I can no longer count on one hand how many times people have asked me where I purchase my outfits, especially within the last two years. My look has become what some call “minimalistic.” Oh, and that applies not only to the look, but also to the budget.
The thing is, among my collegiate circle, thrifting isn’t really that common. It’s considered something only appropriate for finding that 90s themed-cocktail or Halloween costume – nothing more, nothing less. But, lo and behold, my outfits are a mix-and-match of pieces from local vintage shops, consignment stores and Goodwills.
This used to embarrass me, because when I started thrifting it was more out of necessity than pleasure. My parents were a tight on money, so my allowances only allowed for so much. I slowly started finding my style in these rugged, abstract, and surprisingly empowering stores. By junior year of college, half of my wardrobe was thrifted, but I was able to find items that fit my look for less than half the price I would on ASOS, Zara, American Apparel, or even H&M.
Successful thrifting isn’t easy. But fear not, Coulture readers, I’ve broken it all down to help you figure out how looking like a fashion blogger is possible with second-hand rags.
FIND SOME INSPO
Instagram (my personal favorite), Tumblr, Pinterest and Polyvore are all amazing sources of inspiration. If you’re into fashion, I’m sure you have at least ONE of these accounts. Start following other accounts by fashion bloggers where you are able to follow/save/pin/repost looks that you want to try. Maybe even divide them into categories such as “going to class,” “GNO,” “date night” or “coffee shop chilling” to help you navigate through the different looks you’re going to be browsing in those never-ending racks!
Some Insta accounts to check out:
Man Repeller @manrepeller (duh)
Reese Blustein @double3xposure
Virginia Calderon @_chicadeoro
WRITE DOWN A LIST OF THINGS YOU WANT/NEED
I love turtlenecks, yo. I’m addicted to them. I’m always looking forward to fall and winter because I get to exploit their versatile and chic simplicity. So, turtlenecks are always among my list of things I need (read: want). Consider the same categories mentioned above regarding the occasion, the weather, or how YOU are feeling (very important).
DO YOUR RESEARCH
By this I mean that you must do a little research on the demographic$ of your hometown. It is very likely that the nicest items you’ll find will be hand-me-downs from the neighborhoods where kids are (able to afford) being sent to boarding or private school – AKA rich people. You’ll get a great deal on lightly-worn garments from high-end stores that your college-budget self wouldn’t even fathom unless your parents were feeling generous.
Good things take time. Don’t intend to walk into a thrift/consignment store expecting to be handed everything you want on a silver platter as soon as you step foot in the place. You have to go through things slowly and carefully. I’ve gotten my best finds when I’ve given myself at least one to two hours to go through each “category” of things I’m looking for.
That being said, don’t set your expectations too high, either. Some days/weeks are better than others, and remember that thrift stores and consignment stores are based on what people bring over to the stores to sell, and that’s not always going to be great. A lot of it depends on the season, too!
DON’T BUY IMPULSIVELY
Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you have to buy it. I’ve fallen (too many times) into buying things because they sport a high-end tag on the inside, and then end up having the thing lingering in my closet for years (Yes. You read that right: Years.) Actually try it on and make sure you’re going to wear it. Otherwise you, person reading this article, could begin to fall into a thrifting disease called h o a r d i n g.
I’m genuinely interested in knowing what your experiences with thrifting are and what tips you may have to a successful thrifting experience, so write me at firstname.lastname@example.org!