10 Designer Thrift Store Shopping Finds

Thrift store shopping is one of my favorite pastimes, and I’m always on the hunt for designer goodies at good prices. In NYC in particular, you can find some truly amazing deals. If you want to dive down the rabbit hole of my early 2010s thrifting finds, you can find them on my Bergdorf Princess blogspot. Since those blog posts, I’ve found a ton of gems I’m eager to share with you! In this post, I’ll feature some recent acquisitions, including items from designers like DiorMoschinoValentinoAlexander McQueenAquazzura, and Yves Saint Laurent.

1. Dior “California Dream” So Real Sunglasses

Retail: $750
Mine for: $55
Buy similar: hereherehere

If you can believe it, all of the Dior sunglasses in this photo are thrifted. The silver mirrored ones were $50, the darker brown ones were $70, and the purple pair was $75. My faves, though, are the studded pink and tortoise “California Dream” sunglasses, which I found for $55. These were a super cool find because I actually got them before they were ever available in stores. They were clearly authentic Dior, with all the little details my other So Real sunglasses have, with only one caveat – they were labeled “not for sale.” I couldn’t find them anywhere online, and now I think they might’ve been either from the runway or a PR sample from the Cruise 2018 collection.

Fast forward a few months into the future, and what do I spy at the Soho Dior boutique? My $50 California Dream sunglasses! ….only about 1,400% more expensive. The sunglasses turn everything pink, giving literal meaning to the phrase “to see through rose-colored glasses.” Luckily, these pairs were all easy enough for me to authenticate because I just compared to my brand new So Reals and also to other pairs of Dior sunnies.


2. Valentino Rockstud blue zip pouch

Estimated Retail: $495
Mine for: $60
Buy similar: hereherehere

I totally wasn’t expecting to pop into a thrift store and spy a bright red Valentino box behind the counter, but when I did, I immediately stopped in my tracks and inquired about what the item was. Valentino is one of my all-time favorite designers, so I’m always excited to find something from the brand, though some of the items are not always to my taste. This blue rockstud zip pouch is bright, fun, and charming – plus, the price was great, and it came with a box and dustbag.  It’s a narrow pouch and I am always nervous about the leather bulging, so when I use it, I tend to store things like cash, cards, papers, and receipts.

3. Aquazzura Sinatra Mink Fur Satin Pink/Nude Sandals

Retail: $850
Mine for: $95
Buy: herehereherehere

I only ever buy shoes at thrift stores if they’re brand new –  and if they’re shoes that give me a “wow” feeling. These Aquazzura satin blush-colored sandals were an absolutely unbelievable find. Not only are they still in stock at stores like Saks and Bergdorfs, which was amazing, but they’re truly a pair of shoes I love – worthy of Carrie Bradshaw.

I can totally picture Carrie overspending on these, proclaiming her delight (“They’re mink!”), somehow stumbling around New York in them and taking a taxi home after a hearty Italian dinner with BFF Stanford Blatch.

The thing is, as much as I love characters like Carrie, I would never (at this point in my life) buy these shoes at their retail price ($850) – I know that designer shoes almost always go on sale, and heels are not something I wear often enough (yet!) to justify such expenditures. At $95 though, these were a complete steal. The condition was absolutely pristine, which is a rarity for such a delicate fabric and color in the thrift store universe. I think I just got lucky and managed to snap them up right after someone sold them to the store. Shoes in delicate fabrics and light colors tend to fare poorly in messy thrift stores, so really, I was doing this pair a selfless favor in taking them home with me. It was a rescue, not a purchase.

4. Moschino Gray Logo Bucket Bag

Retail: $995
Mine for: $125
Buy similar: hereherehere

This gray Moschino bucket bag is probably one of my best thrifted handbag finds ever, second only to my $40 Chanel. I honestly couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled upon this brand new beauty, complete with Nordstrom Rack tags inside. The bag’s original retail was $995, and it was on sale at the Rack for $599 – meanwhile, I found it at a thrift store for $125. Bucket bags have really grown on me in the past few years, and the bold, gold embellishments on this handbag differentiate it from classic bucket bag styles like the famous Mansur Gavriel or the Louis Vuitton Noe.  You can carry the bag as a handbag by the chunky gold chain, or opt to wear it crossbody or on the shoulder. The plush elephant gray leather is the perfect contrast for the shiny gold hardware.


5.  Gianvito Rossi Portofino sandals

Retail: $815
Mine for: $45
Buy similar: herehereherehere

6.  Gianvito Rossi booties

Estimated Retail: $995
Mine for: $80
Buy similar: hereherehere

I love finding shoes at thrift stores that I would otherwise pine after in department stores, and these two amazing pairs of Gianvito Rossi shoes were no exception. Both are classic styles I would opt for even at full price, so I was delighted to find these two (albeit on separate occasions) and snatched them up with no second thought.

The heels are certainly formidably high for me (if you can rock these no sweat, major props to you!). These are great event or “dinner” shoes (aka drive me to dinner and drive me home, pretty please). The Porftofino style is a classic from Gianvito Rossi, so finding it in patent black at a great price was very lucky. The olive satin boots are quite cool-looking; I love how they match my Balenciaga mini city (pictured here) and olive Celine. The heel on the booties is gold, which makes ’em a little extra, but I love it.

7. McQ Alexander McQueen structured blazer (with gold anchor buttons!)

Retail: $795
Mine for: $80
Buy similar: hereherehere

This McQ Marine Dart Peplum jacket is hands-down one of the coolest blazers I own. The gold anchor buttons are my favorite detail, and the incredible sculpted peplum shape makes this garment very unique.  I love anything Alexander McQueen – Lee McQueen is one of my favorite designers of all time, and I will always have the utmost admiration for the brand he built and his work as a designer.  This blazer is the perfect piece to wear with a red lip, skinny jeans, cool booties, and a daring clutch for a bold, edgy look.  I can also totally picture Blair Waldorf wearing this with a skirt and pumps! It would be even more amazing to find a cool garment from Alexander McQueen’s main line at a thrift store, but so far anything I’ve found has been destroyed or overpriced.

“I design clothes because I don’t want women to look all innocent and naïve…I want woman to look stronger…I don’t like women to be taken advantage of…I don’t like men whistling at women in the street. I think they deserve more respect. I like men to keep their distance from women, I like men to be stunned by an entrance. I’ve seen a woman get nearly beaten to death by her husband. I know what misogyny is … I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.”

– Alexander McQueen

8. Alexander McQueen Enamel Skull Bangle Bracelet

Retail: $285
Mine for: $30
Buy similar: hereherehere

9. Alexander McQueen Double Skull Ring

Retail: $225
Mine for: $65
Buy similar: hereherehere

10. Yves Saint Laurent Arty “Dots” Ring

Retail: $250
Mine for: $35
Buy similar: hereherehere

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I love these two types of costume jewelry: Alexander McQueen skull goodies and YSL Arty rings. Back in the day, I used to rock an Alexander McQueen arm party on the daily with my skull bracelets (throwback to this pic!).  I no longer really buy much jewelry from either brand, not because I dislike it, but because I’m just currently interested in collecting cool pieces from Chanel and Dior. Still, I do peruse Alexander McQueen sale pieces now and then, but the prices are quite high. I felt beyond lucky to find this cool silver twin skull ring for $65 and this delicate light pink small skull bangle bracelet for $30 – a great bargain for both pieces! My mom actually loves the bracelet, so it’s now hers. As for this YSL Arty dots ring, at $35, it was the perfect addition to my Arty ring collection. It’s the only dots Arty ring I own, and I still dream of finding an oval Arty at a thrift store someday!

Disclaimer – since I haven’t posted my thrifted finds in a long time, these are all from very random moments in the past couple of years. I am going to make a few more of these thrifting posts with items I’ve picked up over time, so stay tuned! Some of these finds are from a couple of years ago, while others, like the Aquazurra sandals, are from just a few weeks ago.

Thrifting is very slow and usually unlucky, and the rare times I do find a gem, I always document it for my blog. Most days I go thrifting, I don’t walk away buying anything. I find lots of worn and completely destroyed items, as well as items with dubious authenticity. It takes a careful eye and lots of research to discern authentic items from fake ones, and even then, there are superfakes that make this process nigh impossible.

As for where to shop? I shop at a plethora of stores – from Salvation Army stores and Goodwills to Buffalo Exchangeand Beacon’s to consignment stores like INA and A Second Chance. It’s truly just about getting randomly lucky, being in the right place at the right time, and looking thoroughly. You need to have patience, drive, and a keen eye. If you can muster the continuous and often unrewarding effort, some true gems await you!

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Yana is a New York-based self-proclaimed sybarite and gourmand with a passion for fashion, museums, and travel.


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