There was a time when, in an effort to save money, I shopped the sales and clearance racks at low-end retail stores. For my efforts, I was rewarded with a wardrobe that was practically bursting at the seams with a selection of “meh” clothes—which makes sense. I mean, last-season leftovers happen for a reason: they didn’t sell because they didn’t look good on anybody! And it was no way to live.
Today, I’m pleased to share how I escaped the synthetic-fibered web of misfit clothing to live a happier, more stylish existence—in an array of colors and styles that suit me to a tee.
Your Dream Closet Awaits
Imagine opening up your closet doors to discover a well-curated selection of high-end clothing. Each piece fits perfectly on your frame. And the colors? It’s like someone re-designed the rainbow to make you look absolutely radiant. There’s not a scrap of “meh.”
That’s my closet, now, and it can be yours, too—for pennies on the dollar!
… in fact, my entire wardrobe cost me just a few hundred bucks. You’d never guess it by looking at me, but 90 percent of my wardrobe is thrifted. I’ve never spent less money on clothing in my life, and my clothes are nicer than ever. (Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pictures, and I’ve got plenty of ‘em on Instagram!)
If you’re too intimidated to give thrifting a try, here are a few of my favorite pointers for successfully nabbing your very own, slightly-used (but oh-so-stylish), haul.
Think of This as a Treasure Hunt
So, you get it. Used clothing costs way less. Consider the fact that your purchases won’t fall apart the first time you wash them (they’ve already passed that test!), and the savings can really add up. But thrift stores can feel overwhelming, right?
Let me entice you with this nugget of gold: I bought this blazer, which retails at $499, for just $4.99.
Now that’s a powerful shift of the decimal point, right? You won’t always find such ridiculous deals but, if you thrift regularly, this type of find (and thousands of dollars in savings) can be yours, too.
The Art (and Joy!) of Thrifting
Like any good pirate, before you set out in search of treasure, you need to map out your trip. Here are four tips for a successful (and fun!) day of heavily-discounted retail therapy:
1. Make a Shopping List
Before you leave the house, inspect your closet. What’s missing? For example, if you need jeans, cardigan sweaters and a pair of black boots for the back-to-school season, make a note. (I mean it. Literally, make a note—or list—to take with you.)
It seems simple, but your shopping list is the key to thrifting success. When you know exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll automatically filter out huge sections of the store. Without a plan, it’s way too easy to end up gawking at t-shirts, dresses and housewares, none of which are on your list, leaving you exhausted before you even hit the denim!
2. Know What Works for You
If you’re not already sure what colors and clothing styles work best for you, this one can take some practice—but it’s so worth it. (Remember the dream closet that I described above?) When you can easily spot garments that’ll look great on you, it’s light-years easier to shop at a thrift store.
Imagine skimming the rack, pulling out a couple of items, and moving along to the next thing on your list! Quick, easy, and (laundry) loads more enjoyable than building a clothes mountain in your cart. Plus, you’ll spend way less time in the fitting room!
3. Dress for the Occasion
And, speaking of the fitting room, make your shopping trip as seamless as possible by dressing appropriately. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Skip the fitting room lines by wearing a tank-top and skirt! You’ll be able to try on tops, dresses, skirts and even pants, right there in the aisle!
- Wear no-fuss, easy-on/easy-off shoes. Leave the laces at home.
- If you love lip color, wear it! Thrift-store lighting is usually quite dreadful. A little color can go a long way towards helping you feel better about your reflection (and a good mood amplifies your shopping superpowers!).
- Wear a good good bra—you want to know how tops will look when you wear them in real life. I know it’s tempting to shop in a sports bra, but it’s so much harder to determine fit!
4. Mind the Details
Last, but not least, keep your head in the game. When you stumble across a gorgeous garment that fits perfectly, always stop and take a closer look. A thorough inspection will save you from wasting money on clothes that have a stain, pull or tear. (I’ve learned this one the hard way!) Trust me, it’s no fun to find a torn hem, broken zipper, ring-around-the-collar, or a button that doesn’t fit the buttonhole, after you’ve already paid.
About The Author
Stasia Savasuk, founder of Stasia’s Style School, is a personal stylist—with a twist. Stasia takes an unconventional approach to motivate and transform the way that women of all ages approach style. She is passionate about helping women tune into their intuition and individuality, to choose clothes that inspire confidence, courage and inside-out congruency.
Stasia can be found frolicking in the backwoods of Vermont with her two kids, wearing a dress, big earrings, red lipstick and a friendly smile. For more tips on thrifting with style, visit stasiasavasuk.com.