The Golden Lining of a Thrifted Find

Piece Out is a Beauty & Style series where students discuss their favorite wardrobe pieces and the stories behind them.


CAS sophomore Liora Rafailova in a brown button-down shirt with swirling fleur-de-lis imagery and intricate diamond-shaped embroidery. (Photo by Ashley Wu)

By Ashley Wu, Staff Writer

Fashion has the ability to represent the type of person you are, and to express your inner personality or feelings through your outer self. CAS sophomore Liora Rafailova is a firm believer in this idea. In her free time, she carefully peruses the aisles of thrift stores around New York City. 

“When I thrift, I put in my headphones and go through every single item in the store until I find something that clicks with me,” Rafailova said. “Aside from it being fun, I switched from shopping at Forever 21 and H&M because it’s still affordable as a broke student, but you’re not supporting fast fashion which is terrible for the environment and factory workers.”

During one of these excursions at Goodwill in Long Island City, Rafailova found a brown button-down shirt with swirling fleur-de-lis imagery and intricate diamond-shaped embroidery. Interwoven with patterns, the garment’s color is highlighted by subtle strands of golden thread.

The shirt’s design is undeniably complex, and over the years, it has come to reflect Rafailova’s attitude toward her personal growth. Admitting she can be kind of shy, the shirt’s medley of brown, white and bronze alludes to her muted personality. However, she is making an effort to step out of her comfort zone with improv acting and style. She says the shirt has even brought her good luck.

“The first time I wore the shirt, I ended up hanging out with the lead singer of The Walters,” Rafailova said.

Through happy coincidences and personal growth, fashion has come to represent development and unabashed boldness for Rafailova. With her passion for thrifting, she was inspired to start her own small business where she resells particularly intriguing garments to share a bit of her style with other students. 

When asked if she would ever consider selling this shirt, Liora laughs and shakes her head. 

“I would never sell this piece,” she said. “It’s a part of who I am.” 

Email Ashley Wu at [email protected]