Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How To Thrift Your Way To a Better Wardrobe

Sweet flannel, dude.

    There must be a million blogs that feature secondhand fashion exclusively and alas, Let’s Go Thrifting isn’t one of them. I, myself tend to focus on found oddities and vintage kitsch. But that doesn’t mean I have nothing to say on the topic of thrifted fashion. Hardly! 

    I've learned that thrifting can be the key to supplementing a wardrobe with new sizes during the transition of my weight loss in the last year. And more than that, I've lucked into some one-of-a-kind finds, a few designer shirts and lovely vintage accessories to boot. 

    Still, some may be skeptical of shopping for clothes from the thrift store. But all you naysayers may hold the nay if you took the time to better explore the option of thrifting for fashion.

    Imagine a secondhand skeptic, if you will...

    Say, aren’t you afraid of all those germs from the previous owners?  I’m no more afraid of secondhand clothes than I am of “new” clothing from a standard retail store. If you ever consider the amount of people that have tried on the clothing you purchase, you know the same risk could apply to shopping new. Just give the clothes a good wash or dry clean and you’re good to go.

    No exceptions? Well, anything with a funky musk, stains, discolorations or physical defects to the fabric won’t be coming home with me. I also avoid secondhand swimwear and undergarments, because I find them a tad too personal. But I know others that are quick to scoop up cheap vintage nighties. To each thrifter, his or her own. 

    Oh, pretty vintage fabric! 

    How do I (gulp) go ttthhhh-thhh-thrifting for clothes? Fear not, former naysayers! Here are some tips on scoring secondhand fashion that will be the envy of all your less-frugal friends:

    • There are two main components to any given wardrobe: Fashion Staples and Statement Pieces. Thrifting can mean the opportunity to find both. You can find basic dark wash skinny jeans or a colorful, exotic patterned print tunic. You can find solid color button-down shirts or a rich, tapestry-inspired peacoat. The possibilities are endless. 
    • If you’re not sure where to start, take stock of your current wardrobe. Are you shopping for this current season or the next? Are you in-between sizes? Do you have a mountain of basic tees, but no cute little skirts? Knowing what you have to work with will keep you focused on the fashion you need, and keeping in budget with what you want to spend. And yes, it helps to have a budget, even when thrifting! 
    • Forget sizes and focus on the individual garment. Don’t be fooled by a tag that lists the perfect, thrifty little black dress a size above or below what you wear. Wanna know something? Size is not universal. Sizes can differ greatly between manufacturer, when it was made, the cut of the garment and even who was wearing it previously. While you may not be able to squish into something five sizes smaller just because you love it, you may just have a little more wiggle room in what’s wearbly available to you. Take my advice. Try it on!
    • Take cues from fashion past. If you love the sweater that looks like something from The Golden Girls or that bejeweled jumpsuit from the 70s, don’t write them off as dated. Everything old is new again, baby. Vintage fashion is the best fashion and it's baaaaaaaack. Plus, everyone will want to know if you got your ensemble from Urban Outfitters or H & M. And you can just casually say, “Oh this? Got it while thrifting. It’s vintage.” Genuine, the real thing. That’s right. Wait for the jealousy. If it’s vintage and it fits and you love it, trust me. You can make it work with the right styling. And yes, I just pulled a Tim Gunn with the whole make-it work thing. 
    • Building a Thrifted Wardrobe Can Take Time. Sometimes you score big. Sometimes you don’t. You may walk in to your local thrift store and be greeted with racks upon racks of trendy clothes in your exact size for mere pennies on the dollar. And you may literally run to the register with glee, trailing a rainbow of pixie dust and glitter with a chorus of angels singing in the background. Or not... And if you’re a specific body type, be it petite, tall or plus size, it might take a little longer to amass an enviable collection of thrifted fashion finds. (You can blame your kindred specialty-size sisters out there for not donating their clothes to the thrift, thank you very much).

    Erinn, modeling live from the thrifted runway! 

    When it comes to thrift shopping for clothes...Be patient. Be frugal, but stay open-minded. Don't be afraid of crafting your own interpretation of a new trend, of trying an old school look or of sporting something completely different from what you would usually wear. Take some risks and have fun. Before you know it, you'll be showing off your new-to-you secondhand style with pride.

    If you're looking for more thrifted fashion how-to's... stop by The Let's Go Thrifting Amazon store for a little vintage and DIY inspiration.  From vintage hairstyles and up-cycling old clothes, to tried and true advice from topnotch secondhand specialists, these books are quite handy indeed. 

    What's your secondhand strategy when it comes to thrifting clothes? 

    1 comment:

    Anny said...

    I never find what I'm looking for so I just in with an open mind too. Sadly most of my choices are statement tops and sweaters.

    Jeans I tend to buy new because vintage is frustrating and Old Navy always has them on sale all the time anyway.