Fall Fashion: Brooklyn Thrift Store Adventures

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means fall is finally in full effect here in New York. Even though I’m originally from Ohio, and have endured my fair share of polar vortexes, snow days and icy weather, it’s been a hot second since last updating my fall or winter wardrobes. Despite studying abroad in Berlin last fall, the weather was incredibly forgiving and usually hovered around a manageable 15-20 degrees (or -9 degrees Celsius for the rest of the world). As the weather starts to dip below freezing, and more coworkers poke cheery water cooler jokes about preparing for a New York winter, I suddenly found myself with an an added challenge. How does fall fashion stay young and professional?

To help me answer this question, I turned to the most stylish friend I could think of. As someone who has spent previous winters comfortably in leggings and oversize sweaters, I knew I needed some help with my fall fashion wardrobe, and Christianne would be the person for the job. Christianne is the type of girl who is effortless and beautifully put together, yet humbly responds, oh, this old thing, whenever you compliment her. We first met in an eighteenth century art history class back in college and recently reconnected when she moved to start her graduate program. She has quickly become my go-to person to share my love of honey butter biscuits at Pies and Thighs.

In addition to some wonderful fall fashion finds at Loft, I knew that I couldn’t source an entire wardrobe from one place (and stay on budget), so I decided to try my hand at thrifting. I’ll be honest - the thought of thrifting usually makes me incredibly anxious. It can be so overwhelming rummaging through so many options. Then there’s the fear of potentially missing a good deal if you’re not careful.

Pro-tip for the anxious and budget conscious shopper: bring a friend!

Pro-tip for the anxious and budget conscious shopper: bring a friend!

We started in Williamsburg, as all good Brooklyn thrifting adventures do. Obviously, I was wearing something comfy and Christianne was rocking culottes (which I’m still slightly terrified of but want to try...one day).

Our first stop was Monk Vintage, due to its promise to deliver low-cost, certified “vintage” clothing. It was also directly next door from Buffalo Exchange, so taking a quick peek wouldn’t hurt. One of the things I enjoyed about Monk was its tastefully tacky décor, filled with spinning glittering disco balls, oddities spilling out of luggage, and the required assortment of random pins, stickers and magnets that seem to make their way to stores like this.

However, the décor was the only thing I really enjoyed. This doesn’t really help if you’re scouting a new outfit. One of the things I hate about my previous experiences with thrifting are stores that try to pass off cheaper brands - especially, H&M and Forever 21 - as the type of clothing that demands close to retail value. If it’s in a consignment shop for $12, I might as well go directly to the store and pay the extra five-dollar difference.

With Monk Vintage turning out to be a dud, we quickly headed next door to Buffalo. I’ve always had good luck finding clothes at the local Buffalo Exchange back in Dallas, and was very pleased with what I was able to find within my budget. The biggest find of the day was the unworn Sam Edelman boots, which I styled in my Anne of Green Gables fall fashion post earlier this month. I also tried on a few dresses, some of which Christianne gushed over because of their relatively low price, but were well out of my comfort range. Remember here, I have a slight fear of culottes.

Kayla Fall Fashion Lace

Two hours and several montage worthy wardrobe fashion shows, we were left with heavy bags and empty stomachs. Luckily a good biscuit wasn’t that far away at Beehive Oven. After an agonizing start to the day, I was a little less scared of thrifting.

Christianne and I parted ways shortly after brunch, but that didn’t mean the fall fashion adventure had to stop. On my way back home, I stopped by a sidewalk sale Arbor Vitae had near their Bedford location. Disorganized racks are usually the number one cause of my anxiety when thrift store shopping, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up, because I ended up finding some decent items.

Kayla Zara Fall Fashion

My favorite outfit that I created from that trip was a skirt and blouse combo, because where would I be in life without a dependable pair of tights and a cute skirt or dress?

I’m not sure where the top is originally from, since the tag was cut out, but at only three dollars, I’m not sure I entirely care! As with my last fall wardrobe recap, one of the things I love to incorporate into my outfits are small details in collars and sleeves. This shirt, with its flower and lace collar that is also on the sleeves, seemed to check all the right boxes.

I paired the shirt with a find from Beacon’s Closet, my new favorite thrift store that acknowledges the stress that is sorting through racks and carefully organizes everything - down to visually pleasing color-coded racks!

Kayla Fort Greene Fall Fashion

This skirt was carefully located in the burgundy section. If you know me and my other infamous skirt featured on one too many profile pictures, red wine is one of my favorite colors to wear. Originally from Zara, this skirt is the perfect just-at-the-knee length for me to wear at my business casual workplace.

Somewhat ironically, neither of these pieces ended up coming out of my trip thrifting with Christianne. However, if I learned anything from that trip, it’s that I may have a better sense of style than I give myself credit for.

As I start to become more confident in how I present myself professionally, it’s been nice to also see that transition in my wardrobe as well. While I’m still not entirely prepared for the colder months to come, spending the day with a trusty pal also helped orient me to some notable designers and brands. I still may not be as stylish as Christianne, but maybe I’ll get there one of these days.

Kayla Fall Fashion Brooklyn