Thrifty Fashion

Almost a year and a half  have passed since I challenged myself to a year of thrift shopping. For the entire year of 2014 I disallowed myself from shopping for new and expensive clothes. It was so easy that I never really stopped, and my wardrobe has gotten noticeably better.

Thrift store finds: Milk glass vases, vintage pencil skirt, cross-stitched pendant, leather sandals, infinity scarf

I've always been a thrift shopper but because I had a rule to follow in 2014, I became a lot more savvy about how I executed each shopping spree. Here are few habits I follow and some of my thrifty finds from the past year:

    1. Game plan: Always go in with a plan to find certain types of clothes - dresses for work, short sleeve shirts, cardigans, etc. I prioritizes these sections of the store and browse in that order. This is an important tactic for me because time flies when I'm thrifting.

Photo frames, jersey knit tank top, pleated mini skirt, striped beach bag, scarf

    2. Choose the right time: The stores are constantly restocking their racks but Tuesdays are when they put out the most new stuff. I suggest shopping during the day before the afterwork rush. And, never shop on weekends, that's just silly.

Capped sleeve polka-dot blouse, midi skirt, plaster leaf plaque, earrings

    3. Patience: Take your time and don't start shopping an hour before closing. Allow a couple of hours to scour the racks, fill your basket and try on every piece.

Floral print jeans, jade necklace, leather sandals, ribbed tank top, catch-all dish

    4. Choose the right partner, if any: Second hand shopping is very different than browsing in the mall because you're not just scanning racks but flipping through the hangers. If you bring a friend, make sure he or she is the thrift shopping type or else you'll both have a miserable time.

Oversized cardigan, gold and amber brooch, polka-dot t-shirt, skinny jeans, seafoam green belt, copper pineapple mold

    5. Set your price limit: Thrift stores are chock-full of cool stuff and it's easy to go overboard with the novel items. The best way to stop yourself from buying something stupid is to set your price limit which might force you to remove a few items. I never spend more than $100 per visit.

Little black dress with gold lace top, srtiped scarf, Pentax 35mm camera, vintage shoes 

    6. Speaking of novel items: Don't expect to find the coolest vintage pieces or the most fashion forward items every time. While browsing, I've stumbled upon some high end brands and awesomely unique items, but I focus on looking for the things I need and then the cool stuff finds me.

Plastic beaded necklace, handmade midi skirt, teapot and matching milk and sugar 

    7. Examine closely: Just because something fits or is in perfect condition, does not mean you will wear it after leaving the store. I used to go overboard in my early thrift shopping days, but now I take the time to a) make sure every piece fits the way it should, and b) to ensure it's in good condition. If repairs or hemming are required, you have to ask yourself whether you will take the time to fix them.

As a couple of sub-tips: look at the condition of the tag, this will help you determine how used the item is. Also, look for wear, like balling, stretching and discolouring which make clothes look old, and, consider where the item is originally from (725 Originals from Wal Mart? No thanks.).

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