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Throughout my college years, I had no choice but to be careful with my spending. Bills, food, and gas always came first. Whatever was left (and there wasn’t much) was left for me to spend on extracurriculars. This meant that entertainment, clothing, and beauty supplies of any kind were special splurges.
Below, I’ve listed a couple of things I have been known to do when I get the I-want-something-new-in-my-closet urge.
1. For The DIY’ers
I love a good consignment shop or flea market. One day, I went into a local flea market and bought three pairs of old, high-waisted denim jeans. One of the jean pairs was Calvin Klein and the other two were vintage Levi’s. I got them for about $5 each. Excited about my finds, I hustled home to work on transforming the ‘mom jeans’ into the distressed denim shorts I envisioned.
I took scissors, a razor blade, and some bleach to the old rags, and voila! It looked like I had purchased those bad boys from an expensive store. To date, I’ve had countless compliments and inquiries about my shorts. This is an inexpensive way to have custom pieces without breaking the bank. (Not sure where to get started? Just head on over to Pinterest for a little inspiration.)
2. Goodies At Goodwill
If DIY projects just aren’t your thing, there are always other options. I get a thrill out of going to Goodwill stores. Judge me if you want to, but when fall is around the corner, I love searching the racks for the perfect vintage, oversized sweater to curl up in on a cold day.
Interesting patterns or bulky knits are always fun. Other items of interest may include button-down shirts or flannels. Even if they aren’t anything special, it’s nice to have a few of these as options to tie around the waist or to use for layering an outfit. (I recently picked up a Zara button down for $2, go me!)
3. Branch Out
Browsing the men’s blazer selection can be promising — especially because we know that everything made for women is significantly more expensive. A small Men’s blazer could easily be dressed up with the right jean and heel pairing. Don’t be afraid to go with a pop of color or an unusual pattern here. This is a great way to experiment with a certain look without spending big bucks.
How many times have you shied away from interesting pieces just because it is expensive and we aren’t sure how much we would wear it? For $5-$20, you could try out a look that may just be your new favorite thing. With a little imagination and some good styling sense, it’s totally doable to add a few inexpensive pieces to your closet.
4. We Sell Re-Sell
Re-sell stores: I try to avoid these as much as possible. It can take a lot of digging to find your treasure in a pile of another person’s cast-offs. However, don’t entirely discount the re-sell store. You can take in some of your own discarded items in exchange for store credit or even cash (or send ‘em in online via ThredUp or other online re-sell stores). You can always find cheap clothes in a variety of brands if you need something in a pinch.
Many of these re-sell stores carry bulk quantities of certain clothing items that are fairly basic and multi-seasonal, like Pico shirts. So even if you’re in a bind, or need a specific colored shirt for an event, it could be worth your while to stop in. You won’t be out much money — and worst case you can re-sell it again or donate it when you’re done with it.
5. Special Instructions
Applicable to all consignment/flea market shoppers, there are a few things to keep in mind: Be thorough. Take your time and search through to find the good pieces. Do not expect to breeze through and find diamonds on top of the coal pile. Dig a little. Also, choose quality brands. Even in a used setting, quality brands will wear better, feel better, and generally look better. Even if you can’t tell what the brand is or the label isn’t recognizable, you can typically read what fabrics are used and deduce the quality from touch and looks.
Finally, never get anything that has stains or obvious damage, and always wash your purchases before you wear them for the first time.
Happy Hunting, Ladies!
The thing I love most about flea markets and Goodwill shopping is that you won’t spend a lot of money, but you will end up with one-of-a-kind purchases. It’s a near guarantee you won’t see anyone walking down the street wearing the same clothing piece (from a flea market/consignment store).
The markets are too saturated with lookalike products these days anyway, so get out and find your unique little gems. Now, away to your local thrift stores and happy hunting!