Looking for some duds to go with your new Chucks, Jack Purcell’s, or to pair with your new Converse hoodie or tee? Here are some tips on how to round out your outfit from some pros.
If you’re reading this, you probably aren’t rich. If you are rich… Good for you, I guess? Go buy yourself something nice! For the rest of us, it’s sort of a struggle to be able to buy clothes at all, let alone clothes that make us look good. And how are you supposed to become rich without looking good?
Fortunately, if you don’t mind a little dust and a lot of hard work, you can get a whole new look on the cheap by shopping at thrift stores. From 50′s vintage dresses to new-with-tags designer jeans, second-hand shops like Savers, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and AMVETS are often hiding some great clothes in the aisles of mom jeans and stacks of t-shirts given away during corporate retreats.
First, make sure you give the stores a call before you head over to find out the best way to stretch your dollar: many places will give a discount to students on certain days or offer a discount when you donate an unwanted item. Bring your friends and plan at least an hour to spend digging through the ugly Christmas sweaters and #1 GRANDPA t-shirts to find the hidden treasures. Don’t be afraid to try on anything and everything you think you might like; a skirt that looks only okay on the hanger might look great on you. Once you find something you like, think about how that new piece will work with your existing wardrobe. Even if something’s dirt cheap, it’s not worth it if you’ll never get a chance to wear it. Keep an eye out in thrift stores for hand-made vintage pieces that are one-of-a-kind; they often go for a song but are better made than most of the fast fashion being produced today.
Stores that operate on a trade system—bring them your old clothes and leave with some new duds—tend to be a little pricier than a regular thrift shop, but they usually offer a more curated, high-end selection. If you can find a good tailor in your neighborhood, you can open up a world of possibilities when thrift shopping. Simple changes like taking up a hem are around $10, so if those $7 jeans are a little too long, you can still snap them up and have them shortened.
Clothing swap parties are another great option if you’re shopping on a budget. Tell your friends to pack a bag filled with clothes that don’t fit anymore or that they’re just plain sick of, spread all the clothes out on your couch, have a fashion show, and send everyone home with some totally free, new-to-them pieces. You never know what unworn treasures could be hiding in your friend’s closet—maybe they can find a happy home in yours.
If you’ve absolutely got to buy something new, try online shopping first—you can almost always find a discount by searching the company’s name. Never buy anything online without one! If you can’t find a coupon code that works, chances are that if you call or email the company and ask if a discount is available they’ll happily offer one up. The next step is to call your local brick-and-mortar store and make sure your dream shoes or skirt aren’t cheaper in-store. You might also be able to get around shipping costs by having it shipped to the store instead of your home. When it comes to shopping on a budget, a little time spent can end up saving you some big bucks.