The Art of Thrifting: Items To Look Out For (Part 2 of 2)

On Tuesday I covered my pre-thrift guidelines that will help prepare you for a successful thrift outing.

As I actually thrift the majority of my wardrobe, I’ve discovered which items are reliable finds. It can be easy to feel frustrated about fit in a thrift store, because there is no universal sizing! (I know, you’re thinking… “Is there ever?!”) Sizing in thrift stores is perhaps more complicated because the clothes come from different decades, and sizes have changed over time. But don’t fear! The items I’ve listed below tend to be better stocked (in a variety of sizes/colors/patterns), more withstanding to previous long-term wear, and most likely to look good on a variety of body types.

Pencil Skirts

Usually stocked in tons of colors/sizes. They’ve been a thing throughout the decades so they’re always well stocked (and often have POCKETS). Look for 100% wool. 

pencil skirt queer style

My friend S, rocking out on my back stairs. Complete with recycling and pumpkins.

Velvet Pencil Skirt: $2.00 at Village Discount Outlet (Chicago, IL)
White button down: $1.00 at a yard sale (Oberlin, OH)
Floral/Paisley Scarf: my mother’s 1970s stock of wonder.
Boots: airstreamapparel Etsy shop
Peacoat: Gap (her own; “on sale!” she says)

Short-sleeved Button Downs

Long sleeved shirts are so great, but they’re maybe my least favorite articles of clothing to shop for. If you don’t have the right shoulder/sleeve fit… they can look sloppy. Also they lose their primness after a few years. Most of the thrifty long-sleeved button-ups you’ll find are fairly worn. However! Most thrift stores have short-sleeved button-ups a-plenty. Fewer folks wear them. They’re better stocked. And more likely to fit you. 

short sleeve button-ups queer style

My friend Sara

Multi-Colored Button-Up: $4.50 at Goodwill (Cambridge, MA)

Oversized Sweaters

Need I say more? They’re meant to be cozy, baggy, and just a little goofy. Keep an eye out for cashmere, chunky knits, and handmade products. A particularly good present for a cuddler. 

oversized sweaters queer style

Sara again, doped out on Starbursts.

Hunter Green Sweater: $3.80 at Village Discount Outlet (Chicago, IL)
Short-Sleeved Button Down: $2.00 Village Discount Outlet (Chicago, IL)
Collar Buttons (actually decorated bobby pins): Modcloth, Gift.


Most commercial stores don’t sell overalls anymore. So if you want a pair, thrift stores are your friend. Also. If you’re somewhat small in stature (like me) try looking in the teens/kid’s section (even if you have a donk)… it’s cheaper and often carries cool patterns.

overalls queer style

(from,, and

Can overalls get any more chic? …I didn’t buy these! But! Unique Thrift in Cleveland has an entire section devoted to overalls… all under $6.00!


These buddies will last forever and ever. And they generally look better with age. Tip: if it has a clasp in the back, make sure the clasp actually works! Great for layering.

vests queer style

My friend S looking like a hot, queer, female Marlon Brando.

White Shirt: My 16-year-old brother’s closet.
Knit Vest: $1.50 at Unique (Chicago, IL)
Green Flannel: $0.50 at a yard sale (Oberlin, OH)
Jeans: $10.00 at Goodwill (New York, NY) (her own; woaaahhh good find!)
Boots: $12.00 at Goodwill (New York, NY)


Smaller consignment shops might have a limited selection, but large thrift stores will usually have a variety of lace-ups, rainproof, knee-high, and hiking boots. Make sure the heels are sturdy and in tact/that there are no holes in the bottom of the shoe. Don’t be deterred by ugly or scraggly laces. That’s such an easy fix.

mmmm. I love boots!

boots queer style

Dark Brown Boots: $12.00 at Goodwill (New York, NY)
Black Boots: $2.50 at Junior League Thrift House (Evanston, IL)
Tan Boots: $5.00 at Village Discount Outlet (Chicago IL)

Belts, Scarves, & Ties

Just do it. Get those silky smooth pocket squares, kerchiefs, and wrap-arounds. These make fantastic presents. Some stores have grab-bags/boxes full of scarves.

scarves thrift stores


Again, didn’t buy these beauties. I realized that I only had green scarves/ties/belts and was too embarrassed to put a collection of 12 various green shades in one picture. But they usually range from $1.00- $3.00 for scarves and $0.50- $6.00 for ties/belts where I shop.

Hope this helps. Look good, stay cozy, give gifts, and pay your rent on time! Happy snappy thrifting!

By Guest Blogger, Sarah B.