A Very Preppy Crush – Karla Reed

12 Dec

Hi, friends!

Today, I am so excited to share an short interview I did with one of my favorite Instagram friends–Karla Reed.   She doesn’t have a blog (but she should! hint hint!), but she uses Instagram to document her daily outfits and thrift store finds.  She also sells gently used and vintage clothes under her account Chic Thrifty!  I regularly use her photos as inspiration when getting dressed in the morning, and nearly 7,000 other people agree with me!

Quality > Brand every time!

I had a hard time narrowing down which of her outfits I loved most, and as result, this is going to be a picture heavy post–but trust me.  So much amazingness.  Besides her sense of style, I love two other things about Karla.  The first is that about 80% of her daily outfits are either thrifted, vintage, or second-hand.  I love the affirmation that a girl doesn’t need to spend thousands of dollars trying to stay in trend.

Print mixing at it’s finest. I love those little dogs so much!

The second thing I really like about Karla is her personality.  She is extremely kind, and I love how she’ll take the time to answer questions and comments on her pictures (and sometimes there are a a lot!) I think accessibility is something I value most in big-time bloggers–the idea that you (their reader) are not just random faces in the crowd, but are worthy of their time.

you guys–she nailed my total blog aesthetic. preppy with a leopard twist. I AM IN LOVE.

Okay, time to get to know Karla!

Tierney:  Hi, Karla!  So, you’re kind of awesome, and I want to know more about you.

Karla:  Hi!  My name is Karla Reed. I am married to my college sweetheart and we have a 7 year old son. We recently packed up and moved to Salt Lake City from downtown Chicago for my husband’s job. We are absolutely loving living out here! I’m currently a stay at home mom but have plans to start a fashion blog by early next year.  (A/N:  YESSSSS!)  I’ve also recently started a resale shop on Instagram called chicthrifty where I sell some of my fun thrift finds.

I think a big reason for your popularity (besides your impeccable style) is that the majority of your clothes are found through shopping at consignment and thrift stores!  What got you interested in thrifting?

I’ve been thrifting for as long as I can remember. My mom has a great sense of style and really taught me how to bargain hunt! I grew up in a small town in Indiana where the closest mall was over 30 mins away and people mostly shopped at Walmart. I remember my mom shopping for us at thrift stores and I loved the feeling of having something no one else had.

I went to college in downtown Chicago and that’s where I was introduced to thrifting for higher end clothing. Big cities are the best for this. But it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I started really dedicating time to my thrifting. I started going 2-3 times a week. That’s when I started building my wardrobe with unique fun pieces that made me feel in control of my own style. I wasn’t controlled by trends that were being sold in stores. I was deciding what trends I liked and I would hunt for my version in my price range. Thrifting gave me freedom.

Karla’s Halloween costume! Obsessed!

I go to my local secondhand store pretty often, but I rarely find treasures like you do.  Where do you find your best stuff?  

So here in Salt Lake there are a ton of thrift stores and consignment shops. It has been so fun to discover and scout out the different spots. I like Goodwill and Savers. They’re very clean and well organized but a little over priced. I try to hit them on their sale days:)

I also like a place called Thrift Town. I’ve had great luck with shoes there. I’ve recently discovered a consignment shop that I love called Consignment Circuit.  It has a great mix of modern and vintage pieces for a reasonable price.

Any tips for sorting the trash from treasure?

Well, I think what has helped me is to be well informed. Know what you like, who you are and what you need. It can be overwhelming to walk in to a store that sells a bunch of random things. You could tend to feel like you are controlled by what they have to offer.

This is where Pinterest has changed everything for me! I use my style boards as inspiration for what I’m looking for to thrift. I get to know name brands and try to figure out what I like about certain looks and pieces. Give yourself a vocabulary when it comes to building your wardrobe. Then when you walk into a thrift store you know what you’re looking for.

Know your brands but also get acquainted with quality fabrics and good workmanship. Then it doesn’t matter what the label says because you can tell it’s wool or cashmere or designer.

I’ve been thrifting for years so I’ve developed an eye. It’s kind of like working out. The more often you go the stronger you become at it. Oh and smart phones are a life saver. You can always look up a brand or how to spot a fake! 😉

We voted on Instagram on our favorite holiday look, and I’m happy to report that I voted for the winning look!

What was your greatest thrifting find?

So believe it or not I haven’t always dressed preppy. I can say I’ve always been drawn to it and always felt like it best represented who I wa,s but I could never afford to actually achieve the look!

…but then I found a Ralph Lauren fitted pink oxford for $.90, and a lightbulb went off. The great thing about thrifting for preppy clothes is that most of the solid preppy brands are made to last a lifetime–or two! 😉  The basics have been around forever and never go out of style.

So to answer you question, that pink RL oxford for sure–I now have over twelve in all different colors!  🙂 Some of my other favorites are my Coach classic station bag and my two vintage Dooney & Bourke crossbodies.  Sorel boots, a vintage fur coat, and my Ralph Lauren quilted shooting jacket.  (A/N:  I’ve scored my fur coats by shopping vintage too! You can’t beat a floor length mink for less than $50!)

If thrifting is one of your superpowers, I think your other would be layering.  Do you have any tips for creating unexpected outfits by mixing and matching prints or fabrics?

I guess the biggest thing when it comes to layering is balance. You never want to have too much of one thing. I like what Jenna Lyons says about it, she says, “I like a sense of luxury mixed with humility. I’m not a huge fan of all one thing.”

I’m all about being practical and comfortable but love the idea of adding glamour to the everyday. Why not wear pearls with a flannel? Or put a blazer over a sweatshirt? Or a skirt with rain boots? I play around a lot in my closet–clearly!  😉

It’s good to think outside the box and try different things but then take a step back and really look at it in the mirror. Even take a picture to see it with different eyes. After a while you just start to know what will work and what won’t. Once again, it’s an exercise:)

What are some of your favorite non-thrift stores?

Let’s see…I like TJMaxx, Marshall’s and Target (who doesn’t?!). But I also don’t think I could live with out Forever 21 and H&M. I like mixing in modern trends with my preppy style and they make it affordable to do so;) I also love a good sale at the Gap, JCrew and Zara. I don’t ever buy things for full price at these stores but find that their sales are AMAZING if you’re willing to wait.

Who are some of your style icons?

People who inspire me are Sarah Vickers (Classy Girls Wear Pearls), Blair Eadie (Atlantic-Pacific), Kate Middleton and Jenna Lyons. I’m also very inspired by classic menswear and prep in the 60’s and 80’s.

What are some of your favorite blog reads?

I don’t read many blogs but the few I follow are Unabashedly Prep, Classy Girls Wear Pearls and Atlantic-Pacific.  (A/N:  Great choices!)

In cultivating a classic, “preppy” wardrobe, what would be some of your must-haves?

Ohhh good question!  🙂 I guess it depends on what season. But for winter I would say every preppy wardrobe needs— A tweed blazer, navy blazer, plaid button down, a few oxford button downs, fair isle sweater, pearls, Hunter rain boots and a pair of riding boots in black or brown (or two tone for the win!).


I like her even more after talking to her.  Make sure you check out Karla’s Instagram to see her daily outfits and thrift finds, and we’ll keep our eyes peeled for her forthcoming fashion blog!


11 Responses to “A Very Preppy Crush – Karla Reed”

  1. Lindsay December 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Karla is one of my favorite Instagrams to follow! Great interview. Now I can’t wait to see her blog!!

    • The Preppy Leopard December 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      I know! I was thrilled to get to talk to her. Her blog will probably be amazing.

  2. Stephanie December 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Love her! Thanks for the great interview, Friend!! 😀

  3. franishh December 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    ok, can i be her? she’s gorgeous. make sure you let us know when she starts her blog!

  4. soanthro December 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    LOVE Karla! Following her on Instagram is one of the best decisions I’ve made lately 🙂 Her style is so classic, but still fun and unique!

    • The Preppy Leopard December 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

      I know! I feel like if her Instagram is that amazing then her blog will be even more terrific.

  5. Girl and Closet (@girlandcloset) December 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    What a fantastic interview… and her outfits are super adorable. I can’t wait to follow her on insta! Thank you for the intro! Yay!!

    • The Preppy Leopard December 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      Thanks so much! She ranks right up there with Sarah Vickers and Blair for me!!

  6. Chic in Academia December 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Loved this post and so fitting too given that I just got back from Salvation Army with the mother of all hauls, inspired by none less than the very Karla Reed! I’ll be sure to post on Instagram soon as well! Thanks for the fun read!

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