Shift to the Thrift

In this post, I will be discussing my love affair with second-hand clothing and listing my four favorite thrift stores in LA (aka charity shops to English folk).

Thrift stores usually carry negative connotations.  They’re often viewed as dingy, dirty places stocked with other people’s rejects.  Why would you want to pay for other people’s refuse?  Many reasons!  It’s not “refuse” for a start.  I would like to encourage everyone to wear or at least try pre-loved clothing.  I look at secondhand clothing as re-purposing or recycling.  It’s a great way to stick to a budget but inject your wardrobe with something different.  Best of all, wearing secondhand clothing prevents clothes with plenty of life left from being dumped into landfills.

I’ve grown up quoting the saying that “one man’s junk, is another man’s treasure.”   Ever since I can remember, my parents would take me to thrift stores, swap meets (we call them boot fairs in England), vintage stores and antique stores.  In fact, one of the many businesses my Grandpa owned was an antique shop.

I haven’t always had a love for secondhand clothing.  At the age of seven, I realised that thrift shopping wasn’t seen as “cool” to my classmates.  I went through a phase of being embarrassed that parts of my wardrobe were second hand.  I remember resenting an aunt of mine for dragging me along as she visited every single charity shop in my hometown of Faversham.  During one memorable trip, I darted from store to store adopting spy like behavior in the hope that none of my classmates would catch me going to a thrift store.  Thankfully, by my teens, I didn’t feel self-conscious about sporting second-hand clothing. In fact, I celebrated finding hidden gems, bagging a bargain and supporting anti-consumerist causes.

Without any further ado, below are my four favourite thrift stores:

Buffalo Exchange

There are a bunch of Buffalo Exchanges across the US and there are three in LA: Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Sherman Oaks.  I haven’t visited the Sherman Oaks store but can attest to the other two.  Both stores have an eclectic mix of high street brands and a pretty good ratio of men to women’s clothing.  Options range from cheap high street brands such as H&M to more expensive pieces by companies like Ted Baker.  If you’re a student, you can get 10% off by providing your ID.

National Council of Jewish Women

I was introduced to the National Council of Jewish Woman by my in-laws.  They sell everything and anything from glassware, jigsaw puzzles to jackets.  This is the kind of the thrift store I grew up visiting.  During my last visit, I picked up some cute vintage style purses for less than $2 each.  They had previously been owned by someone in the “industry”.  I know this because an old contact card was left in the inside pocket.  It was fun playing detective and googling the previous owner. The store isn’t much to look at it.  However, if you can put the look of the place aside, I’m sure you’d find a good jumper to tide you over this mild Autumn to Winter for less than a fiver.

American Rag

I visited LA once before moving and I fell in love with American Rag.  American Rag sells new and used clothing. The hat I am wearing in the shots accompanying this post is from their vintage section.  There are two stores, one in La Brea and one in Newport beach.  So far I have only been to their La Brea store where I found their used clothing to have a very carefully curated feel to it.  They offer men’s and woman’s clothing and it was actually on a guy’s recommendation that I visited that first time.


Wasteland is a different breed of thrift.  Their store front is very pretty and you can tell they’ve spent a lot of time planning their look and feel.  Their stock consists of new clothing alongside racks of gently worn pieces.   Choices range from last season’s Wildfox jumpers to brand new silky Equipment dresses. Wasteland has stores in Santa Monica and Studio City but their best is the one in Hollywood.  Their pricing is at the higher end of second-hand clothing but I think that’s to be expected if you’re buying a pair of Louboutin’s or a Vivienne Westwood dress.

Wasteland offers a service where you can take your own pre-loved clothing and they will sell it for a commission fee.  In London, I found a great store where I’d buy second-hand clothing.  Quite often when I’d finished with a piece, I’d take it back to the same store to sell it.  I liked the idea of multiple people enjoying the same beautiful garment and I’ll admit it was handy building up credit to spend instore, which you can also do at Wasteland.







Dress & Necklace:  UK thrift stores

Hat:  American Rag

Shoes:  Vegan by Melissa

Photography:  Frances Von Wong

Jessica xoxo



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  1. Hey there beautiful! What a nice and true post indeed! Actually, I am very grateful for online thrift shops because I rarely ever make it to any of the thrift shops in my city (being a business owner, mum and blogger is just somewhat tie consuming :D). I had some bad experiences with online thrift shopping but I had much more good once so I stick to it. However, whenever I have the time to visit my favorite thirft shop I love to look at every single piece in the shop and to find just the perfect piece somewhere in the end of a stack 😀
    Thank you a lot for your last comment on my blog : )
    Sending much love!
    Rosa Larissa Klara
    conscious lifestyle of mine

    1. Hey gorgeous! Thank you so much! I had fun putting it together. I totally agree with you about online thrift stores too. Online shopping is very useful when you don’t have time to nip down to a physical store. That’s a consideration for a future post… I hope you have a lovely week 🙂 xx

    1. Thank you so much Vivienne! It was fun coming up with the outfit and hats are so handy here. I am so pleased you don’t like to waste clothing either. Thank you for the link. I’m excited to have a look at your satin shirt, on my way now… 🙂 Happy Humpday! xx

  2. I dont understand why people dont buy from thrift or charity shops. When I told my friend that I often go in search of nice things in charity shops she said ‘yikes’ and then I took her with me and she was super happy to buy a coat for only 3 quid! Success 🙂

    Your dress looks fabulous, you look adorable!

    1. I don’t either! I think they just need to be introduced to it like you did with your friend. I bet she is a convert now and has been back 🙂 Definitely a success! Aw thank you so much! I’ve had it for yonks but I think it’s still got plenty of life left in it! xx

  3. This is such a fabulous post, Jess! I’ve previously only visited Buffalo Exchange but am going to have to check out your other suggestions as well. Wasteland in particular really intrigues me. Must visit!

  4. I live for a good find
    I was doing that before it ever caught on
    I still do it
    I did it today as a matter of fact
    Got some real great stuff
    Thank you for visiting
    The Sheldon Perspective

    1. Thank you so much for that wonderful ditty! It made me smile and I read it to my husband when he got home. I love that you always respond to things in the blogosphere that way 🙂

    1. Aw thank you! I think I’ve had that dress for ten years! I hope I can make it last another ten. It really does feel like finding gold doesn’t it. When we first moved to LA we went to couple of estate sales and it was so fun! I remember even feeling a bit nervous waiting for the door to open. I would love to meet up! Dinosaurs, Joshua Tree, exploring the US, blogging… Yup, I think we would have plenty to chat about. In the meantime, give my live to Babadook 🙂 xxx

    1. Thank you so much! It’s a shame you don’t have many thrift stores in your neighbourhood but in some ways, I can see it being more exciting when you’re in an area where there are some. There are quite a few good online thrift stores these days too 🙂 xx

    1. Thank you, I hope the tips inspire you and you embrace it one day 🙂 I think you just need to find a special piece and then you’ll be hooked 😉 Thank you, the photographer, Fran is very talented! I hope you have a good week xx

  5. The dress was definitely made for you and not the original owner. Hah! Also, the classic accessories are great. Lastly, Frances is dope.

    I don’t care for thrifing, but affordable sustianable menswear hard to come by, so I’m doing it anyway.

    Crossroads Trading Co. tops my list for fashionable thrifs. Savers is an intense secondhand department store experience. Super low prices, interesting finds.

    1. Why thank you! It was meant to find it’s way to me eventually. Ah yes, I think so and am pleased you agree 🙂 Frances is seriously dope, I am once again thankful to social media for helping our paths cross. Good shout on Crossroads, I totally forgot about a good one near Melrose. To be fair, I didn’t get anything when I was there so was perhaps that is why it didn’t stick in my mind. I’ve seen the name Savers but haven’t actually been in one yet. Thank you for the reminder!

    1. Thank you! 🙂 No I haven’t actually… Everytime I have been near either I have been on my way to something else. Definitely a good shout for next year. Thank you for reminding me!