Thrifty Fashion (or How to fill your wardrobe for under £100…ish)

Hello all! I’m sorry it’s been so long since I updated, but I have been travelling. I promise I will post some articles about my travel looks soon! As for now, I promised a while ago I would do an article on shopping thrifty so here it is. Hope you enjoy.

I think that there is this idea that to look good you have to spend more than just a pretty penny, but that simply isn’t true. You can put together some amazing, and quirky, outfits by using a little bit of brain power and a creative eye. In this article I am going to give you a brief once over of how to build yourself a wardrobe that most definitely won’t break the bank. We are going hunting in the Charity shops – that’s thrift stores to you Americans.

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Cute, no?

The best way to start is to scope out your local shops, most towns will have a few and you can always go a little further afield. You want to see which ones are worth your time, after all there’s no point hunting through the rails if you’re not going to find stuff you like. Of course, everyone has their own style so what you’re looking for will be different but there are some simple rules you can follow.

First, look for somewhere that is constantly getting new donations and has a high turnover of clothes on the shop floor. It’s likely that you’ll have times when you don’t find anything you like, but if you know they always put new stuff out on say a Friday then it’ll more probably that’ll you’ll find something you like.

Second, try and find somewhere that hasn’t worked out that “vintage” is a thing, but also has a high quality of donations. It sounds pretty specific, but trust me, it’s worth finding that one shop that fits. These are the places that are going to have more high end clothes (we’re talking lower end designer in some cases but definitely stuff like Superdry and Boden) but not for an unreasonable price.

Third, they want to be just that right level of quirky. If it’s too weird it’ll scare the nice people who donate clothes away, but if it’s too bland all you’ll get is a few boring t-shirts.

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Cute dress for £3? Don’t mind if I do!

Ok, so you’ve found your shop, or shops if you’re lucky so you want to run straight in and start buying? Wait! Before you step foot in the shop, you want to have a vague idea of what you want. Not something completely fixed, after all this is a charity shop, you have no idea what you’re going to find you aren’t looking for some certain thing you saw online, but also you don’t want to buy the first sparkly thing that catches your eye. Have an idea of a style or a look or maybe just feeling, but enough of a vision so you don’t just random pieces that will never work together. This being said, you still want to keep an open mind to something you might not have thought about before. This is all very contradictory, I am aware of that.

Of course, there will always be a piece that you see that doesn’t go with anything but you’ll buy it anywhere, case in point the bright red, Chinese style jacket I bought last month. Eh, I’ll work it out eventually.

You will want to take your time as well. If you need to take hours, then take hours. You look through every rack, every rail and every bin, because you can’t rush in and find gold dust. Sometimes you’ll be lucky, the perfect piece will be hanging in the window – I’m looking at you £25 Vivienne Westwood dress – but most of the times you’ll need to put in some work. But I feel that give over a little extra time is worth it if you manage to save a few hundred pounds. And remember, just because you don’t find something one week don’t give up, go back in a few days or a few weeks, things will have changed you’ll have a whole new pond to fish around in.

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Oh yeah, that’s Vivienne Westwood. Miracles do happen.

Remember that as well as this you won’t always find some crazy amazing thing, but instead you’ll get a couple of new shirts or a basic cardigan or maybe a cute skirt. Base wardrobe pieces, shirts, blouses, trousers, skirts, etc, etc, are just as important and more use than a spangly top, after all you have to wear that top with something.

On top of all of this I would urge you to learn to sew, if only a little. This will mean that you can mend things where a button has come off or the sleeves need turning up. It’s a massive shame to have to dismiss something just because you can’t fix it. You can even modify with cute patches, or adding straps, pieces of embroidery, whatever you want.

You can take it further if you fancy it. You learn enough and you can refit garments or change them completely, there are plenty of blogs out there with make do and mean fashion that you can get inspiration from as well. Pintrest is a great place to start looking as well.

I guess these can also be applied to online shopping, but it’s harder to find things by happy accident or be spontaneous as you have to search more actively for things, but that doesn’t mean ebay and other places can’t be a useful tool in your thrifty arsenal. I’d use them more as a secondary choice, and only if I was looking for something more specific for an outfit, plus not being able to try things on is always annoying.

A massive part of shopping thrifty is seeing more in a piece of clothing, seeing what it could be, not just what the shop is telling you it is. You go into Tom Hilfiger or River Island and they’ll have put the “outfit” on a mannequin, and pasted perfectly presented models all over the walls, and that’s how you’re expected to dress, but you go into a charity shop and there is no such pressure. It’s all about your vision, your creativity, your way of being and you’ll get 10 items for £15 rather than one hair scrunchy.

So that’s it. That’s my tips and tricks on how to put your wardrobe together for under £100 (ish). I hope that I have been of some help and that you have started you’re journey to thrifty fashion heaven. If you have any more questions, feel free to send me a message here or on my facebook page.

You can now follow me on Instagram @lilistprince and on twitter @lilistprince. I will be posting daily looks on both of these, and chatting about life as a nonbinary person.

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‘Olly Out

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Written by Holly Rose Swinyard

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