Frugal Fashion Friday: Tips on how to Shop Thrift Stores For Clothes

Howdy prairie friends! It is Frugal Fashion Friday (say that three times fast!), a new topic of discussion that will be featured on Fridays! I am excited about this week’s topic: Thrifting Clothes. My idea of a “treasure hunt” was battling the racks of Ross or Marshall’s, searching for that one gem that was overlooked by everyone else in the clearance section. 😉 How satisfying is it to find an item that you LOVE at an absolute bargain price? I don’t know about you, but it makes my day! Well I have recently been introduced to the mother of all treasure hunts: Thrift Store shopping. I know that this is not a “new” topic and most of y’all probably thrift hunt already. But lets admit it, sometimes the hunt for clothes can be a little overwhelming. How do you choose an outfit that not only looks like it wasn’t purchased for $1.50, but makes you look like a million bucks?

If I may, allow me to do a little bragging about my sister, Emily. She really has been gifted with the ability to put together a frugally priced, thrifted outfit and look like she walked out of a boutique store in NYC or LA. She has been featured on numerous sites (such as Lucky Magazine’s Lucky Style Spotter and The Fashion Spot) and various fashion blogs. She has even been asked to style items for an upcoming feature on the Urban Outfitters site (I hope that wasn’t a secret). Anyway, she is going to be giving us some thrifting tips as the guest writer on todays Frugal Fashion Friday! Meet Emily. Check out all of her fashion stylings on her blog and her Flickr.

Tips on How to Shop Thrift Stores For Clothes

With the economy in the dumps, and everyone looking to save a penny wherever they can, it’s hard to make your wardrobe a priority; but I am here to tell you that it’s easier than you might think to have champagne taste on a beer budget. I know many people cringe at the idea of shopping at thrift and second hand stores, or have a hard time finding things that fit your fancy, or just fit at all. But you’d be surprised what kind of hidden gems are stashed away in the goodwill racks. The key to putting together thrifty outfits is to make it look like you didn’t buy it at a thrift store. So here are some helpful tips for frugal finds.

#1. Be open-minded
I’ve learned over time that pieces don’t always have to be worn conventionally. I often find myself in the skirt section at a store looking for long skirts that can double as a strapless dress. You’d be surprised how often you can make a really cute dress from a really frumpy skirt.

Weardrobe Vest take 2Fact: fresh flowers make everything more whimsical
the little scarf that couldMother's Day

All of these dresses are really skirts, but nobody would ever know. If you don’t like the look of an elastic top, throw on a scarf, sweater or necklace, if it’s too muumuu-ish for your liking then cinch the waist with a belt.

#2 Make it work
Not to sound like Tim Gunn, but sometimes you have to make things work for you. Not everything second hand thing is going to fit you like a glove, more times than not it probably won’t, but don’t write off a garmet just because it’s too big (if it’s too small, you’re best just leaving it). You have a couple of options: Take it in or hem it yourself (sewing skills are required for this step), take it to a tailor, or… fake it.

And God Created Woman

I loved this red skirt when I first saw it, but it’s a tad bit big in the waist, so I took a skinny belt and belted the top and tadah! a paperbag waist!

#3 Make sure you will us it
The easiest way to flush your money right down the toilet is to buy stuff that you are never going to use. Whenever I pick something up that catches my fancy I look at it and ask myself one question: is there something that I already own that I can wear with this? If I can’t make up an outfit on the spot with something I have at home, I don’t get it. You can have a closet full of really great pieces, but if nothing goes together then you have nothing to wear.

who needs tights when you have really white legs?Tree lighting

When I picked up this navy jumper dress, I thought to myself “what the heck could I wear this with?” and this orange bowtie top popped into my head, voila! Outfit made, jumper bought. $4 well spent. and as for this black vintage Neiman-Marcus blazer I got from the Goodwill–well, what couldn’t you wear it with? Talk about a staple piece!

#4 Be patient and have fun.
This is the last and most important rule. Don’t go shopping expecting to find something every single time you go; you will just leave disappointed. Treat it like a treasure hunt (because isn’t that what it really is?), you have to dig and search for the good stuff and sometimes come up empty. But it can be fun and extremely rewarding when you’re looking like a million bucks in an outfit that cost you $10. I promise you will smile when you think of all that extra cash you’re saving by not buying retail, and how eco-friendly you are “recycling” clothes! Keep in mind it’s not what you wear it’s how you wear it. Happy Thrifting!

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