Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thriftspiration: From Haute Couture To The Thrift Store

Since the hectic holidays have come and gone, I've had some time to organize my surroundings and prioritize my thoughts. And what's more, I've had the time to recover from whatever demonic respiratory illness that plagued both my Christmas, New Years and better part of January. 

On to bigger, better, brighter things. With the return to my old self, and my love of all things old and quirky, I've been hitting the thrifts hard. But I've been very selective of what to bring home. After the annual post-holiday closet cleanse, I've decided that it was time to narrow my secondhand gaze upon mostly clothing and accessories. 

And in doing so I've developed a few tips I'd like to share: 

  • Clothing is more than a size, more than a label. And this is especially true for previously loved garments.  Quality and fit are important factors. And sometimes the manufacturer, and indeed the size, are not universal in the end result of the product. Try it on and give it a few moments on your skin, and a few poses in front of the mirror to see if it's for you. 
  • Take sartorial risks. Thrift stores are the perfect place to step out of your aesthetic comfort zone without financial ruin. I mean...who knew that my thick-in-the-middle proportions could rock a pencil skirt? 
  • Keep your closet organized...all the time. Seriously. Pants with pants, shirts with shirts, sorted by color or style. Maybe you have a formal side and a casual side to your closet? That's okay too. But set up a system and stick with it. This way you'll know what you already have and what you'd like to have. 
    And lastly, I won't hide it any longer. My indulgence (okay, one of many) is magazines. I love, love, love a well-written interview with a designer, an expertly photographed fashion spread, an editor's picks of the season's hottest trends... And this does not mean I can't be thrifty!  

    That photo of my closet? I estimate that its entire contents are as follows:
    80% thrifted
    - 15% purchased on sale or clearance 
    - 5% purchased at regular price

    And when I see these gorgeous spreads in the pages of InStyle, Nylon, or Marie Claire magazine, I'm only more driven to find suitably on-trend alternates at local thrift stores. I even keep a clippings notebook on hand, full of colors and styles that inspire me while I am thrifting for fashion. And I encourage you to do the same. Carry a source of thriftspiration. I like the tangibility of a notebook. But you're welcome to make a file on your iPad or a Pinterest board accessible on your smartphone. 

    Use what inspires you as a springboard for ideas, or make a challenge of mimicking your favorite look.  And in the end, when you start racking up he compliments, you can brag all about your fashionably savvy secondhand know-how to envious friends and family. 

    In the coming weeks, when I'm feeling a little bolder and a little braver, I'm going to show you some head-to-toe looks that were assembled with design in mind and more money in  my wallet. 

    Can you think couture and spend thrift store?