As I share my Frugal Fashionista second hand shopping strategies, many of you can’t get past waking up early for yard sales or entertaining the thought of shuffling through the chaotic racks at Goodwill. While I do think hitting your first big Fashion Haul at an amazing yard sale would cure that stumbling block, I understand it’s just not for everyone, so I want to help you brainstorm some other options.
There’s a huge differences between thrift stores and consignment shops, and in another post I’ll outline the benefits of consignment stores, but today my goal is to introduce you to a higher end thrift store. Most of my Frugal Fashion blog posts have centered around purchasing at yard sales and thrift stores. The downside of thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, locally owned stores etc.) is that you are at the mercy of disorganization, that lovely thrift store “smell,” and weeding through a lot of trash to find the treasures. I often say that “all thrift stores are not created equal” and my downtown Junior League thrift store is a perfect example of that sentiment in the most complementary of ways.
First of all, the Junior League is a wonderful non profit, and their thrift stores are run by volunteers that are members of the Junior League. Since this organization requests that they volunteer hours, and also donate items to their local Junior League store, it means that women who know fashion, know how to accessorize and know how to merchandise products not only donate their own expensive clothes, but are also part of managing the store. (When do you ever see thrift store workers like that, right?)
Many of you are thinking to yourself, “Well, we don’t have one of those in my area.” You may not have a Junior League store, but I bet you have another hidden treasure that you just don’t know about. Remember to ask around. Right now, I can guarantee I am introducing The Bargain Box to hundreds of local residents from my town who had no idea that this store existed downtown because they never asked or sought it out for themselves. Now, I don’t frequent this store namely because it’s 35 minutes from my home, not a destination that I drive by, but also because the prices are higher than my typical yard sale finds. Yet do I highly recommend it? Absolutely, because if you are just beginning to maneuver the waters of second hand clothes shopping, this is the kind of experience I desire you to have. It’s clean. The quality of goods is excellent, and it’s laid out very nicely.
Does that mean you will hit the jackpot every time you go? No, because again, it is a thrift store and it can be hit or miss with your sizes, but I am nearly guaranteed to find something I love every time I shop. Last weekend, I went specifically to find pants for our two oldest sons. Dressing on the preppy side, they needed new Khakis. I was able to find Tommy Bahamas, Dockers, Gap, and J Crew pants ranging in price from $5 – $7. Now $7 is well past my flinch point for thrifting. In the past, I would NEVER spend that much on pants, but considering this pair was $100 retail and finding pants to fit our 6’3″ 230 pound 15 year old son is no easy task, I would much rather spend this for top quality.
In my opinion, merchandising in a thrift store makes all the difference in the experience you’ll have.
Do you remember my post, “Preparing for Vacation – thrifting style?” That Goodwill marks one of the nicest ones I’ve been to because of their attention to detail. They cared about presentation, and so does this Junior League Bargain Box. Now unfortunately, I walk in, covet this white top and green sweater, not to mention the sandals, yet find out they just put the display out and the merchandise will not be sold until the end of the month. Such a bummer, but I love how they take pride in their displays because it also gives some of their fashionally challenged shoppers some great inspiration in what they can put together.
This time of year when the temperatures vary so much, layering is key. Since I never know when it will jump from 40 degrees to 70 in just one day, I want to make sure I am prepared. And as we all know, layering and using accessories wisely always gives an added pop to any wardrobe.
Don’t be afraid of color. Remember to step out of that comfort zone. Would you have thought to put a red shirt with a turquoise necklace? If not, rethink your accessories. Do you have some older necklaces that you haven’t worn in awhile. Take them out, dust them off and see what you can mix and match anew because this mixture of colors is great.
Don’t forget the men in your family. I keep intending to focus on dressing the guys in our life Frugal Fashionista style and I will. That’s the way our family roles, and all of my guys are great dressers.
And of course, I would be remiss not to show their shoe section because you know how I feel about second hand shoes, don’t you? (Should you seriously wear second hand shoes?)
I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into how you can take thrifting to a new level. Find some frugal living experts in your area and inquire as to the location of your town’s hidden gems. You may need to drive just a bit, but make it a field trip and it will be well worth your time.