I feel like I am forever trying to get my friends into second hand fashion, and I get a little resistance. Until they try it that is. Getting started with second hand fashion can seem a little overwhelming and to be frank…a little gross. Wearing a strangers clothes? No thanks. Calm those fears and get ready to save some money because I can assure you that with a few pointers, you’ll be on your way to creating a well rounded wardrobe of quality clothing for a fraction of what it cost brand new.
1.) What do you need?
It’s important to consider what kind of clothing you are looking for BEFORE you set out shopping. Do you needs basics? Work clothes? Shoes? You get the picture. This is key because second hand stores are not laid out in the traditional retail style with multiple size runs in each garment. Instead clothing will by categorized by style and gender. By knowing what you’re looking for, you can breeze through the racks without being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of…stuff.
2.) Where should I go?
Thrift stores are generally reflective of the neighborhood they are housed in. So consequently, more affluent neighborhoods are going to have higher quality, name brand clothing that has more than likely been gently used and occasionally still have tags attached. Find out what second hand stores are in the wealthy neighborhoods in your community and chances are it will be more like thrift score than thrift store.
3.) Brand name blinders
Ideally we’re all looking to score a great designer piece at an amazingly low price…but don’t be focused on tags alone. That great Ralph Lauren blazer you scored for work does indeed have a Ralph Lauren tag in it, but all anyone will be able to see are the shoulder pads and the large brass buttons. Don’t do that. Designers have been designers for a long time and the pieces found in a second hand store can be reflective of a different time in fashion. Try to look at the items that spark your interest for what they are, not who they are made by. On the flip side of this coin, you will find the occasional piece that is not only designer, but totally fabulous in fit and styling. In this case, high five yourself and buy it quickly!
4.) Modification in moderation
Some pieces are so great..if the sleeves were just a little shorter or the rosettes on the lapel were’t there. Much like DIY projects for the house it’s easy to ge real crafty in your head and imagine a total overhaul of an outfit at your own hands because it’s SUCH a good deal. You’re enthusiasm is in the right place but be sure to be realistic. Do you know how to sew, or to the ability to seriously modify the garment? Are you up for paying a tailor to make the changes for you? Small changes such as lengths of hems or missing buttons are an easy fix that shouldn’t detour you from a purchase but a major makeover is probably a waste of money.
5.) “This looks gross…”
It probably is…anything that looks really heavily worn is a pass. Just keep on moving.
6.) HAVE FUN!
This is probably the most important tip of all. Whether you go to brunch with girlfriends and hit the second hand stores after or embark on a solo mission, this is great R+R. There will be days you find nothing and there will be days you can’t choose because there is so much. There is no one else like you in the whole world so make your style your own…when you feel good about yourself it shows.
Check out the video below as I take you to some of Denver’s best thrift stores…