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how to pop serious tags (with less than $20 in your pocket) |

how to pop serious tags (with less than $20 in your pocket)

So. There’s a new thrift store anthem being sung. And chances are, if you’re a second hand tag popper, you’ve heard it. (And while it’s an awesome song, it also says the *F*word a whole lot of of time (and I’m not talkin’ about fart). Also, I don’t swear (out loud). So, you’ve been warned…)

But the song, it’s my culture, my people. I identify completely. Yes, I’ll totally take your grandma’s style and make it my own.


I’m a tag popper. Always have been, probably always will be. Always looking for the next come up.

A few of my most recent popped tags (in detail):

Morning thrift haul: vintage burgundy leather boots (that actually fit!) $7. Vintage chevron crochet throw blanket (that matches my living room!) $4.50

Boots: Vintage late 70’s, Old Maine Trotters. They are a bit roomy in the calf (fancy that!), but otherwise fit fantastically. They are a size 9.5, but I typically take a modern day size 8. Paid = $7.

Blanket: Vintage hand crochet chevron throw blanket. Paid : $4.50
Wasn't going to stop, but decided to give myself 10 minutes. Found: beautiful wool blanket ($4) and authentic Gucci leather belt circa 1985 ($5) #thrifting

Belt: Gucci circa 1980’s. It’s too small (by a whole lot), so I’ll be selling it on Junky Brilliance sometime soon. Paid: $5.

Blanket: Beautiful vintage circa 1960’s wool throw. Tag: Troy Robe. Paid: $4.

Date night! Only 4 different thrifted decades represented in this mish-mash of an ensemble.

I wore this little number on my monthly “date night” out with Michael this past weekend. Nothing spectacular, but it worked nonetheless.

Coat: Vintage LS Ayres (wrote about it over 2 years ago). Also worth noting, it’s still my most expensive thrift store purchase at $18.

Dress: Well, let’s just say momma might have paid a shameful retail price for it, m’kay.

Tights: Anthropologie. But wait, it’s not what you think. I snagged them on DOUBLE DOUBLE TRIPLE DOUBLE CLEARANCE. And while anthro is typically a suckas market, they’re clearance room is where it’s at. Got these bad boys for maybe $9. And they last forever (pending any cat debacle or anything)…

Boots: FREE! I attend a friendly clothing swap once a year. We all bring our wardrobe castoffs, and we trade.  Hors Devours are nom’ed on, wine is typically consumed. Always a good time, and I always come home with a few really fantastic treasures…

5 tips and tricks I “pop tags” by:

1. Carry a smart phone. If I ever wonder if I’m finding something rare or valuable, I whip out my cell phone to find out for sure. I have ebay, etsy (vintage), and amazon as quick go-to reference apps. When in doubt, I do a quick label search to see if the item I’ve found is worth anything substantial. Typically, I only buy things I’m going to keep for myself. But occasionally will buy things for either resale or for friends (see tip #4).

2. Understand vintage sizing. I wear a modern day size 8 boot. But when it comes to vintage? I take around a  size 9.5. Also, I wear a modern day dress size 8, but typically fit into a size 12 when it comes to vintage. Have you ever heard of “vanity sizing“? Well, it’s alive and well. Do not get discouraged by it! Vintage garments that fit you today are always going to be a few sizes larger. Don’t let this discourage you, just go into the shopping hunt armed with this knowledge. Throw sizing out the window and try everything on… YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER ON THE TAG.

3. Thrift karma is real. Thrifting karma is alive and well. If I stumble upon an item that isn’t right for me, but perfect for a friend, I’ll buy it for them and either gift it to them or sell it to them for the price I paid for it. A $5 pair of frye boots in your size and not mine? Sure! Happy birthday to you, glad we’re friends. I’ve learned what my friends love and collect, and the sizes they need. I completely believe that this keeps me in favor with the re-sale Gods. (kidding, but not really, don’t cross me.)

4. Take a gamble. While I 100% live by the rule of “not buying anything I don’t need or completely love”, I do think there is value in taking a gamble while thrifting. Because when it comes to spending a few bucks on something potentially, spectacular, it’s often times worth the money. I often buy things that I’m not completely sure will meld into my current wardrobe, because at the very worst, I just re-thrift or resell the item. And I often find a friend to gift it to (see #3).

5. Go where no woman has gone before. What I mean by this is, don’t discount a second hand store because the storefront isn’t appealing, or not in the “right” neighborhood. I guarantee you my best finds have been in second hand stores most of my friends would never step into. Get over your pride, pump a few squirts of sanitizer in the palm of your hand, and go for it. Worst case scenario, you leave empty handed. This being said, I mostly avoid the highly trafficked Goodwill (excluding the outlets) because they are too expensive (and now you know my price point) and too picked over.

So there you have it, a few of my best kept tag popping secrets. What have you found lately?Let’s swap thrifting stories!





  1. Great post.

    Today I found new beaters for my hand mixer for $0.30. And a Leap Frog “My Own Story Time Pad” for $2.82.

    I went in looking for bday presents for Adam. Oops.
    Katie recently posted..Disney World : Animal Kingdom : Day 5


  2. Great minds think alike! I’ve got a thrifting post in the works, too. I’ve been SUPER lucky lately – the Thrifting Gods are shining luck down upon me!
    Jessica recently posted..My Favorite Beers {Updated}


  3. Yea!! I moved to Indy & started reading your blog around the time you posted about that beautiful coat. I asked you where you thrift, and since you kindly told me about Value World I’ve been a big fan ever since! So many great finds there. Keep on popping those tags…aw yeah, you got the velcros!


  4. Which are the “highly trafficked?” I feel like the ones nearest me (Nora/Glendale) are just not worth my time.


  5. You always find great stuff! I miss thrifting near a bigger city. This small-ish city doesn’t have that much to offer. And great tip #1, I had not thought of that!
    Elaine recently posted..Pitter Patter


  6. I hardly ever thrift, but popped in my local Goodwill the other day to buy glass vases for an art project. I happened to walk by the shoe rack and a pair of Danskos jumped out at me. Of course I thought of you. 🙂 They were surely at lease $100 new, got ’em for $2.29. They look like they’ve hardly been worn. I also scored a cute white and orange dress. I’m fully believing orange is gonna be the “it” color this spring/summer.


  7. You are the master.

    And I thought that belt was a bracelet, so clearly it wouldn’t fit me either.
    Zakary recently posted..Around Here


  8. I was just going to ask where you like to thrift shop in Indy, value world? I’ll have to look it up. Is that the place in fountain square? I haven’t really got into vintage clothes, yet. I recently bought some nice old pottery while in Michigan in Ann Arbor at this place called the treasure mart. It’s right by Zingermans. I promptly broke one of the pottery dishes before we made it back to Indiana. Grr.
    As far as second hand in Indy I like this shop on 96th and 69, called simply chic. I just found Toms in my size, sparkly, for $25. Now… Where are the $5 frye boots? 🙂
    Jessica recently posted..48 questions, silly but fun


  9. I just stumbled upon your weblog and it is very nice reading. Keep it up.


  10. It’s handy to have a sideboard and some storage to keep little knick-knacks.
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  1. […] it Up. I default to the wisdom of Lady Emily of DesignHER Momma on this one. Read  how to pop serious tags (with less than $20 in your pocket) and So you wanna be a better thrift shopper? Heed my advice. for some of her best tips. Indy has […]

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