Thrifting Tips from Wanderlost

Posted on August 9, 2011


Jessica Parvin, owner of Wanderlost Clothing, shares the 411 on how to lose the label and build your personal style with thrifted finds.

Whether it’s the thrill of the hunt that motivates you or an economic necessity, there are many different reasons for buying and wearing thrifted finds. For Jessica Parvin, it began as a way to stand out in a world of fast fashion and cookie-cutter style.

“When I was in high school, all of the girls wanted to shop at the mall and wear clothing branded ‘Abercrombie and Fitch’ or ‘Gap’ — I never understood that mentality — so I went the other direction and started wearing vintage to be different.”

With a background in the Arts and Graphic Design, Jessica started her business in 2005 by selling a line of screen-printed t-shirts and handmade clothing. Since then (and while traveling all over the US), she’s been curating thrifted finds and incorporating them into her online boutique called Wanderlost Clothing. Her vintage collection includes housewares, bags, menswear and shoes, but the most popular items are her women’s dresses. Here are two of her recent finds *I’m loving*:

More goodies from Jessica’s Madison, Wis. studio space…

Finding unique pieces (and recreating them) is a great way to build your personal style, but it’s also a responsible and economical way to build your wardrobe on a budget.

“Learning to sew was one of the best things I ever did, because now I don’t have to pass up an item just because it needs a little mending.”

Jess often alters items to look more modern by shortening skirts, taking off sleeves, or by adding or taking away embellishments. This gold and black dress (below) is an example of something she repurposed; it was originally floor length and had long sleeves.

Whether purchasing for yourself or for your own boutique, here are a few tips (gleaned from Jess) to help you get out there and hone those thrifting chops!

Nifty Thrifting Tips:

1. Get your hunt on by traveling to new places — small towns off the beaten path — to look for new shops and rummage sales.
2. Have patience. Take your time while going through the racks at a thrift store. When you find that perfect something, it will all be worth it!
3. Keep your eyes (and mind) open to the potential of an item. (e.g. How you might be able to wear it in a unique way or pair it with pieces you already own.)
4. And, don’t be afraid to try your hand at some simple re-working! Learn while you create.

To see more and shop Wanderlost Clothing visit

Photo Credit: Jessica Parvin