk about VINTAGE — this was a true one-of-a-kind find! I sort of felt like a pilgrim wearing it because of the white-and-black.
The bows on the pockets were ADORABLE! If I had better sewing skills, I would hem this number to the knee and remove the sleeves for a chic shift. I think this dress was made in the 70s, but it could be redesigned to resemble more of the mod style of the 60s. And because of the black foundation, you can accessorize it like CRAZY!
Darling bows I love thee!
Dress Total: $12.99!!
Now for some vintage prints and eye candy … I thought twice about sharing these with you guys, but decided that we all need some vintage pattern stimulation on a Monday after a holiday!
I wish I could tell you just WHAT this shape is … anyone have a guess or a name for it?!
Busy busy BEAUTIFUL!
Polka dots will NEVER go out of style.
This pattern literally blows my mind. It looks like it has European architecture influences … I can’t explain it any other way!
A mix of flower power meets African pride! Loves it!
That’s all, folks! You can’t deny it: Salvation Army is the “smart shoppers store …”
Sarah Penny says
oh my goodness! Amazing finds. Looks like you had a great time!
Ooooh, love the finds! Can’t wait to see how you style these gems.
Thanks for sharing your thrifting tips!
Thanks for sharing all the great tips…as a long time thrifter I tend to forget some of those things when I visit a new store.
Oh! I have watched your youtube vids but I never knew you had a blog too! Love it. :)
I really like the pink long dress… It’s odd how something so covered up can actually be more sexy than a short body con (well in my opinion…). You looked great!
hi Christina! Yay, I’m so happy you found my blog! How did you find it? This is such an old post ;-) vintage/thrift love xx
Hahah! Yes, I realized later that it was so old! Opps. :)
I found it by googling. I think I searched “thrift haul” and your blog came up. I love seeing what other thrifters buy and try on because it makes me almost feel like I’m shopping myself! Almost… ;)
Wow, that’s so interesting! I will have to do another post on a “thrift haul!” ;-) Where are you based love? xx
Canada! Province of BC.
I’m so jealous when I read american blogs because their prices are soooo much cheaper. We don’t have a Goodwill on the West Coast but man, I wish we did from what I have seen. :)
Are you serious?! I mean, I have NYC price so I feel they are way out of line! If you are looking at the American midwest, definitely less expensive. No Goodwill? Really? What are your stores? I know Salvation Army is in Canada, correct? xx
We do have Salvation Army! And we have a ton of Value Villages (the same thing as Savers) but their prices are not cheap… They seriously know their brands. Now, tops are averaging $7.99-9.99 range. The other day I was there and there was one for $24.99. It wasn’t even that famous a designer… I forget the name but I remember thinking that at the time. Salvation Army is a good $2 plus cheaper.
The rising prices are SUCH an issue. It’s something I’ve been meaning to research, and discuss with my contacts who work for Goodwill, Salvation Army and also Housing Works (based in NYC). Value Villages are also in the US. I think the best places are now church shops!