You may find it difficult to stay on trend without buying the newest releases coming out of the department stores. I’m here to tell you that it’s not only possible to stay on-trend, but even possible to become a trend-setter!
All it takes is a bit of knowledge on where to go and what to look for. If you’re creative, you may even be able to up-cycle and create new designs never before seen! Who says you can’t stay stylish on a thrift store budget??
I have been professionally thrifting for the past six or seven years (since the release of this article) and I can tell you first-hand that some of the most stylish people I know shop exclusively at second-hand stores.
What styles do you want to create?
Remember, styles tend to be cyclical. The new lines out today are almost certainly recreations of some style seen in the past. One of the best places to go to find a unique outfit from past couple decades would, of course, be at your local thrift store.
Today, designer brands are showcasing wide-leg pants and jeans, embezzled tops, leather, leather, leather! A perfect era of clothing to be looking for to find what’s hip today would be to try and source early 2000s-late 2000s brands. Miss me jeans, juicy couture hoodies, Marc Ecko cargo pants, are just a few brands that pioneered the styles of today. The greatest part? The thrift stores are huge honey-holes of early 2000s styles as people my age finally decided to donate their high school get-ups.
It doesn’t stop there. If you wanted to go for the Pharrell Williams look, I can guarantee there is a vintage fedora at your local thrift store just waiting for the perfect home. Take any pop icon or celebrity and there are plenty of similar outfits that can be found at the thrift. In fact, many YouTubers and vloggers have made it a fun activity to recreate celebrity styles through thrift store finds!
What about the designer brands?
There are soooo many designer brands at the thrift store! Don’t worry about not having your polo. Excellent brands can be found out there in abundance.
“I hate showing up to a party wearing the same thing as someone else.”
Well, you’re in luck! No more playing the game of who wore it better. When you style yourself sustainably, there’s no chance that you’ll show up to the wedding wearing the same dress as someone else! Yours might even be an incredible vintage 1960s floral gown you found at 1/10th the price!
It is time to get Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song out of your mind. Nobody is going to walk out of a thrift store wearing an antique fur coat and blinder-style sunglasses. You’re going to be frugal and find the same styles that are current today, only from the past. I, for one, think that’s way cooler than buying a new Givenchy top that you have to explain to everyone is legit.
Can you work a sewing machine?
If you can work your way around a sewing machine, you’re in luck! Countless people nowadays are reworking old clothing into new styles! All you have to do is type in “upcycling” into YouTube and you’ll find thousands of ideas of inspiration to cut and sew, dip dye, and tie dye your own creations!
Start doing something simple by watching and emulating a basic upcycling tutorial. You can get more advanced as your skills progress. It’s not only fun, but also a great way to become a style trend-setter in your local community!
Despite what you may think, you absolutely can find stylish trends at the thrift. Most of the time you’ll be able to pull out with an entire outfit easily under $30!
Try consignment shops to search through a more curated selection at a little higher price point. You can even find brand new styles at your local consignment shops at under clearance prices.
Don’t be like everyone else, feel free to dress in a unique way! Freedom of expression is one of the beautiful freedoms we have in this lifetime. It’s easy to express your creativity in the discounted racks of the thrift and consignment shops near you!
-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment