I haven’t purchased retail in ONE MONTH and this me checking in on the process.

Now, let me be clear…I’m not one to stick to things. Diets and workout plans included. I even tried to start making my bed every morning and that lasted about 45 seconds. I am admittedly less than disciplined but a work in progress. SO. As much as I love that this has now become a habit in my life, I have needed to make some lifestyle changes and the hardest part is yet to come my way. 

Here’s some things I’ve done to make the change a little easier. 

  1. The power of the “I could thrift that” mindset. One of my favorite things is to jump on Pinterest or the Vogue runway app and save outfits that I know I could thrift. The cool thing about what’s “on trend” right now (que puff sleeves and mixed patterns) is it can ALL be thrifted. When you see a piece I like, the first thing I do is jump on poshmark or thredup to see if I can find something like it. If not, it goes on my thrift wishlist that I keep in the notes on my phone. This mindset has become a bit of a healthy little challenge for myself.
  2. Avoid swiping up to shop. I KNOW this is like the blogger livelihood but this is how I got myself in big trouble. So I am avoiding it like the plague. 
  3. Delete the Nordstrom App. Out of sight out of mind. Instead of jumping on the Nordstrom app, I jump on ThredUp or Poshmark and scroll for the deals. 
  4. Avoid the abyss that is the Target clearance section. Need I say more?
  5. Surround yourself with supporters. I have been absolutely blessed beyond measure to have friends that are completely supporting (and evening joining in!) on my decision to only shop secondhand. What better Friday night plans than thrifting with fellow trash panda. 

The hardest thing about not shopping retail is yet to come. Blair Eadie is set to launch her second collection (of many collections) with Halogen and Nordstrom in October and I will need all the support I can get not to crack. 

Interested in learning more about why I decided to go strictly secondhand? Check out this post.

My Favorite Thrift Shops in Madison

Alright…let’s go thrifting Mad City style! I am so excited to dish my favorite thrift shops in the Madison area. I spend more time wandering through the aisles of these thrift shops than I’m willing to admit.

If you ever find yourself in Madison for a day or a weekend, don’t forget to stop and dig for treasures at one of these shops!

St Vincent De Paul Williamson St

1309 Williamson St Madison WI 53703

When people ask what my ALL TIME favorite thrift shop is, this Vinny’s location is what I tell them. When I lived an hour away, I would make the drive just to go thrifting at this location. It is in one of the coolest (hipster) areas of Madison and worth a few hours just to wander around.

Goodwill Middleton

6280 Century Ave, Middleton, WI 53562

It’s one of the newest Goodwill locations in the Madison area and it is BEAUTIFUL. I never thought a thrift store could have so much of a clean department store feel. I was lucky to get a behind the scenes look at this location and it is really an amazing process from donation to the racks.

St. Vincent De Paul Stoughton

1509 US-51, Stoughton, WI 53589

For whatever reason, I always win BIG at this Vinny’s location especially with statement pieces and dresses. I’ve only been a couple of times and every time I leave with a haul of amazing pieces.

Goodwill Verona Rd

4530 Verona Rd, Madison, WI 53711

I furnished most of my apartment with finds from this very Goodwill. When I first moved to Madison, I lived close enough to this location to make weekly visits when I got bored. Its big, clean, and full of treasures.

ReThreads State Street

2023, 410 State St, Madison, WI 53703

While this falls more in the consignment bucket, you’re still going to walk away with some wicked awesome finds at a good price. This shop’s charm lies mostly in its location on Madison’s State Street. Go thrifting, grab yourself some ice cream at Chocolate Shoppe, and stroll up to the Capitol building. What could be better?

St. Vincent De Paul Dig and Save

1900 S Park St, Madison, WI 53713

If you’re looking for a bargain, like a really really good bargain, you’re gonna have to work for it. This Vinny’s is unlike any other thrift shop I’ve ever been in. Everything is priced by weight. So you dig for buried treasure, throw it in a cart, and weight it. I had pretty low expectations on my first trip but I absolutely loved this adventure!

The WHY Behind the Thrift: Earth Day Edition

Let me just spit some facts and figures at you for a minute because today, like everyday, we could use a reminder to be conscious of our footprint.

  • It takes 1,800 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans according to Penn State.
  • Billions of dollars in unsold merchandise is incinerated or destroyed by brands every year to maintain brand exclusivity.
  • The average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing per year per person. Of those, nearly 100% are recyclable.
  • According to Recycle Nation – 28 Billion pounds of textiles are piled into landfills each year.
  • Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world.

We have a problem that we’re all guilty of and we can all take small steps to do better. Will you join me?

Buy less: Fast fashion tells us to hop on trends that are gone in the blink of an eye. We buy more, wear it once, then buy more and more and more.

Buy smart: Choose retailers who recycle unused clothing, not burn or destroy it. Now listen, I’m not here to throw brands under the bus but do your research before you buy that’s all I’m sayin.

Donate: Recycle your unwanted clothes by donating them. DON’T throw them away. Someone can use them or they can be recycled.

Rent: Companies like Rent the Runway are changing the game with fashion. You mean I can rent clothes and return them so someone else can do the same? Sign me up.

Shop secondhand: I am biased because I am a stone cold thrifter. But the benefits of thrifting go beyond saving a buck. Don’t want to go to your local thrift store? Guess what, you can shop second hand online (Poshmark, ThredUp, Relovv, Depop). No human interaction required.

My Thrifting Secrets

I started my first thrift shop fashion blog in 2014 called Three Dollar Fashion. I loved finding a good deal and I loved styling my finds and made my roommate take pictures of me in our dorm room. Most of all, it allowed me to take a lot of pride in what I wear. I felt like I was hunting for treasure.

One of the questions I get the most is “How do you find such cute pieces…I can never find ANYTHING when I go thrifting!” So…I’m here to spill the beans about my thrift game plan and some pro tips to get the most out of your thrift adventure.

First, I get inspired. I go in with an idea of some of the things I’m looking for. Pinterest and instagram are both great resources to get outfit inspo.

Then, I head in with a plan. Stake out the territory. I’ve found my rhythm. So I usually start with dresses and blazers, head to shoes and accessories, then skirts, and finally blouses and pants. Think of it like going easiest to hardest. I can usually win big with dresses where jeans are the hardest for me to thrift. I don’t want to get discouraged right off the bat.

Then, I start the strategic hunt. Instead of sifting through the endless racks one by one: I keep an eye out for things that’ll instantly stick out.

  1. Color – If its bold, I want it.
  2. Patterns – Polka dots, stripes, florals. All of these things are easy to spot in the endless sea.
  3. Basics – There are always things you’ll be able to find at a thrift store. Plain Tee’s, simple cardigans, tanks etc.

My next biggest tip is try EVERYTHING on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the fitting room. I learned so much about what works and what doesn’t work for my body. I used to buy everything that was cute and that fit me. The question I ask myself now is “Is this a hell yes?” If I wouldn’t be sad leaving it, it stays. No need for it to hang out in my closet.

I’m based in Mad City so to round out my thrift toolkit, here are my favorite places to thrift in Madison.

St. Vincent DePaul on Willy St.

St. Vincent DePaul in Stoughton

Goodwill on Verona Rd

ReThreads on State St.