Being fashionable is easy as cake when you’ve got deep pockets and a large supply of cash (or credit) to buy the latest collection from your favorite designers. But the rest of us have to get a bit more innovative, rushing to our local thrift stores to find pieces we might be able to alter into something mildly fashion forward. Some do it better than others and as far as I’m concerned, simplycheap is a master at innovation and queen of the budget bin hunt.
Making my way through her blog, I could hardly believe that most, nay, nearly all of her finds are under $5.00. What? That’s more than even I can say, and I’m a thrifting fiend! Naturally it followed that I simply had to ask her to give some expert advice about thrifting – how to do it and do it well!
When we began to chat, Sabrina, the chic chick behind simplycheap let me in on the fact that thrifting in Asia is a little different than here in the states.
“In developing countries such as Indonesia, a piece of clothing from Forever 21, Zara or Topshop can cause you 5-20% of your monthly income or even all of your monthly pocket money,” she says. “Here, fashionistas have to be even more creative to be stylish.”
You’ll be able to read more about what she has to say about thrifting in Asia on WorldUgly. For now, check out her tips for thrifting that all of us on a tight budget can keep in mind, no matter where we are.
Every treasure hunter needs to prepare herself, inwardly and outwardly, to find the greatest find of her life. Here’s a list that might help you to be the next Lara Croft of thrifting.
1. Do Wear Comfortable Clothes
Put on your most comfortable outfit that is thin enough to try on clothes. A t-shirt and a pair of cotton pants would be perfect. I don’t recommend a skirt because I don’t want to have any Britney moments there, but of course, you can always wear bicycle pants under.
A pair of comfortable shoes is key too, because you’re going to spend a lot of time on your feet. Leave off your high heels and laced-up boots at home. Reunite with your flat or slip on shoes instead. Sandals or flip-flop can also be your buddy of the day too. Don’t forget to bring an extra pair of socks to try on shoes.
2. Don’t Specify
Now you are geared up for the thrifting adventure, you should make a mental note (or if you’re anal enough, a written note) of what you want to look for. Be general with your picks, because most of the time, if you’re too specific with your list, you’ll end up not getting what you want and missing up all the rest.
Also, don’t be distracted with well-known brand. You shouldn’t buy a plain, simple black coat just because it’s DKNY (unless you don’t already have any :p).
I prefer to look for something that is unique in cutting or material and have weird details such as buttons, bows, pleats, and embroideries.
3. Do Bring Your Imagination With You
Ugliness can be chic if added with a dash of imagination. Play a mix-and-match game in your mind when you go down the racks and piles. Look for potentials in each clothes; what would be cute to be paired with it to create a new look. Pay attention to fit and quality. Be open-minded for small sewing alteration. Check also whether your picks have a little torn or damage. Make sure the damage is repairable.
4. Don’t be discouraged
For thrift virgin, first thrift experience is usually disappointing. But believe me, the more you do it, the more you enjoy it. Thrifting with success is an acquired skill and needs a bit of luck. Even a veteran thrifter can have an off-day. So come to the thrift stores often to boost your chances. If you don’t find anything this week, you may have better luck next week.
5. Do Have Fun
Take your time. The length of time you spend at a thrift store can make or break you (your feet at least). Why don’t you make a day of thrifting? Be patience to go through every racks and hidden corners. Dig up the piles on the table because you just might not guess what other people have missed out. Bring a friend or two to give you extra pairs of hands. Ask someone that has the same interest, because nothing is worse when shopping than someone nagging you, “Are you done yet?” every seconds of the time. Have fun with your buddies! Thrifting is a like a game of playing dress-up for grown-ups.
6. Do Be Friendly
You can be friendly with the staff there to know when the restocking day is. That is, the day when your opportunity to have great finds increases. Smiles and small chat can get you a long way, perhaps, even get you more of a discount : ).
7. Do Bring Your Own Shopping Bag
Most thrift stores use plastic bag. Why don’t you help Mother Nature to get her chicness back by using your own shopping bags? Anyway, thrifting is green.
8. Do Clean it Well
For health and hygiene issue, do not wear right away the clothes you just thrifted. Wash it well first. Use disinfectant, soak it in hot water, then wash it hands or washing machine.
Ready now for the treasure hunt?