Jackpot! Thrifted Designer Dress!

I have been a thrifter for as long as I have been shopping so I am not very familiar with high-end designers and brand names. I realize that learning the labels would help me find more valuable items on my quests for second-hand clothes. I recently went to my nearby Goodwill to browse for work attire. Dresses are great because they can be worn in summer or layered according to the weather. They can be dressed up or down based on accessories. I started in the dresses and immediately came across one that seemed to be very well made; thick fabric, structured design, and sturdy seems. It had a beautiful ’50s style silhouette and I am a SUCKER for anything pinup/retro/rockabilly/’50s related. It is was just too barely too small but too good to pass up (I always tell myself I’m going to lose a few lbs.). I paid $5 for the dress. I got home and looked up the brand. Turns out it is a British designer named “Tibi.” Dresses by this designer retail for $300-$700!!!! SCORE!!! I will definitely start googling more labels while shopping!


Back: I used a white cloth to show the beautiful lace-up design on the back

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @EllenVAB


5 Tips for Jewelry Thrifting

As I said before, the jewelry counter at a thrift store is my favorite place to be. Here are a few tips to make sure you get the best out of your jewelry thrifting.

1. Make sure clasps and hooks are working.

You don’t want to get home and realize that the necklace you bought is broke, unless you are crafty and you have needle nose pliers and some extra jewelry clasps at home (they definitely come in handy).

2. Check for fading.

Most jewelry at thrift stores is plated so check to make sure that there aren’t any faded portions. Also check to make sure the item doesn’t have that gross metal-y smell that fake jewelry gets over time (if you ever shop at Forever 21 you know what I’m talking about).

3. Check for authenticity

If you are looking to get a good deal on real gold or silver you want to make sure it is real. You can bring a magnet to check. Real gold and sterling silver will not attract to a magnet. Also check for stamps that indicate authenticity (i.e. 14K, 18K, Ster, Sterling).

4. Buy a good cleaner

Make sure you have a good cleaner to bring out the shine in old items. Use alcohol on items that should be sanitized, like earrings.


This goes for shopping in general, but especially thrifting. Thrifters have a tendency to go over board because we find too many good deals. You don’t want to end up with a drawer full of shiny crap that you don’t actually like. Only buy things you can’t live without!


Here are a few jewelry items I’ve picked up at thrift stores.

Gaudy Studs

Giant stud earrings are a weakness of mine. The gaudier the better. Luckily there are plenty of them at thrift stores, but you’ll find that many of them are clip-ons. Have no fear. Go ahead and buy those awesome clip-ons, use some needle-nose pliers to rip of the back and super glue or hot glue an earring post on the back. You can buy a bag of earring posts with earring backs at most craft stores. Michael’s sells a bag for just a couple bucks. Super easy and inexpensive!

This is an example of a pair I switched to post earrings. These are my fav earrings of all time.

Beauty School

It is crazy expensive to get anything done to your hair in a salon, especially if you have a lot of hair like I do. Before you go drop half of your paycheck to get some highlights, check out the local beauty schools. I started going to a Paul Mitchell affiliate cosmetology school in Virginia because they did an awesome job and I could get a cut and color for $27. SAY WHAAAAT?? Yeah, $27. The students do the work but they are supervised by professionals. They always did an awesome job. (Just don’t be scared off by the waiver that you may have to sign upon arrival that explains that a student is working on your hair and that you shouldn’t sue or punch anyone in the face if they mess up.)

This is me after getting my hair colored at the Paul Mitchell school. They also gave me a complimentary blow out and full face makeup application. LOVE IT!

Diamond in the Rough

My favorite part of thrifting? The jewelry counter! I love big tacky jewelry and luckily there is plenty of that in thrift stores. I also love the fact that I most likely won’t see anyone else with the unique pieces I find while thrifting, as opposed to going to Forever 21. Don’t get me wrong, I shop there too, but I prefer finding something a little more unique. Here is an example of one of my favorite thrifted necklaces. I recently saw a similar one at a high end vintage/consignment shop for $22. I bought this one for $4.

Makeup Forever Lipstick

I am always looking for a good deal, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet for a quality item. I have a few expensive must-haves.

You won’t catch me wearing lipstick everyday, but when I do, it’s usually Makeup Forever’s “Rouge Artist Intense.” I LOVE the rockabilly style, but it wouldn’t be complete without the perfect red lipstick. Luckily, I was introduced to this product at Sephora, took a chance, and fell in love. It is the perfect shade of red and it lasts forever (shoulda known from the brand name)! I know what you’re saying, “I can’t pull off red lipstick blah blah blah.” Go to Sephora, try it out and walk around for a while to see how you feel. When I put on this lipstick, its like when Popeye guzzles his can of spinach, except instead of muscle, I gain confidence. That confidence is definitely worth the few extra dollars.

This is $19 VERY well spent.

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. – Gwyneth Paltrow