Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to Shop a Thrift Store Like a Pro - by LeThrift.com

Shopping at thrift stores can be intimidating. Especially if you have not shopped at one before. Often people are not sure how to find great deals because theses stores are often overflowing with clothing crammed into every corner. The experience can be daunting.

This is why I have decided to give those who are interested in shopping at thrift stores some useful advice. With just these few tips, you will discover great finds like a Chanel Suit, cool vintage skirts or killer stiletto Prada heels.

The best way to start is to go to sites like Yahoo Local and Yelp and type in "thrift stores". Depending on the city, you will find people who will post comments on thrift stores they like, the deals they find and if the pricing of the stores items is reasonable.This feedback is a very useful tool to save time and narrow down your search to stores that might have some potential. Once you have found stores that you like, go on off hours and go frequently in order to find the best items.

After you find a few stores, make sure you have carved out enough time to thoroughly look through each store. Be patient, thrifting is not for the impatient at heart. Often when you rush through the racks you will not find very much and end up having a frustrating experience.

Also, go through several current fashion magazines like Marie Claire, Vogue, Bazaar and In Style. Decide which trends or styles you like. Trust me, fashion trends often cycle through several times, so what might of been in style yesterday might be in fashion now. Tear out items or styles that you like and bring them with you to the thrift store. Also take a quick overview of your wardrobe. What pieces do you need? What separates could use a counterpart to add extra flair? What accessories do you need to dress up a "tired looking" outfit?


When you have figured out what items you are searching for, go straight to that section. Quickly go through and touch fabrics that are hanging on the racks. Look for colors that are not faded. If the fabric feels good, it probably is a higher quality. Also natural fabrics such as cotton, wool and silk are more likely to be a more higher in quality, although sometimes designers do use synthetics. In this case check to see how the fabric looks and feels. Which leads me to the next topic...

While on your fashion hunt also look for well recognized brands and designers that will be reputable. Often a higher quality brand or designer will manufacture better clothes, hence they will last longer to wear and tear. Also if you are familiar with the brand you will know how the sizes run. Unfortunately, in the fashion world there is never a universal size 8, 12 or 2. A good rule to follow is that usually the cheaper the brand or designer, the smaller the sizes run.

Always check the condition of your garment. Thoroughly check all the hems, buttons, zippers. Look for any holes or tears along the bottom of pants, underneath the arms, in the lap area. Also, check for stains or discoloration. If the item is white, off white or cream make sure to check the underarms for stains. If your item surpasses all your tests, make sure to wash it or dry clean it when you bring it home to prevent any allergens from getting into the air or on your skin.

If you have a found a stunning gown, but the hemline is too low, or you see a wonderful coat that needs new buttons. Sometimes, it is rewarding to bring an item that has potential to life. If you have a great seamstress, you can have alterations or improvements done to a garment at a fraction of the cost of buying a new item of the same quality. Rummage through estate sales or fabric stores to find cool buttons and funky appliques. The result with be that you will have created your own unique look.

I would love everyone to shop at lethrift.com, but part of the reason why I started Le Thrift is that I wanted people who have been struggling financially because of the recession or been dealt with unexpected circumstances in life have a way to shop and still look great. Thrift stores are a way to save money, to pay off  debts and still be able to wardrobe your whole family. Happy thrifting!

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Thrift Store Shopping is Like Dating

Yes, I said dating...

 Ahhh the wonderful world of dating. It gives you the ability to try on several relationships until you get the right fit. You date the bad boy, the geek, the jock, the intellectual and the artist. You meet someone, date them casually, and then find out Mr. Right is oops... oh so WRONG. Hopefully, you go through many journeys during your adult life until finally there is a right fit. You know... the one and only? The big soul mate or partner that makes your heart swell up at the sight of her or him. The tingly sensation that you  know this is "the one."

This in itself is like the wonderful world of thrifting. Because you are not tied down to overpriced garments, it allows you to experiment. To try things on... whether they are the right fit for you or not. To take that chance and not be married to a sweater that you bought for way to much money, but feel you have to wear because you just took a look at your Mastercard bill and OUCH! This is a chance to be experimental, to try on a look or a style and simply be able to take the risk of trying something new. It is like a liberation of your closet and you are in the forefront like a soldier marching into the wonderful world of experimentation and the unknown.

You are ready to try those styles and trends you see in Vogue or InStyle without a care in the world. You are seeking the right fit with your style and your not afraid to explore the unknown. Be the bohemian, the intellect, the punker or the glamonista. Go ahead liberate yourself from the locks of chain store mass produced  style. I am not saying don't shop those stores as well. But, when you are looking for a new look, or see a really cool style in one of the trendy magazines but are not sure it is the right fit for you. Date it, or try it on with little or no risk. You are more apt to find inventions of style that you never thought you could do before.

And what is even better? That you are not stuck with it, like a bad date, when you are done with it you never really have to see it again. You can part with it. The reason.. hey... it only cost me five dollars. I am soooooo over my old look, on to the new one. Maybe this will be a new look for me that would be the next greatest fit. The best part is there is no relationship guilt with the item at the end. See you later cowlneck sweater... ha ha.... I never spent more that $20 on you and now I am moving on to V-necks and scarves!

No matter what it is in life.... dating, thrifting or trying something new. Give yourself options. Plenty of options. Until you find the right fit. You will finds worlds of happiness with discovering the unknown. Happy Thrifting!

This week on LeThrift.com

 We have several new items for women and children this week. There is a pair of never worn Seven Jeans that are offered for the greatest deal ever! Are you strapped on cash for a new coat? We have a beautiful black insulated jacket from Moda International that can keep you warm all winter long? Got a little skateboard junky? We have a great Independent shirt that is fierce and will help your little bad boy maintain his skater image. Every week we are constantly adding AWESOME products to out site

Coming Soon!
Erica Ann accessories! These new gorgeous handcrafted pieces for your hair are something to marvel at. Stay tuned for these one-of-a kind stylish pieces that will surely turn heads and have you squawking for more!

Want to sell your products, have some gently-used designer garments you would like to consign, contact me at ChristineS@lethrift.com.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

How the Recession Has Taught Us Some Valuable Lessons

Often, we look at recessions as a time of struggle and loss. In the past two years I have seen depressing and fearful moments, but also surprisingly positive things as a result of this recession. Sure, people are still losing their homes, retirement and jobs. I am one of those in the 10% who lost their job, out of the lack of people who could afford the products I was selling. I am not undermining the fact that our country has dealt with great loss. But, I think this recession has ta
ught a lot of people valuable lessons that hopefully this generation and others can carry away with them throughout life. With appreciating the most important things in life family, friends, health and the opportunity to love.

I have seen families and friends who used to dine out a lot, become healthier and more "green" just by being forced to cook at home and pay more attention to what they eat. They are growing gardens and producing organic vegatables from their yard that a few years ago was lucky enough to keep a few shrubs and a patch a grass alive. I have seen more families and friends having "Blockbuster Nights", "Staycations," and hosting gatherings at their homes all in attempt to save money... but also has resulted in rediscovering or creating relationships on a deeper level and spending more personal time together. In the city I see a trend to visit the great little family BYOB restaurants that can often compete with the more premier restaurants in the city, but offer their cuisine at a fraction of the cost. BYOB? Sure I will bring the wine or beer as long as they keep offering great cuisine.

I think that this recession has made us realize that our family and friends are here for us. If we lose our home, there is a family member who loves us enough to take us in. If we lose our job, there is a friend who can help us find another one. If we have a bad day... then there is our loved ones that we have a shoulder to lean on. It has also taught us to live with less material possessions, but gain far more important things such as nurtured relationships with friends, loved ones and family.

But, as we have become a nation that is thriftier, we are also understanding the importance of each dollar spent. This as a result, has made us more conscious consumers, so that hopefully we do not have to repeat this lesson for a very long time to come.

Either way, it has forced us to realize what is truly the most important in life.

New at LeThrift.com

LeThrift.com is constantly looking for the greatest deals on top name brand and designer items. This week we have so many great new items for sale online. To beat the winter chill, we have a men's wool blend overcoat from Ralph Lauren that has maybe been worn once and is in perfect condition. This overcoat is styled with classic tailoring that any man should have in their wardrobe. Also, we have received new children's items that are a great way to save money, because if you are a mother you already know that what you buy your children will grow out of in less than a year. We also have great new purses and shoes on our accessories page. Check back weekly, because we are always adding new items to our web site! 

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Le Thrift - The Story - www.lethrift.com

The LeThrift Story

Women! How many times have you said, "I have nothing to wear?"

In the past this sad lament might have been more complaint that actuality. In 2009 in the midst of recession many style conscious women face an increasingly difficult challenge of trying to look good without extending beyond their budgets.

Christine Sanderson, co-founder of LeThrift was no exception. She was a single mom who represented some of the best known fashion design names. Her job demanded she had to look chic when she called on her trendy boutique customers. She also had to cloth a rapidly growing daughter. Yet, because Christine is a single mom her budget was stretched to the limit. Some months there wasn't enough to pay the bills, let alone add to her ward robe.

"What's a girl to do," she lamented as she tried to find a solution to her challenge. She turned her background in fashion and design into survival of the chicest. She took her meager pocket book and her eye for fashion and searched thrift stores and consignment shops in order to find in style, but not-so-expensive wardrobe items and accessories.

One day she received a phone call from a friend and business colleague and asked Christine if she could help her out at a $2,000 a ticket charity event. After Christine said yes, she realized she really had NOTHING TO WEAR. She knew from experience that the females at the upscale event would be dressed in the newest, trendiest, clothes. To make a long story short Christine arrived on the scene looking magnificent. She received compliments' on her ensemble. When she was asked where she shopped, she winked and responded by smiling and saying, "Oh I just find these things at some little shops I discovered..."

It was a short time after that event it occurred to Christine that there were countless working women in her situation.

Christine asked herself, "Why not do the shopping for these women and put the items online?" This would this be a great way help women on a budget to look like a million dollars. It also was it was a way to help the environment by purchasing gently used items and make it a lifestyle choice.

The result is the concept behind LeThrift. Christine used her skills as a professional artist, designer and fashion representative to help build an idea that can help make women on a budget still find accessories and apparel for them and their children that make a statement of style.

The idea was tested through professional contacts and friends. All of them thought this was a unique online business. In fact Kim Cameron, co-founder of LeThrift and a friend of Christine's since childhood saw the merit in the concept from first-hand experience.

Prior to 2009 Kim had been riding the wave of economic boom. She had been making a great living working at the Chicago Board of Trade. When the economic boom turned to bust, Kim like many others found that the days of living on Chicago's Gold Coast and shopping the "Mag Mile", were gone. Instead of giving up she figured she could still shop designer and name brands for herself and find wonderful deals for friends and colleagues.

From her own recent experience Kim thought Christine's idea was a winner. She joined Christine and both women believe that the economic downturn has taught many of their peers to put more of a premium on value, while still looking for style. This is accomplished by the dedicated and talented team of buyers who hunt for the very best of designer, name brand and trendy clothing and accessories that are gently-loved, but every bit as wonderful as the merchandise you find in retail stores.

Join the women who are finding a way for them and their families to look great without breaking the bank; shop LeThrift, find values and handy hints on fashion, style, and how to accessorize.

Our online store is designed to provide you with a safe and secure environment to browse our product catalog.

If you would like to consign your goods with LeThrift please contact Christine at christines@lethrift.com and we will send you information on how to consign your items.


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Monday, July 27, 2009

Starting a Business - Starting a Dream

So I am in the stages of buying items for my new site. All together it is a mix of excitement, nervousness, and making sure that I buy desirable items my potential customers will be dying to want to purchase. As I am entering this stage I have plotted out how and where I will find these items. I will have cool brands of sunglasses on my site, primarily Roberto Cavalli and Tom Ford. But, also I will be searching for those designer pieces that would cost a fortune new. As well, because I want to offer fashionable items that are inexpensive so EVERYONE can look great... I will be offering super cute and trendy name brand items as well. I am tenatively going to be launching my site August 15th, and hoping for a huge success. I will also be posting trends and items of the week on this board. I look forward to hearing your feedback!

Happy Thrifting!
Christine Sanderson
Owner of LeThrift.com
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

How I became a thrifter


This is my first attempt at blogging so I am going to ramble a bit. But the truth is I am blogging for a mission. And this mission is to provide fashionable, stylish clothing to anybody on a budget.

I should probably give you a little history to the reasons that led me up to this brilliant epiphany of living a fashionable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Growing up as a kid, I had no sense of style. But, I had this mentality that I had to buy new clothing at a major retailer in order to at least have some fashion sense or at least fit in with other kids. My parents both thought this way, of course there was nothing wrong with it... buying new was something that was permeated into my brain while we blew away thousands of dollars on over trendy and cheaply made new items. As I grew into an adult, of course the same mentality followed me. I never thought about how hard my parents had worked for that money or how much we could of saved if we had been more frugal. Of course I was a kid, although I was buying new, I thought I at least looked cool in the latest Gap V-neck preppy sweater. My childhood friends can attest that I had no fashion sense whatsoever. At least I can laugh at the pictures now.

Then reality hit as a 30 something adult. After being with someone who I had shared household expenses with for nearly a decade, I found myself living on the fast track to "single mother" brokeness. I had no money to shop for myself, any extra money came first for my daughter Zoe. So I would wanefully pass by the pictures windows of gorgeous boutiques in Lincoln Park and promise myself that I would never set foot in them. It would be pure torture!

I had to also give up my business after 6 years because of being the responsible one who had to pay for benefits for my daughter Zoe and I. Finally, I landed a job! But, as I soon found out in my training in Scottsdale, AZ that I would have to look like I just stepped out of the latest fashion magazine.

I would be calling on all the top designer boutiques in my region. After all, representing Mr. Tom Ford is a serious calling for fashionistas and after dismally peering at my disfunctional wardrobe, I figured I had better come up with a quick solution.

So, I found a way to cut corners. I was an artist, I had a creative eye. I started grabbing for all the trendy fashion magazines and picking through the styles I liked. Then I would head to all the consignment and thrift stores in my area to sift through piles of clothes until I finally found the pieces that would closely resemble those gorgeous clothes so carefully handpicked by stylists on the pages of Vogue.

Soon, as I called on my clients, I noticed that I was getting compliments on the clothes I wore. After all, I found some major items, even a Todd's bag that went with everything I have. All it took was a great dry cleaner and a hem or a button replaced here or there.

Then I really started to listen... to the media about this overstayed recession, to others who had lost their jobs, to single mothers and fathers, and also to those who had overbought on their lifestyles and had to pare down to a simpler life. It made me realize there has to be a calling for a great online thrift store that sells great fashionable name brand designer pieces.

I also started to ask people their objections on thrift stores. Most of them did not want to spend the time digging through piles of unwanted, stained and often useless clothing to find that one treasure.

But, what if there was a place that ONLY offered the best of gently-used online? A place where you could rely on great condition, cleaned, sewed and hemmed, pressed and renewed clothing and accessories. Also, a site where you can find close-outs and samples from boutiques? A place where you could count on authentic items and great service?

Yes, that is when the concept of LeThrift.com was born.

So I invite you to the site. I would love to hear your opinions, objections, compliments ( I can always take those). I am starting small, but will grow as I find more items that anyone could not pass up!

Also, check here for weekly posts. I will help you with the latest trends and ideas to navigate through the thrift store plethera of goods. I will also post items of the week that are way to good to ignore!

So shop away! I promise I won't tell it was used. Look like a million dollars and save that money for that dream house or vacation you have always wanted. Or even better yet towards a budding idea or business you always wanted to get off the ground.

See you at my site!

Christine Sanderson
Owner of LeThrift.com
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