When it comes to clothes, there’s just nothing greener than buying secondhand. Unless, of course, you’ve scored organic, handmade clothing secondhand (that would be amazing, wouldn’t it?). When you don’t have the big budget to score an eco-fabulous wardrobe, thrift stores and consignment shops are the place to go to find vintage and even barely-worn staples like dresses, tops, skirts, slacks and accessories. There are also tons of vintage clothing stores on the web.
Get inspired. Check out PainfullyHip.com for incredible thrift store fashion eye candy – this blog will really give you the itch to build up an awesome secondhand wardrobe. It features thrifted outfits of the day, online indie boutique discounts, international street style, DIY ideas, thrifting tips and more. These chicks really know a thing or two about thrifted and vintage style. Another great source of inspiration is the Wardrobe Remix Flickr pool, which is where Painfully Hip finds all their fabulous featured outfits.
Take stock of what you’ve got. It may be time to purge the things you haven’t worn in a long time, and determine where your wardrobe is lacking. Do you have a beautiful blouse that you haven’t worn because you just don’t have any skirts that match it? Could you update those 3-year-old tunics with a wide, colorful belt? More than likely, your closet already contains the bones of a great wardrobe – you just need to augment it. Make a list of the kind of items you’re hoping to find – say, brown sandals, a 1970’s hippiefied frock and a sun hat for spring.
Plan your shopping day wisely. First, check out ThriftShopper.com to find all of the thrift stores and consignment shops in your area – it’ll pull up a full list including maps, store hours and even reviews. And, you’ll want to find out which days of the week your local thrift stores get new shipments, so you can get first pick.
Try things on. Some garments just fit weird, and you don’t want to find out once you get home that those awesome, trendy high-waist jeans make you look like a dorky mom from the ‘80s. Also, if you’re looking for something to go with clothes or accessories you already have, wear them to the store so you can get the full effect.
Shop online armed with your current measurements. Clothing sizes were way smaller way back when, so that adorable size 12 1950’s cocktail dress is actually more like a modern-day 6. Ignore the size number and just focus on measurements instead. Need help determining your measurements? Check out the instructions at Vintage Swank.
Don’t buy things you aren’t totally in love with. That $3 top isn’t a bargain if it’s just going to hang unworn in your closet for months on end. Thrift shopping takes time and patience – keep in mind that they’ll have a whole new set of clothes to browse next week.