Thrifted items can be paired well with items purchased at retail, but it is always best to do your retail shopping with an eye for sales. This combination features a pair of soft all cotton Bermuda shorts from Covington (thrift: $4.99) with a grosgrain ribbon belt from J. Press (end of summer retail sale last year: $29.00), a piqued all cotton polo shirt from Old Navy with a 2-button placket, capped sleeves and ribbed edging (thrift: $8.00) and a pair of leather Sperry Topsiders (retail sale at Marshall’s: $39.99).
The wine/navy ribbon belt is really sharp against the light blue shorts, and it looks great with khakis – perhaps the most traditional pairing for this belt. I am not anti-retail. I am anti-markup. When a retailer puts something on sale, it’s closer to the actual value of the item. That was true of the ribbon belt, which I got for $10.00 off the regular price. While the store still made a profit, I got a better deal than I would have a week before.
What I like about traditional retailers is that they don’t force you to wear advertising – preferring to keep their labels hidden. You don’t need to announce to the world where you bought an article of clothing. The quality of the piece should speak for itself. J. Press discretely stitches their labels on the inside of their ribbon belts.
Combining thrifted items with smart retail purchases creates huge savings. It would be a challenge for anyone to tell the difference between old and new at first glance. If you put colors and materials together wisely, you can achieve a decidedly understated and seemingly effortless preppy look.
OK, I know you can see a Sperry name on these shoes. I’m busted for an inconsistency. Would I prefer that the name not be there? Certainly. But this pair was on sale at $40.00 off regular retail at Marshall’s. I couldn’t pass up the sale. Actually, Marshall’s has become one of my favorite places to buy shoes. You can find the classics at ridiculously low prices – at 50% to 60% off retail, sometimes more. In the past year, I’ve bought Clark’s Desert Boots, black leather cap toe dress shoes and dirty bucks with crepe red soles from Cole Haan and the Sperry Topsiders above.