Thrifted vegan moto jacket (Poshmark), Levi’s (Melrose Trading Post) and shoes (NYC)

I am an expert thrifter; my entire family is, really. I grew up thrifting alongside my mom, my aunt and my cousins. (My cousin Devon even bought her wedding gown secondhand from a vintage shop, which is ah-mazing. Hey, Dev!)

Over the years I’ve gathered a ton of tips and tricks for successful thrifting, and I am thrilled to be able to share them with my community. Not only is shopping secondhand an environmentally friendly alternative to fast fashion, it is a great way to find unique, high-quality pieces at an affordable price.

It’s no secret that clothes, shoes, accessories, even home furnishings aren’t made with the craftsmanship of yesteryear, and for this reason alone I believe thrifting is worth the hassle it can sometimes cause.

Thankfully, technology has made thrifting something you can do from the comfort of your couch with a bowl of popcorn. For more of my preferred methods, keep reading!

  1. Your local, trusted tailor is your best friend! This is my first tip because it is the most important! Americans don’t utilize tailors like they used to, and for that reason, we modern Americans suck at dressing ourselves. By supporting your local tailor, you’re actually doing yourself a huge favor, too: not only will you be more comfortable and confident in your clothes, you’ll actually get more wear out of them. Because thrift shops almost always stock one of each piece, it is unlikely all your finds will be the right size. DON’T LET THAT DISCOURAGE YOU. I cannot emphasize this enough! If you find something you love, but it’s a little to big, a little too long, or needs some patching up, take the time to bring it to a tailor you can trust. It’s worth it. This tip is especially useful for petite gals like me; I’ve found that vintage retailers tend to stock sizes 27 (i.e., size 4) and up. Sizes 24 (00), 25 (0) and 26 (2) are super hard to come by.
  2. Download buy & sell apps! Poshmark and Depop are my favs, but there’s also a handful of others like Mercari or even Etsy. You can make bank by selling your own pieces, and you could also score pre-loved goodies from across the country or around the world! Spend a Saturday or Sunday uploading to your virtual closet so that others can shop from you, then settle down and explore what’s out there! Though a scammer may try to contact you every now and then, they are pretty easy to spot, and the apps, which are businesses in and of themselves equipped with 24/7 support teams, are safe and reliable. Poshmark even allows returns if your purchase doesn’t arrive as listed. However, I will say this: STAY ON THE APP AND ONLY BUY/SELL DIRECTLY FROM THE APP. A surefire way to spot a scammer is if they message you, reply to you or comment on your page asking if you’ll buy from them or sell to them off the app (either through Paypal or some other method). Politely tell them that you only buy/sell directly from the app, and block them if necessary. And definitely don’t give them your email address.
  3. Pictures matter! When it comes to selling on apps like Poshmark and Depop, pictures matter! Your potential buyers want to see clear, well-lit, unfiltered and unobstructed images. Think about it–you wouldn’t want to purchase something if the picture of it is crappy, so why would others? Invest some time in taking good quality pictures for your virtual closet (smartphone cameras work fine!), and remember that if you model your pieces, they are more likely to sell.
  4. Be patient! This tip applies to real-life shopping, as well as shopping through apps. Every once in a while, you may get lucky by finding your dream piece right away, but most of the time, it will take time! For this reason, thrifting digitally has a clear advantage over thrifting IRL. Most of the apps allow you to save a piece for future purchase by “liking” it, whereas leaving a piece behind on a thrift store shelf in hopes of finding something better can give you that one-that-got-away feeling. If there’s something super specific you’re looking for, apps are your best bet. You can check for it by typing a word or phrase into the search bar multiple times a day and on multiple different apps to maximize your chances. With a little patience, you’re sure to come across the right one in a matter of weeks, days or even hours! As far as thrifting IRL, strategic searching takes time, energy and even a little research, but it is almost always rewarding!

Some of my absolute favorite pieces were thrifted by yours truly. If you’re in LA and love thrifting as much as I do (or are a first-time who wants to get into thrifting), stop by my go-to spots Melrose Trading Post (open only on Sunday’s–get there early!), Reformation Vintage (8253 Melrose Ave) and Wasteland. The best part is that these spots are all on the same street, with walking distance of one another (although Wasteland has two other locations in Santa Monica and Studio City, both in the LA area).

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I didn’t know it was possible to feel sexy in cords until I pulled on this burnt orange pair by Fiorucci. By now I’m sure all my readers know my obsession with the Italian label–it was featured in my November favs, plus my 3-part series on its influence on the fashion industry is underway this week.

After having my eyes on these logo-emblazoned corduroy pants since their debut, I snagged them (for 20%-off!) on Black Friday. (Side note: Fiorucci’s shipping is amazing–my parcel arrived in N.J. from the U.K. in less than a week, and their packaging is so fun.)

Not only are these quite possibly the most flattering skinny pants I’ve ever worn (I tend to stick to baggy, boyfriend styles because that’s what looks best on my figure), they’re comfortable. Basically, they fit like a glove. Plus, how cool are they?! I can’t get enough.

This week I paired them with a slouchy sweatshirt because temperatures have been freezing here (it snowed twice last week). I’ve spent so much time in L.A. lately that it actually took me a minute to get used to dressing for fall and winter this year. But now that I’m back in the North East for a while, I’m starting to get the hang of it again.

As much as I wanted to polish off this look with a pair of heeled booties, I decided to go for my Adirondack boots; I’ve been doing booties way too often. They definitely added to the cord’s cozy winter vibes. And, they preform much better in the snow, anyway. I also added a chunky knit scarf for extra warmth and texture.

I’ll definitely be pairing these cords with skimpy tank tops and cropped t-shirts as weather gets warmer, but for now, I’m enjoying all my knits and sweatshirts. My day-to-day style tends to have a casual, borrowed-from-the-boys steez, so I know my new Fiorucci cords will be an investment that pays off for years to come.

What I’m wearing:

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I know it has been a minute since I’ve shared a monthly favorites with HM readers. But, I just can’t avoid it any longer; there are a *ton* of new things I have really been loving lately that I need to share with my readers.

Besides Prince Harry’s royal engagement (eep!), I put together a post on everything else I’ve been obsessing over this month (hint: there’s a ton from Sephora’s VIB sale). Now excuse me while I go scroll through Meghan Markle boards on Pinterest…

Fiorucci: By now everyone on here knows my obsession with Devon Carlson, one of the designers behind Wildflower Cases. Through her I’ve discovered some of my favorite people, places and things (like Girl At The White Horse, an L.A. bar). Arguably the coolest, though, is Fiorucci, an Italian label that mixes Dolce Vita luxury with British street style.

Back and better than ever, Fiorucci is one of the most unique labels on the market today–and it has such a rich history. As an Italian girl myself, I quickly fell in love with Fiorucci, but held out until Black Friday to order a few things from their site. To me, their pieces are casual, yet structured, with the perfect amount of sexy for everyday life.

Unlike a lot of other high-end labels, Fiorucci creates pieces I actually want to wear and that I can feel like myself in. I’ll most likely end up creating a lookbook (or two!) focusing on the pieces I bought, but for now I’ll link my favorites here, here and here.

Neisy Bra by Are You Am I: I picked this bra up at the AYAI showroom in Downtown Los Angeles last month, and I have barely taken it off since. Like everything from Are You Am I, this piece fits beautifully; it’s seriously like second skin.

And not only is it comfortable, it looks the part, too. Comfortable bras that are also pretty are super hard to come by–especially when you have a bigger chest. Its thick strips complement the thin rib detail on the cup portion (while providing a little extra support), and it has a gorgeous gold clasp detail on the back.

Unfortunately, this baby is out of stock. But, you can’t go wrong with anything from AYAI. I Promise 😉

Bali Body Shimmering Body Oil: You guys already know how much I love Bali Body’s skincare range; while I can’t make it through the summer months without their Watermelon Tanning Oil SPF 6, their BB Cream is my holy grail year-round.

Just in time for the holidays the Aussie cult-favorite brand debut their Shimmering Body Oil, and it definitely delivers. Unlike their tanning oils, though, Shimmering Body Oil is meant to be worn with *or without* the sun.

It instantly bronzes the skin while giving you a shimmering (duh!) golden glow. And because it’s from BB, it’s insanely nourishing, moisturizing and smells amazing–even better than their original coconut body oil in my opinion.

I love using it on top of–or sometimes instead of–BB’s Bronzing Lotion for that fresh-from-vacay look anytime, anywhere. Shimmering Body Oil, balibody.co

Too Faced Melted Liquified Lipstick in Chihuahua: Ever since I picked up MAC’s Persistence over the summer, I’ve been loving a bold nude lip. Too Faced’s Melted formula has been a favorite of mine for more than two years, so during Sephora’s VIB sale I picked up this shade.

Chihuahua is the perfect match for nearly any eye look, and this high-impact formula can’t be beat: it provides a glossy shine without sacrificing bold color payoff.

Unlike other liquid lipsticks, there’s no need to babysit this formula all day (or night!) long. And because it feels hydrating, lightweight and comfortable, has been my go-to lip color all month long–I even wore it on Thanksgiving! $21, sephora.com

MAC Cosmetics Frost Lipstick in Pink, You Think?: While Chihuahua has been my everyday lip, MAC’s Pink, You Think? has been my go-to for special occasions.

I ventured to L.A. twice in November, and I always love experimenting with fun colors when I’m out there (more so than when I am home on the East Coast). So, this lippie came along for the ride both times.

When I wore this hot neon pink lipstick (with blue pearlescent undertones) for the first time, I paired it with a gray cat-eye look. And the second time I went for a semi-coordinating pearlescent pink eye look. On both occasions, though, this lip color was a hit.

The neon pink hue is stunning, and it doesn’t look weird when it starts to disappear; on me it fades into a sun-kissed coral color. I never see this shade going out of style. $17.50, maccosmetics.com

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask: This was another Sephora VIB sale purchase. After hearing a ton of my fellow Glossier Reps gush about this product, I finally gave into the temptation (couldn’t resist that 20-percent off deal).

I was a little hesitant at first because my skin can be pretty sensitive, but figured with the discount and Sephora’s killer return policy, the risk was minimal.

Not only does it smell amazing, it actually gets the job done! As I’ve gotten older, I noticed my skin (which is normally on the oily side) gets a little dry and somewhat irritated during the colder months. So, I need something extra in my routine to keep my complexion hydrated this time of year.

Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer is great after cleansing, toning and serum-ing, but Watermelon Glow definitely gives my skin that boost it needs before bedtime. $45, sephora.com

Ouai Hair Oil: If you read one of my previous posts, you know I also *finally* tried a few products from the Ouai during Sephora’s VIB sale. While I love everything I picked up, Hair Oil is the stand-out product for me; I find myself reaching for this guy nearly every day.

The nourishing blend of ingredients protects hair from heat damage while mending split ends. And for me, one pump is enough to tame the fly-aways around my face–the best part? I no longer need heat tools to do that!

I’ll also apply Hair Oil to dry tresses before bed to help strengthen my hair overnight. $28, sephora.com

The Fashion Law (website): I’ve been super busy wrapping up my thesis proposal, so I haven’t had too much time to read for pure pleasure. Thankfully, I love my field of research, especially when it gives me the chance to catch up on The Fashion Law, one of my favorite sites for several years now.

TFL has always been my go-to for keeping up with the industry. But more importantly, it was a huge influence in selecting my research topic.

While big names like Vogue and Marie Claire focus heavily on celebrity and pop culture-related content, TFL provides meaningful, in-depth pieces on the industry’s law and business–and it’s still fun to read. The more I learn about the industry, the more I can appreciate that.

Because TFL has been such a big part of my life lately, I decided to include it in my favorites this month even though I’ve been keeping up with it since 2014.

Honorable mentions: Wowder in Light/Medium by Glossier, Daily Oil Wash by Glossier, Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha by Fenty Beauty, Bronzing Lotion by Bali Body, kirakira+ (iPhone app), Sweatsuit in Camel Khaki by Danielle Guizio NY

What have you been loving this month?

What fashion and beauty items have you been reaching for the most? Are there any inspiring or informative books, magazine articles or blogs I should check out? Let me know your current lifestyle favorites in the comments down below! Xx

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Ropes Mansion, aka Allison’s house in Hocus Pocus

Quite possibly my favorite building in the whole city! It’s directly across the street from The House of the Seven Gables.

All the decorations in Salem are so adorable! Love this color combo.

Another one of the many gorgeous federal style mansions Salem has to offer

My BFF and college roommate Rachel and I just returned from our second annual trip to Salem, Massachusetts. We started this tradition last year on a whim as a way to celebrate her birthday (and Halloween!), and we instantly fell in love. Now, we see ourselves returning to Witch City this same time every year.

Because it was our second time, we definitely knew which spots we had to hit. There is so much to do in this small city, so our weekend was totally packed–but it is so worth it!

Between historic landmarks and a number of museums (and all the amazing places there are to eat and shop), there are so many fun little things to visit in Salem. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that everything is so adorably festive (and photogenic).

Apple of my Chai is the perfect fall drink; it’s a dry, spiced cider.

Ectoplasm is such a unique concoction! So happy I had the chance to try it while in town.

The freshest oysters at Turner’s on Church Street

Cute sites (and yummy smells!) at the Derby Street Carnival

On our first day there we grabbed oysters at Turner’s, a restaurant at Lyceum Hall. Salem’s seafood really cannot be beat, and we had been craving Turner’s since our visit last year–it was our fav by far!

Then, we took a quick walk to Essex Street, one of the main roads in Salem, which is great because it’s closed off to vehicles. The shopping is the best in the entire city, and the people watching is truly one-of-a-kind.

After that we made our way over to the cemetery and Witch Trials Memorial by way of the Derby Street Carnival. We’re so thankful we did a couple walking tours last year because we were able to navigate the city ourselves and know the history behind everything we looked at.

The Witch Trials Memorial is one of our favorite spots in Salem. In addition to the meaning behind it, it is a really cool spot to relax even though it’s in the city’s center. Plus, there is always a ton going on at the Carnival.

We ended the day at Far From The Tree, a hard cider tap room we discovered last year. I was so happy to enjoy Apple of my Chai again, as well as their new limited edition flavor Ectoplasm.

Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Pumpkin and apple ice cream (and Rachel) at Maria’s Sweet Somethings

Outdoor decoration inspo!

On Saturday we woke up early to get caffeine at Jaho Coffee, another one of our favs from last year. Because it is so closed to the Derby Wharf, we stayed in that area for a bit. It is arguably the cutest area in town (and the seafood doesn’t get any fresher!).

After visiting The House of the Seven Gables, we stopped at the nearby Ye Olde Pepper Companie, an old-fashioned candy shop. Rumor has it that this place is home of the first commercially made candies in the U.S., dating back to the 1800s. I stocked up on *all* the licorice 😉

Windswept at the Witch Trials Memorial

On our way to Salem Witch Museum

At Old Town Hall, which you may recognize it from the “I Put A Spell On You” scene in Hocus Pocus. (It’s a museum IRL.)

Although it was a little warmer than last year, temperatures were still pretty low–especially in the a.m. So, I packed warm layers and a ton of knitwear.

The pullover turtleneck (pictured above) from Free People was soooOoOoOo cozy, and it paired perfectly with the plaid trousers I wore. I love, love, looove menswear-inspired looks durning the fall, but to keep this outfit slightly femme, I chose a go-to pair of heeled booties.

Then, I tied everything together with a thick black belt and a matte lip in Bunny by Kylie Cosmetics. I also added a pair of gold hoops and my Camera Bag from Pop & Suki.

We had so much fun exploring this quaint little city–with a rich history!–for the second time. Now, we’re definitely in the Halloween mood (and already planning next year’s weekend getaway to Salem)!

The cutest home near Derby Wharf!

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Last year my friend Rachel and I started a new Halloween tradition: a girls’ weekend in Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem can’t be beat this time of year (I promise a travel diary detailing everything as soon as we get back!). And now that it’s our second time, I for sure have a better idea in terms of what to pack. (I did not not pack enough warm layers last year, so I definitely learned my lesson.)

There is so much to do in this little gem of a city! We spend about half our time exploring the sites and shops downtown and half our time learning about the city’s history at museums and through walking tours (and another half drinking pumpkin beer and trying local cuisine). So, I like to pack casual, relatively polished clothes that are warm and comfortable, yet still reflect my personal style.

Thankfully, fall fashion is my favorite (#basic). Layering gives a girl a ton of options, and mixing different prints, textures and silhouettes is the perfect way to liven up what could otherwise be a frumpy outfit.

Beauty:

Salem’s vibe is super cool, so it is the perfect place to experiment with a new and/or bold beauty look. For the most part last year, I kept things fairly neutral, and I plan on doing pretty much the same this year. But, I’ll definitely be throwing a few fun accents in my bag.

In addition to the usual suspects (like Boy Brow, Balm Dotcom, a good primer, my must-have BB Cream and a trustworthy mascara), I added some extras to my makeup bag for this trip.

I’ve always loved a bold lip for fall, so I am bringing both Bunny by Kylie Cosmetics and LBB by Colourpop. Bunny is a cool mauve and LBB is rich berry that gives the perfect wine-stained pout; both are festive fall hues.

And, I cannot get enough of my new Fenty Beauty Match Stix in Mocha and Chili Mango, so of course I have to have them with me, too. Mocha makes contouring a breeze (plus, it looks much more natural than a powder contour in my opinion), while Chili Mango is a spicy, sparkly orange that draws attention to the eyes in one easy swipe across each lid.

A nude, dusty rose blush is the way to go in my opinion, so I’ll be bringing my go-to Amazonian Clay Blush in Seduce by Tarte.

To amp up the eyes for a night out, I packed an eyeshadow primer from Urban Decay, as well as their Naked Heat palette (which quickly became my favorite eyeshadow palette ever when it launched a few months ago) and Marc Jacob’s Matte Gel Eye Crayon eyeliner in (Earth)quake 41, a rich, deep brown.

No look is complete with a killer highlight, so I’m bringing Glossier‘s Haloscope in Moonstone for daytime and Milk Makeup’s Mars (the powder version) for an evening glow.

I also packed a few of my favorite on-the-go skincare products. Simple’s micellar makeup remover wipes (available at drugstores) are a must-have, and so is Glossier‘s Invisible Shield SPF 35+. And the Tea Tree Water spray by Lush is perfect for cleansing, toning and keeping oils at bay while on the go; it’s the ultimate skin refresher.

Clothes + accessories:

There’s no better place to rock your favorite fall pieces than in Salem! So, I packed quite a few fall staples to layer throughout the weekend. I cannot wait to show Haute Mess readers these gorgeous fall looks I put together while in Salem. Stay tuned! 😉

  • A versatile cardigan from Rat & Boa
  • A neutral pullover sweater from Free People
  • Plaid trousers from Topshop
  • A warm knit scarf from Free People
  • (Vegan) leather moto jacket by Blank NYC
  • My go-to winter coat in blush
  • A pair of clogs for daytime from Free People
  • A pair of heeled booties in black for a night out
  • Sneakers by APL
  • Statement earrings
  • My custom Pop & Suki Camera Bag (so I can be hands-free while touring the city)
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