Three Stylish Mamas Share Their Secondhand Shopping Hacks

Photo: @thehellajam

Sustainability is an ongoing topic here at Fashion Mamas. We’re always looking for new ways to minimize our carbon footprint, from supporting ethical fashion to practicing mindful living inside our homes. Another smart (and fun!) way to do your part is to shop secondhand at thrift shops, flea markets, and beyond. And it just so happens that some of the most stylish mothers in the game are big fans of repurposed fashion, too.

Here, three rad mamas from three FM cities share their unique secondhand shopping stories.


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Jayme Sy, San Francisco


Tell us about your career journey. What do you do and what got you here?

Growing up First Generation American in an upper class area, classism was very real and quite toxic. I remember my parents having to “look the part” by wearing fancier things than we could really afford. As a little girl, I remember going to what I thought were ‘boutiques filled with treasures’, that were actually thrift shops. I was told to never tell anyone where I got my jewelry or clothes from because other people would look down on us for thrifting.

Fast forward 20 years and I have a YouTube channel that karate kicks classism in the face, inspiring and empowering people to piece together thrifted looks, all while bettering the environment.

I was working a 9-5 at a big tech company feeling like my soul was being sucked away, trying to climb this corporate ladder that meant nothing to me. I felt like there was something inside of me that was creative but i didn’t know how to seek it. I had a passion for thrifting, styling them, and then decided to start my youtube channel to fill that creative need.

Two years later, I’m sharing all of my thrifting tips in ‘Thrift Hauls’, ‘Thrift with Me’s’, connecting with strangers who feel the same thrill from shopping second hand.

Name and age of your little one? What are you loving about being a new mama, and what has been a challenge?

Sol Vincent is 6 months! As cheesy as it sounds, being a Mom has given me a whole new purpose. Its given me strength I never knew I had and it has unleashed this deep love I never knew I could give. Sol is currently teething and going through sleep regression… meaning I’m waking up 5x a night right now and by the time 6am arrives, I’m begging him to go back to sleep so i can get a little bit more rest. The moment i open my eyes, he stares at me with his beautiful ‘lil disney princess eyes’ with this look that says, “Good morning Mom, today is gonna be a good day.”, and instantly, I’m motivated to get out of bed and make it a damn good day.

The first 6 months with him on this earth was surprisingly way easier than I had ever imagined. It wasn’t until recently, iI started to feel the sleep deprivation and some signs of postpartum depression. I think the most challenging part of being a mom is constantly putting my family’s needs first without giving myself a break to take time for myself. I found that i naturally want to give him and my husband so much, but i need to remember to focus on self love too. Thats its ok to take some time to re-energize and focus on being present for ME.

Where are your favorite places to shop secondhand in SF?

The Goodwill Boutique in West Portal, San Francisco,  is super clean and has a nice variety of higher end items. I think they get the best donations in the city and the shop itself is so organized. It truly has the boutique experience. I recently swooped a never been used 100% silk top from Reformation and a vintage wool coat for super cheap!

For more curated, vintage clothes, I go to ReLove on Polk street. For affordable little knick knacks, i love scouring through junk at Urban Ore in Berkeley and strolling at the Alameda Flea Market.

Other than the city, my biggest secret is going to the thrift shops in the wealthier suburbs. I’ve found some of my best vintage gems at a hole in the wall Hospice or my all time favorite, Savers in Dublin.

Do you have a shopping strategy? What sections do you go to first and why?

I rarely ever go thrifting to find anything specific. I’ve found my most legendary treasures by keeping an open mind and just “browsing”. I’m usually running errands and if i have 30 minutes to spare, I’ll check  the closest thrift shops and do a quick browse. I start with the home decor because i love the 70’s/80’s decor that most grandmas are getting rid of (floral glassware, vintage tupperware, amber plates).

I then move over to the nightgown section to see if I can repurpose any Mumus into a little sundress action, and then i almost never fail at finding a rad jacket or blazer in the mens section. Right before i head to the register, i check for bold jewelry or broaches. My number one tip is to channel your Marie Kondo and if it sparks any flutter in your heart when you hold it, throw that baby in your cart and then decide right before you hit the register.

What has been your most recent favorite find, and what is your favorite find of all time?

My favorite find of all time has to be this vintage, gold, crushed velvet chair with rattan details. Serendipitously, I found it randomly at a Goodwill in the middle of nowhere. We were living in a 500 sq ft studio at the time with my two cats and pup and to say it was a full house was an understatement. Nonetheless, i knew this chair was a steal and i stuffed it in our studio. A year later, it was the one and only thing i was dead set on putting in Sol’s nursery.

My most recent favorite find is this late 70’s, early 80’s smoked glass and brass coffee table. Ive been looking to add more luxe pieces in our home and it’s the most perfect addition to add a touch of 80’s glam to our sanctuary.

Do you also shop secondhand for your little one? If so, do you have any tips for that?

I love buying second hand or checking out the local consignment shops for Sol. Being a new mom, i’ve found that we go through baby clothes so fast, it makes more sense to thrift it. I like to think I am teaching him early how to better the environment one thrifted piece at a time. Ha!

When thrifting for Sol, I tend to buy pieces that are much larger in size, since often times the pieces have shrunk. I recently found these vintage levis overalls that are going to be so stinking cute for when he can walk and really strut his “lewk”.

What are your secondhand clothing cleaning tips before the first use?

I always wash my thrifted clothes separately first, before combining it with my personal clothes. We have a sanitize option on our washing machine that works wonders. I’ve found that a little white vinegar and water mixture does the trick with almost everything and anything thrifted.

Are you on an epic search for a particular vintage piece? If so, what is it?

We just moved into a new house for the first time as a family and we could not be more pumped to make it our home. I have been searching long and wide for an eclectic brass or acrylic-eque entry table. Realistically, i feel like it is going to be pretty hard to find it thrifting or at a flea market, so i’m going to try my luck on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Sunbeam Vintage and other vintage retailers on Instagram.


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Abigail Wozney, Los Angeles


Why do you shop secondhand?

I remember growing up as a young child we didn’t have a lot of money. My Mom would get payed and she would say, do you wanna eat or do you wanna shop? I always chose shopping. It sounds pretty crazy as a Mom today but she always found a way to feed me. I think we would just share a slice of pizza vs getting my own. We always shopped resale. I didn’t really think much of it, as now I’m sure my kids don’t. It’s where we shop and finding one of a kind pieces is just so much more fun.

Name and age of your little one? What are you loving about being a new mama, and what has been a challenge?

I have two babes. My daughter Kingsley Belle is 5 years old and my son Rook is 2.  I cannot imagine my life without either of them but it’s far from glamorous. I get pretty tired of hearing myself asking them to stop fighting but the moments in which I see the love between the 2 of them makes it all worth while. We just moved to the canyon and they are loving all the horses around us. It gets easier as they get older and I love seeing them bond over their love for animals.

Where are your favorite places to shop secondhand in SF?

You guys, omg! This may freak some of you out but I buy 90% of my clothes from the Goodwill Outlets. Once you are hooked there is no going back. At the outlets you are literally digging through bins. They bring out new bins every so often and people flock to it. It’s a crazy adrenaline rush. But for me the most important part is the impact fashion industry has on the environment. I buy 99% of my clothing, my kids clothing and my home goods second hand. I hope that I can make even a tiny difference in saving our planet. 

Do you have a shopping strategy? What sections do you go to first and why?

My shopping strategy is to always go first thing in the morning. The best stuff gets scooped up really quick. And then I literally just go where I feel the universe pulling me. I have certain stores I usually start in the same place cause I feel like it works for my flow. But if I feel off and I feel the energy somewhere else I pivot. 

What has been your most recent favorite find, and what is your favorite find of all time?

My most recent favorite find is Bobo Chooses sweatshirt I found for my son in the bins. It was so sentimental cause it was right when we moved to the canyon and it just happened to have a horse on it. One of my favorite finds of all time is a super warm black FAUX fur Jordache vintage coat. I almost fainted when I found it there. I have one that’s similar that a bought in a fancy thrift shop for $100. This one probably cost me $1. 

Do you also shop secondhand for your little one? If so, do you have any tips for that?

I do shop second hand for the kids. I shop goodwill and a lot of yard sales. I also sometimes shop Noihsaf_kiddos on Instagram. They have the really good brands. But never think you can’t find those great brands at a thrift store. If you believe it, you will find it! 

What are your secondhand clothing cleaning tips before the first use?

I wash them, lol. I’m the furthest from a germaphobe. I use all natural detergents and cleaners. We don’t use chemicals in our house so I don’t do that with the vintage finds either. I don’t know. I don’t really worry about that. 

Are you on an epic search for a particular vintage piece? If so, what is it?

I’m always in search of the perfect denim. I have lot of jeans. Somedays I find really great ones for me and other times I find the perfect pair but it’s not in my size. Usually I give those to friends or sell them on Poshmark. But it’s that search that makes it so much fun. It’s not like just walking into a regular retail store in which you find a style you love and then they pull out your size. You sometimes have to be patient. But if you really want it you will find it! When I’m over a pair of jeans I repurpose them for my 100% repurposed childrens clothing line Reconditional  Love Brand (coming soon. Stay tuned). Sorry about the shameless plug. Anytime you guys wanna go shopping with me lemme know. It’s always much more fun with a friend. 


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Jackie Gasc, Miami

Tell us about your career journey. What do you do and what got you here?

I studied fashion and photography at Savannah College of Art and Design. I then went on to cover New York Fashion Week for several years while simultaneously working in e-commerce operations for various companies such as VFILES, Birchbox, and Wwake. As a new mom, I now work as a freelance photographer in South Florida.

Name and age of your little one? What are you loving about being a new mama, and what has been a challenge?

Roux is 6 months old and he still isn’t sleeping through the night so it has been an exhausting ride, but there’s also so much to love. My heart melted when he learned how to smile, how to giggle, how to wrap his arms around my neck and how to say “mama.” Watching him grow is such a privilege.

Where are your favorite places to shop secondhand in SF?

Down here, there are a lot of estates donating their wardrobes, so all the cool grandma clothes usually end up at the big boys: Goodwill, World Thrift, and Red, White & Blue. It’s a true treasure hunting experience and the prices are worth the digging.

Do you have a shopping strategy? What sections do you go to first and why?

I always go to shoes first because it’s easy to glance through them and see if anything catches my eye. That’s also where I tend to make the best finds. Swimwear is usually my next go-to. With Miami being Miami, one-pieces can be incorporated into outfits pretty much year round and nothing says statement piece like a vintage leotard. Combing through racks of tops and bottoms can be taxing so I always save those for last.

What has been your most recent favorite find, and what is your favorite find of all time?

My favorite find was a pair of black Acne boots. I couldn’t believe they had made it to the sales floor. Recently, I’m really into this 90’s Hawaiian crop top I found.

Do you also shop secondhand for your little one? If so, do you have any tips for that?

I always stop by the kids section now, and even if I can’t find any good clothing, I usually am able to find a few children’s books. Roux’s library already has hundreds of books in it, and about half of those were thrifted. I also recently discovered Once Upon A Child, which is amazing because they have tons of clothes that still have the tags on. They also do deals like “10 onesies for $10” so it is a great place to hit if you need to stock up.

What are your secondhand clothing cleaning tips before the first use?

If you thrift sneakers, throw them in the washing machine. As long as they aren’t made of suede or leather, they’ll come out looking brand new again (and you won’t have to worry about weird foot stuff). 

Are you on an epic search for a particular vintage piece? If so, what is it?

I always have my eyes peeled for a designer belt!