Breaking the Thrift Store Stigma

Let’s face it – we all want to dress like we raided a celebrity’s closet.  But in this economy, who honestly has the extra wiggle room in their budget to afford those Jimmy Choo shoes or that adorable Alexander McQueen frock?  That’s why fashionistas across the United States are looking to alternative fashion destinations: the good old fashioned thrift stores and consignment shops.

For some, this makes fashion senses tingle….and not in a good way.  Can wearing second-hand rejects really be fashionable?   Absolutely.  While it may take time to eventually break the “thrift store stigma”, the benefits from doing so will leave you pleasantly surprised and dangerously hooked on low-cost fashion pieces.

Stigma #1: Thrift stores are a wasteland of clothing for old people.

Not true.  If you check out your local Goodwill or Salvation Army (preferably close to upper-middle class neighborhoods), you will find a plethora of trendy options.  Brands like Michael Kors, Express, and Eddie Bauer are sure to turn up.  Everywhere you look, there are bound to be plenty of evergreen staples, such as solid colored cardigans, pleated skirts, tailored suit jackets, and sheer blouses.  Also, take advantage of those vintage brooches and pearl necklaces.  They may look like they were just dropped off by Granny next door, but vintage-style jewelry is selling for a pretty penny in department stores right now.

Stigma #2: Thrift stores are cluttered and it’s hard to find what I’m looking for.

While thrift store merchandise does seem haphazardly placed at times, it’s the thrill of the hunt that gets some expert-thrifters going. But for those just starting out, it can be frustrating.  When you go to a thrift shop, make sure you already know what you’re looking for.  Want a mint green cable knitted sweater like the model in your favorite Vogue spread? Write it down and make it your mission to search for it.  Looking for a floral skirt? Add it to the list. Having a “wish list” (even if it’s a bunch of clip-outs from your favorite magazine) will help you save time and energy.

Stigma #3:  You’ll never get complimented wearing thrift store merchandise.

False.  Thrift store outfits do not automatically equal the visage of a potato sack. It’s all in how you put an outfit together.  Know the trends. has many examples of ordinary fashion savvy people who purchased parts of their outfit from a local thrift store.  Watch carefully how different pieces are put together.  For instance, if you’re looking for a simple summer outfit, why not try looking for a pair of denim cut off shorts with a sheer, coral button up blouse.  (Roll up the sleeves to make them three-quarter length for a more modern look).  Pair that with some gold bangles and cat-eye sunglasses, and voila! Fashion for less.  Much less.

Summer of Coral

So the next time you’re on the prowl for a new outfit, keep in mind the wealth of treasures you could uncover at that thrift store down the street. Your bank account will thank you.

4 Responses to “Breaking the Thrift Store Stigma”
  1. Floyda Foley says:

    Perfect for summer! I really love to wear those stuff..

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