I am known to my friends as the ultimate Thrifter. Not because I thrift up a storm and have a wardrobe only containing op-shop items – because I don’t – it’s because I always find something absolutely amazing when out thrifting that most of my friends love and want.
People have continually said to me, ‘You are so lucky, you find all the good stuff. I never find anything!” This is something I am eager to clear up. Finding the perfect item at a thrift store has nothing to do with luck it’s about understanding your style. Knowing what feels and looks good on you and what to, or not to, buy.
For me; understanding personal style comes down to 3 key fundamentals.
1. What you feel good in.
2. What your daily routine is.
3. How much money you have to spend.
The first fundamental is of the most importance. A lot of women will select an item from their wardrobe put it on and either instantly feel ‘not quite right’ in it, or will get to about lunchtime and think, why did I wear this again? I am a firm believer in confidence coming from how we feel about ourselves as a whole. Yes we can eat right, exercise and have the career and family we always hoped for BUT if you don’t feel good on the outside too – aka. your style – your self confidence will chip away and it will alter how fabulous your day could possibly be.
The goal of good style is to have a wardrobe ready to go that looks good and feels good with minimum effort.
The key is to identify what items in your wardrobe don’t feel good and remove them pronto. It is also a good idea to think about why the item doesn’t feel good, and whether you have multiple items that are similar in style.
Some reasons why an item may feel “off” are; size, fabric, colour, poor design, age. It’s imperative to work out what it is that puts this item in the ‘throw it out fast’ bag before you throw it out fast – straight to your local charity store of course. Identifying what you don’t like will stop you from buying a similar item again.
Let’s address the 5 “off” reasons:
Size: If it’s too big or too small it won’t and will NEVER feel right because it’s not sitting where it’s suppose to. Get rid of it.
Fabric: SO IMPORTANT! Fabric plays a major role in how an item looks. If the fabric is of poor quality don’t go there. Touch the garment. Does it feel cheap or expensive. Regardless of the price tag or label, how does it feel? Consider your daily routine here also. If this is an item you plan to wear regularly, will it be time hungry in maintenance, washing, ironing et c. Generally the cheaper fabrics are harder to maintain and the item will also wear quickly, leaving it looking less than perfect in a shorter period of time. In regards to your existing wardrobe, access the fabrics and take note of what items feel good when you wear them and the items that don’t.
Colour: We all have colour we LOVE and HATE! Different tones look good on different skin. Think about the time you’ve worn a particular colour and received compliments. If you can’t think of a time someone has said that, then you’re simply not wearing enough colour! Black is a great wardrobe staple, but I’ve always been a fan of experimentation with colour. I believe at least one third of your wardrobe should be colour including accessories and shoes. Colour, when it’s the right one for you, will give you an instant ‘feel good’ hit. It will literally brighten your day or night.
I am not a fan of the typical stylist/complexion colour wheel. I believe colour should be experimented with until a tick of approval is received. If in doubt, take a trustworthy friend with you and ask their opinion. Good lighting when making the final decision is also a necessity!
If you really are not that keen on wearing major colour pieces, buy a few pop colour bags or shoes to fill the colour void.
Poor Design: This is one of the major fundamentals I take into account when thrifting. Labels say it all 99% of the time. My number 1 rule; steer clear of cheap labels. When a girl’s on a budget this can be impossible when shopping retail, however, when you’re buying second hand there is no excuse. Most of the stuff that grabs my attention and my cash at Thrift stores is labels. I love Witchery, Country Road, Saba, Sass & Bide, Wayne Cooper … the list goes on. The reason I love these labels is because the design is there at creation. The construction of the garment is spot on, hence why a typical Tee from Country Road will set you back about $60 when shopping retail. Not at the Thrift Store, and let me tell you they are packed with them. My theory behind why you find so many labels at Charity stores is because they are worth recycling. Even after quite a few wears they have plenty of life left in them. This can’t be said for the cheaper labels. Once they are worn, they are literally worn and better off in the bin. Hence why we have a global waste problem. The cheaper labels are bought more because of the simple fact that they are CHEAP. Mass production to cater for the massive industry of buyers. These garments are disposable items and sadly they are killing our planet. Stick with the labels for a guaranteed good design, good feel and good karma.
Age: When an item looks old, daggy and worn, throw it out or better still use it as a multipurpose cleaning rag. You’re never going to feel good in something that screams “expired”.
[STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO OF HOW TO THRIFT LIKE A STYLIST]
www.iammagazine.com.au [The Thrift Edit]