Where millennials had Limited Too, Hollister, and Aeropostale, Gen Z has a much cooler alternative: secondhand shopping. Instead of stockpiling polo shirts to layer, the younger generation, as they've gotten older, is more selective, sourcing clothing that feels personal, like it's really theirs. Take Vienna Skye, whose sense of fashion reverberates through For You Pages everywhere. The 22-year-old TikToker shot to stardom on the app for her countless DIYs, thrift hauls, and killer outfits — most of which are thrifted or vintage. "I'm looking at my closet right now, and every piece that I'm seeing has been thrifted," Skye, who's also a part-time consultant for Bustle Digital Group, tells me over the phone recently.
Her 75%-vintage closet stems from a love of collecting, or curating a pool of items that feel special because they hold sentimental value. "Each piece is like a memory; it's very nostalgic," she says. "I remember when I got it, who I was with, or an event I wore it to." Skye sees thrifting as a fun hobby. She'll hop over to a shop called Unique in New Jersey and bring friends along with her. She says the smaller shops are where she uncovers her hidden gems; or at least that's what she's found after a life of thrifting with her mother.
"My mom's from England, and in England, they have charity shops and little vintage markets. We would go visit my mom's family, and we would go to those charity shops — that was the beginning," says Skye of her thrifting journey. "I always wanted to have the weirdest clothes."
Skye's mother has influenced a lot more than her love of thrifting. Since her mother was young, she's set aside a variety of her own pieces for Skye, which eventually became a sort of vintage capsule collection for her to grow into. The collection is brimming with classic silhouettes, like a green mini dress, a sleek black dress with a white collar, and more that Skye recently began fitting into. "Sometimes, I forget that they're hers just because I've had them ever since I was younger." she says. Now, Skye's working on doing the same for her future children.
Alongside fashion, Skye's mother helped her develop a small accessory collection, too, namely Pandora Jewelry charms. Now, Skye has partnered with the brand to celebrate 20 years of its famed Moments Charm Bracelet, or the small snake chain bracelet on which many a tween and mom alike would collect small, commemorative charms. It's the same bracelet Skye's mother gifted her when she was just 12 years old.
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Since then, similar to her fashion collection, Skye has collected a variety of charms signifying the important moments in her life: a pointe shoe for her tight-knit competitive dance group, a cupcake for her birthday, or a stack of books for knocking out a hard test. Most recently, Skye got a small frog charm in honor of this full-circle partnership, the frog representing her iconic frog beanie in her TikTok profile photo that her followers have come to know her for.
"The original beanie I made because I just thought it was cute. I took a picture, and I was like, 'Oh, I'm going to set this as my profile picture," and then I never ended up changing it,'" she says. Now, she's developed her own frog collection, and her followers have become so enthralled with this beanie, to the point of wanting it for themselves. "So many people, every day, they'd ask me where I got the frog beanie." Her first piece of merch, a $15 Froggy Necklace depicting her beanie, was the logical next step.
Between getting new merch ready for the holidays and a whole lot of TikTok content, how is Skye possibly able to find so many unique vintage finds of her own? And how can you do the same? "I always say to look in every section ... and dedicate a good amount of time to search," she says. "The good items are not just going to pop out at you." Search long enough, and you'll have a sprawling collection filled with memories, too.