Since I was a little girl I loved the creative aspect of putting outfits together. In my teen years I enjoyed reading fashion magazines and mimicked the outfits with things I had in my closet. I also copied ideas from movies, TV shows or people I saw walking down the street. Yes I had the Rachel haircut and dressed like Cher from “Clueless.” Oh the 90’s!
I was introduced to the clearance rack when I was in 6th grade. My mom and I began going to the mall as a past-time when I started middle school. We used to go to this store called “Id” and they often had 70% off tables. I felt like a kid in a candy store getting jeans for $5 and tops for $2 and then bragging to my dad about all the money we saved. “I got these $45 jeans for $5!” How cool was that. Looking back I’m guessing the fashion trends weren’t that cool, I mean taper legged jeans and shoulder pads may have been popular, but they were definitely ugly.
At some point I merged the idea of taking trends and figuring out how to get them on the cheap. Even though Seventeen magazine featured a fabulous dress for $200 I was 16 and didn’t have that kind of money. I shopped at stores with prices that met my minimum wage earnings and was able to find great alternatives.
Fast forward 20 years later I still don’t have $200 to spend on a dress, but I still like being “trendy.” Since becoming a mom I started shopping at resale stores for my kids clothes. Along the way I discovered that women’s clothing options were quite on point with current fashions and their prices couldn’t be beat! Gone are the days of stretched out shirts and slacks at thrift stores.
Feeling like a kid again when I go shopping at my local resale stores I can find things from Gap, J Crew, 7 for All Man Kind, Express, and Banana Republic. It dawned on me that I can take what learned shopping as a teen and apply them to my shopping trips at consignment places.
I am going to share with you some tips and tricks on how to take current fashion trends from high end places and get them at thrift store prices.
Do your research
Before you head out on your shopping trip check out what’s currently in style at places like Nordstrom’s or Madewell. If you have a favorite store check out their website too. I also like to read other fashion bloggers ideas too like here and here. Make a list of your favorite things.
In one of my recent searches I noted that florals, blush, stripes, knotted tops, lace, ruffles, atheleisure, distressed bottoms, and denim were popular for this spring. These were the things I liked the most and put them on my list.
Time to Shop!
Stick To Your List
Take your list of favorite things with you to the store. The thing with resale and thrift stores is that they have tons of stuff, but not everything will be to your liking or what your looking for. Use your list and only look at the items that are on it. I skipped over things that didn’t match my list. Now it can be fun to dig through everything and if you have the time or interest go for it! For the sake of time though I just looked for the colors and patterns I was most interested in.
When I did come across pieces of clothing that were on my list I pulled it off the rack and gave it a thorough once over before I put it in my cart. I asked myself the following questions: Was it the right size? Did I like the style, shape or cut of the item? Was it in good condition? If there are holes, stains, strange smells, or it looks well worn I put it back. The key is to get nice things you like at a low price. Even if it’s a great deal it’s a waste of money if something looks old or doesn’t fit right.
On this particular shopping trip I found tons of floral, denim, ruffle, blush and lace tops but these were the top contenders.
The prices on these tops ranged from $4.50 to $8.50.
Once you’ve narrowed down your things it’s time to try everything on. Remember just because you like it hanging on a hanger you may not like how it fits or feels on you. Trying things on is also a fun way to put together different outfits. When I was doing my research I liked outfits that included dark denim with stripes, skinny jeans with cute sweatshirts, tunics with leggings, and knotted tees with capris. These were some outfits I put together. (Please excuse the amateur selfies)
The jeans in these pictures were Gap for $12.50. Leggings were Athletica for $10. Striped top White House Black Market for $7.50. Black sweatshirt C9 for $5. Gray tunic Gap for $8. Blue knotted top J Crew for $4.50.
Things to Keep In Mind
- Going resale/thrift store shopping is different than going to regular stores. There is usually only one of something vs multiple items of the same thing so you may not get everything on your list in one shopping trip. The good thing is that inventory typically changes frequently. It’s also okay not to get everything on your list in one trip.
- Great deals can easily add up too. It’s a good idea to have a budget in mind before you go shopping. While it may be great to get 10 pieces of clothing for $50, if your budget was only $30, was it really a good deal? I know it can be hard to discard items to stay within a budget if you like everything. In the end though it will be worth it not to overspend. I’ll write on that in another post.
- Thrift store shopping is an experience, it’s not like going to Target to grad a specific color shirt and go. Plan to spend time at the store and go for a scavenger hunt.
I hope you got some ideas on how to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank this spring. Garage sale season is coming up, stay tuned for ideas on how to find great things at bargain prices! In the meantime if you go shopping let me know how it went and what you found!