Thrifty Tuesday: Dallas

Dallas is chock full of truly awesome vintage and thrift stores. However, there is an important distinction between the two:

  • Thrift–Your typical dingy stores where you have to dig a bit to find the good stuff. Prices on clothing will be lower because items are donated and their quality and condition are not tediously inspected.
  • Vintage–Vintage stores are more curated than thrift stores. Items are usually not donated, but rather purchased by the store to be resold. Therefore, prices will be higher. Many vintage shops will even repair and alter clothing.

If you don’t know the difference (or sometimes even if you do), vintage stores can give you sticker shock. But when looking for jewelry, vintage stores can actually be a better bet. Thrift stores tend to hike up jewelry prices, especially if their selection is limited. Most of my favorite and least expensive pieces were from vintage stores. They are more likely to sell “by the bag,” and also more likely to carry trinkets and interesting knick knacks.

On Saturday, I took to the streets of Dallas and visited my favorite of both. Here are the highlights:

First up, I went to Genesis Benefit Thrift Store. If you live in the DFW area and haven’t been there, go. You can find quality suits, like-new designer (actual designer, not just “designer by thrift standards”) wear and jeans that haven’t faded yet. The prices are fantastic as well. I bought three belts–one Ann Taylor, one Express and one vintage–for $1 each. As for jewelry, the prices weren’t so great. A simple tiered chain necklace was marked to $20, and when I questioned the price, the lowest negotiation got me to $12. Most places won’t negotiate though, so I will give them that.

Another of my favorites is Dolly Python. I am completely, hopelessly obsessed with this place. Upon entering, it seems like a crazy, unorganized mess. Look a little closer though, and it starts to make sense. The clothes are wacky and unique, and when you find something that fits it’s magic. This is also my go-to place for bags of jewelry and vintage buttons. This is a vintage store–not a thrift store–so prices will be higher.

Finally, I ventured into a new place. The side of Lula B’s Antique Mall in Deep Ellum labels it as having “cool stuff and cool people.” I would agree. With two floors of clothes, antiques, jewelry, records, rusty collectible beer cans, and pretty much anything else you could imagine, I was hooked. And this is what I dug up:

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Total cost: $3.

More to come soon–happy thrifting!

Copycatting

I firmly believe it’s okay to copy other people’s jewelry. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, am I right? Let me clarify by adding that I believe it is okay to copy if you do not plan to sell. It is one thing to practice jewelry making by copying pieces you like, it is another to make money off someone else’s designs.

When I first started playing with jewelry, I wanted to make things, bend things, create things. But everything I came up with, I didn’t want to wear. It was just a little… messy. So I started copying jewelry from blogs or Urban Outfitters or Instagram pictures. This made me really think about the final product before I began and analyze how I would have designed it differently. Now I waste less materials (mess-ups can be costly), and I actually wear what I make.

What type of jewelry do you buy?

Start there. If you always buy statement necklaces with colored beads, try finding one you like and copying it. You will be more likely to finish it and it won’t collect dust hanging in your closet.

Move on.

Spend some time copying, but follow your own impulses and ideas as well. I have recently become a fan of mood boards. I tend to be a little all over the place, and they help me focus to one idea. I look through magazines and tear out pictures of jewelry I like, current trends and things that have a retro or bohemian vibe. Sometimes it can be a font, color, pattern or photo that sparks an idea–throw those in there too. You can also make them digitally, but I like tangible ones that I can hang in my closet or above my desk.

I also use Evernote and drop in photos or blog posts that I stumble across.

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DIY Button studs

This will be just about the easiest DIY you will ever do, and will take all of five minutes. For my supplies, I used buttons from a bag I bought at a vintage store. I have also used this method to make clip-on earrings into studs. I find clip-ons to be just about the most uncomfortable accessories ever. How did people ever wear clip-ons anyway?  

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Supplies:

Instructions:

Using your handy-dandy wire cutters, clip off the button shanks and try to get the back as flat as possible.

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Put a dot of glue in the center of the back of the button and press on an earring back. Pick of any excess glue.

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Done! See, wasn’t that easy?

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Scouring for supplies at thrift stores

Today let’s go on adventure. Not skydiving, no road trip, just a jaunt to the thrift store. As a college student and jewelry maker, the thrift store is my friend and should be yours, too. Say it with me, “The thrift store is my friend.” Walk up to that clear display case with confidence and look critically at its contents. There will be a lot of plain old junk. But if you’re lucky, you’ll find some usable chain, interesting pendants or beads you can reuse. Try not to judge pieces by what they look like now. The point is to rip them apart, after all. Some of my favorite pieces I’ve made have been crafted from old, tacky jewelry.

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This is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever made, and I created it out of an old charm bracelet.

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These earrings are also entirely made from jewelry I found at the thrift store.

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I love old buttons. Mainly because they make for a super easy afternoon project. I have about a million pairs of stud earrings that I made from vintage buttons.

You can save a lot of money finding supplies at the thrift store. And when I say a lot, I mean it. Most vintage or thrift stores sell old jewelry in bags, sometimes for as little as $1. There is literally nothing that cheap in the jewelry aisles of craft stores. Plus, thrift stores are fun. You never know what you’re going to find.