I think some people see the racks of pilling sweaters at the thrift store and turn away before finding that perfectly handknit Scottish number. Or laugh at the peplum dress with the ruffled sleeves, not seeing that a simple surgical removal of sleeves could result in a dress that would make all of Asos jealous.
I veer more towards the other way. It's been mentioned before but I see too much potential. I think anything can look great with a belt, a hem or a great pair of strappy heels. I have this almost unflappable confidence that I can make anything work. It's a good attitude that leads to a lot of fun in the thrift store but it also results in overwhelming bags of stuff filled with pieces that I don't want in my closet for the long haul. I do my best to curb my enthusiasm with a healthy dose of reason these days.
Last week I found this blazer and tank set for $10. Paired together it looks exactly like something out of the Sears catalogue in 1994. I gave it a second look because I really liked the floral print and because... it was silk. Yes, silk always makes me look twice. The blazer was a little large but volume can work as long as it it balanced with something for fitted. I did end up replacing the original, magnificently huge shoulder pads and putting a more demure set in. My nephew still made fun of me for those. Quite frankly I was surprised he could speak, considering the tightness of his jeans...:)
The tank is a pretty and easy piece that will undoubtedly get a lot of wear this summer. It's cute, a step up from a worn in tank (though I love those too) and because the silk isn't delicate and the tank isn't detailed, I would feel totally comfortable throwing it in a gentle cycle in the washing machine.
Skirt? Thrifted Boots? Aldo (on super sale now... comfy and cute!)
To spot potential you have to be able to take a garment out of its original state and imagine it in 2013, working for you. A good print, good construction and good fabric go a long way in helping potential become realized. In this case I had to separate the tank and the jacket to take the set out of the 90's and into my working wardrobe...