Before moving to New York, I had this glamorous idea of what it would be like to live in the city. The streets would glitter to match my heels and if all else failed I could quit my day job, become a writer like Carrie Bradshaw, and spend my disposable income on Manolos and Jimmy Choos. Simple enough right? WRONG. Oh, so very wrong. I will never forget the first time I stepped through the door of my very first apartment on the Upper East Side (At least I had that in common with Carrie!). I gasped in horror as I scanned the entire layout under five seconds. My bedroom was a closet. I would have to use my oven as a drawer, I thought to myself. (At least another similarity to Ms. Bradshaw.)

From that day forward to much of my disappointment, my glitzy concrete jungle dream began to unravel. Not to mention my very limited student budget and close relationship to student loans gave zero leeway for shopping sprees. Yet the fire in my heart for all things fashion continued to grow and window shopping at Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman began to feed inspiration in me that was far more valuable than shopping bags full of goodies. The city itself also mesmerized me;  the street style of bold New Yorkers, elegant lines of sky high buildings, and an energy that never slept fueled my love for the art of dress. Since Fifth Avenue couldn't agree with my slim pocketbook, I ventured into the lower East Side to explore a less expensive option. I was strolling down 7th street and Avenue A when I noticed a quaint shop reading "AuH2O". And thus began my seven year love affair with the fashion fun-land of thrift shops.

I fondly remember eagerly waiting for the last tick on the clock in class so that I would finally be released to go "thrifting". Thrifting in my definition is "to find treasure through adventure." I had found a little nook in the East Village where tiny thrift shops were scattered. It became the highlight of my week to rummage through all the unwanted clothing and jewelry, very well knowing that there were hidden gems lying somewhere beneath the rubble. I was no longer merely a shopper. I was an explorer chasing the diamond in the rough! I also began noticing trends in the different neighborhoods per the demographic. For example, in the Upper East Side, I spotted more high luxury, coveted goods like a Celine luggage tote. In the West Village, I scored tons of unique and edgy finds like the  bright red fringe jacket in this post! 

Below are my top five favorite go-to thrift shops in NYC (for most of these, $50 goes a long way!):

AuH2O (Has a $10 and under rack!)

No Relation Vintage

Cure Thrift Shop

Vintage Thrift

Housing Works


The bottom line is: Never allow designer brands or the size of your wallet dictate the fun you have with style. Fashion goes so much deeper than what someone tells you to wear because for whatever reason they decided it was "in" or a must-have item or trend. I challenge you to shift that mass consumerist way of thinking. Take the current idea of what is "in" and make it about expressing what is IN YOURSELF by whatever means are available to you. God created a unique blueprint within you to share with the world! Remember, you have an irreplaceable role in an epic journey and fashion is one way to express yourself! Join me then in not only thinking outside of the box, but maybe taking the box itself and creating a hat just because it's fun, budget friendly, and downright fabulous! So sorry Carrie Bradshaw, I love you but no, high heels are not functional for running and catching cabs and yes, my shoes are just as exceptional as your Manolos and yes, yes, YES, they were under $10!!!


Xoxo, Diwa Doll


Photography: Mirna Plakalovic Photography