$econdhand First Class

A thrift store fanatic shares her shopping secrets

Building a Nifty, Thrifty Wardrobe


Matching is easier with
colorful pieces like this

Thrift stores are wonderful resources for helping you construct a good-looking and versatile wardrobe. Here’s a quick overview of what to look for and why.

Thrift stores aren’t great for basics. Think about it. Your go-to pieces such as your ruffled white blouse and black pants or navy skirt are clothes you wear season after season. Eventually, you notice a frayed cuff or a hole and you toss them. Most everyone else does the same thing. You can look long and hard in a thrift store for a simple white tee in good shape. Better to just buy it new and plan to get a lot of use out of it.

Thrift stores are ideal for wardrobe fillers, those pieces that put punch in your outfits, such as a colorful jacket or blouse. This is where you can have fun shopping and then feel like a million wearing your finds.

Here’s a way to construct an outfit:

Find a blouse or jacket with multiple colors. This could be a print, a plaid, or a weave with different threads. This is your starting point.

Next, look for pieces, such as pants, skirts, blouses, or tees in matching or coordinating colors. For example, in the pictured jacket, the print has several colors, such as greens, pinks, orange, gold, with black accents on a white background. I can wear any of these colors with the jacket. I like to combine a print with a strong color from the print and a coordinating neutral, such as black, white, or beige.

When matching colors, have the item with you. No matter how good your memory is, it’s hard to match shades unless you have a sample. Having tried to match a medium blue, I can tell you there are about 3,231 shades of medium blue, none of which look good with my skirt.,

If you have to visit more than one thrift store to complete your outfit, show the item to the manager or cashier when you enter the store. They will usually mark the item so there’s no misunderstanding when you leave.

Back to the example: Starting with the one jacket, I now have several outfits I can put together. I found olive green pants and pair them with a pink knit top. I toss the jacket over my black pants with a white blouse. I am currently on the hunt for some pink jeans. I know they are on the next rack.

Happy thrifting!

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