I truly started “thrifting” in NYC where there were tons of thrift and consignment stores, especially high-end ones where I could score some stunning designer clothing. My best purchase remains to be a brand new Burberry dress, although the price tag was still pretty steep on it. My mom and I also picked up two stunning silk dresses on my final day in NYC before moving.

But thrifting was never just about clothing for me. I’m a huge book nerd and am obsessed with reading. Always have been and always will be! I don’t blink an eye spending money on books and love seeing my collection grow. But this habit gets pricey, which is why I love stopping into Goodwill every month or so to scope out and snag books.

Nothing beats practically new books at $0.99 for paperback and $1.99 for hardcover! I thought I cleaned out the shelves recently, but I managed to find these three books on my latest trip:

Be still my book-loving heart.

Now let’s get back to clothes. The only time I purchased clothing from Goodwill was when I bought a pair of sweatpants I intended to use as throwaway clothing for the NYC Marathon. And then I ended up keeping them because I liked them too much… But this time I decided to explore the women’s section and found two gorgeous vests in perfect condition! I’m a sucker for vests and couldn’t resist.

This faux leather French Connection vest was only $9.99 – a true bargain! It’s going to look great over dresses and t-shirts this summer.

I fell in love with this Eddie Bauer vest almost immediately and didn’t hesitate spending $5.99 on it. It’s in perfect condition (looks to be never worn) and is 100% wool. Love love love

My next mission is to scope out the thrift/consignment stores in the city (the one I went to was in the suburbs). There was actually a Second Time Around right near my current apartment, which is the store where I bought my fancy dresses in NYC, but apparently it just closed 🙁

Who else enjoys thrift shopping? What’s the best thing you’ve scored?

♥ Irina

Red has always been my confidence color. It’s passionate, sexy, mysterious, and bold. It’s delicious. Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve been on the hunt for a red dress for years? Honestly though, it’s been a half-a$$ed hunt that I occasionally forget about, but I can never find a red dress when I actually want / need to wear one.

P.S. – don’t judge my silly photos please! Not only am I a horrible photographer (and can’t use my self-timer properly), but I can’t seem to properly edit these photos to showcase the beautiful red color. I did my best because I really want you all to fall in love with this dress like I have!

red dress

Of course I end up stumbling across *the perfect* red dress when I’m not searching for one. Of course. I’m not complaining though, because this sexy red lace number is now forever mine mine mine!

red dress

The uncovered lace cutouts on the sides of the dress add a subtle yet sassy touch to this classic number. I’m a firm believer in owning a little red dress to accompany that versatile little black dress hanging in your closet.

red dress

This dress is perfection. It’s an appropriate length, hugs my curves nicely without being overly tight, and shows just enough skin and cleavage to make it sexy yet sophisticated. I feel like I can conquer the world in this dress. Talk about a boost of confidence!

red dress

I’m very picky when it comes to the quality of my clothing, and scrutinize the sewing / stitching on every article of clothing I purchase. I can attest that this dress is incredibly well-made and worth every penny.

red dress

For reference, the dress appears to be true to size! I ended up purchasing a size 2 and it fits perfectly – tight on the bust and just loose enough around the bum & thighs to be comfortable without being overly tight.

red dress

♥ Irina

I am far from a fashion blogger (lol) and don’t intend to be, but I love fashion and would really enjoy sharing my personal style and shopping favorites with you all! Oh and pardon the not-so-pretty photos, a self-timer can only be so successful…

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I need to preface this post by explaining that thrifting in New York City is nothing like your expected I-got-this-dress-for-$3 experience… While there are those sorts of thrift stores scattered throughout the city, many of the consignment stores sell clothing at prices many of us still can’t comfortably afford. These “high-end” thrift stores are pretty epic – vintage Chanel purses, barely worn Louboutins, pristine clothing by brands you’ve only seen in magazines, the list is endless. But beware of price shock…many pieces will set you back triple digits, even though they’ve been worn!

Burberry

I rarely go thrift shopping for this reason. The last and only time I purchased something from one of these stores was when I snagged a new (i.e. still with tags) sparkly dress for New Year’s Eve almost two years ago. So when I dropped into Second Time Around and came across a stunning Burberry dress at 70% off from the thirfted price of $299 (retail price shows at $800!), I almost purchased it but decided to wait for my mom’s arrival in order to first show it to her before purchasing it (no returns allowed).

Burberry

The first time I tried the dress on for my mom, we both couldn’t decide if it was a keeper. Again, I walked out of the store dress-less and filled with a sense of unease.

Burberry

We returned two days later, and this time I walked out with the dress in my possession. $90 is pricey, but for a stunning high-quality Burberry dress in near-pristine condition (there was a tiny tear under the armpit that is now perfectly mended), it was a steal in my opinion!

Burberry

I love love love the dress and can’t wait to wear it through fall! It’s definitely coming with me to India and Europe too. Cheers to successful thrifting!

♥ Irina

Today is my first day of the fall semester! I actually started school this past summer, but this is the real deal. My schedule is jam-packed with what I consider my “serious” core courses – organic chemistry, biology, organic chemistry lab, and biology lab. Yikes.

I actually didn’t dress too poorly in my undergrad years, but I didn’t always put much effort into my appearance. I suspect I’ll act similarly this time around…ultimately all that really matters are my grades. But that doesn’t mean I’ll completely ignore my overall well-being! I’m older and wiser now, and dressing the part of a mature woman will help keep me sane this semester. Plus, when I look good, I feel good!

I’ve showcased some of my must-have items below, and they’re almost all tried-and-true because I actually own them!

Back to School (adult edition)

Dresses: long black dress | short-sleeve sweater dress

Make-up: Chanel eyeliner | YSL lipgloss | Tarte mascara

Jeans: skinny jeans

Sneakers: Converse

Tops: T-shirt | button-down

Coat: field jacket

Backpack: Everlane backpack

Glasses: Lulu Guinness frames

Snacks: Quest bars

What are your back-to-school must-have items?

♥ Irina