Thursday, April 4, 2013

What Kind of People Thrift Shop?

I think that Black women should really look into becoming thrifters. I aim this at Black women because I hear the statistics about how they don't have enough savings and thrifting is a great way to save money yet still get all the clothing and items you want and need. You can look very fashionable and people can't tell that you thrift shop if you don't want them too. You can keep it a secret and just have people believe that you can afford to buy everything full price ; ) So if you need to save money because you are underemployed, a student, or just want to save money, then thrifting is definitely for you. It's a great way to start off your feminine wardrobe or get professional wardrobe for job hunting or your new career.

Have you ever noticed that when you go to the mall the clothing items are very similar? That's because stores follow fashion trends so different stores will carry very similar items. Also, they will only carry items from the current fashion season which is again being trendy. On the other hand, at thrift stores you can often find things that are actually on trend because fashion trends come and go and old fashion trends come back. So why spend $80 on a pair of skinny jeans made last month when you can spend $5 on a retro pair (well if you like skinny jeans). Instead of just buying what's available and trendy at the moment and using that to determine your style, at a thrift store you can choose from at least 30 years of fashion. If you shop vintage of course you can shop and create a style from several decades of fashion. With more options you have the ability to create a unique style and look different from everyone you know.

You can also alter thrift store clothes and not worry too much about ruining the items. I finally got a sewing machine so I can alter the things I buy to fit me perfectly and I can also transform clothing items into totally new pieces! My first two projects were turning a t-shirt into a pencil skirt and making a loose skirt into a pencil skirt and they look great! So this will make thrift shopping a totally new experience because I can buy items just for the fabric (it's really expensive to buy from fabric stores), buttons, zippers, straps, and whatever I need to make my own projects. I have to goal of making every item in my wardrobe wearable. So large items will be resized, small items will be given away or somehow made into larger items, or I will take parts of the small items (e.g., buttons, zippers etc.) and use them to make new items. I barely shop in retail stores anymore so I could make it a goal to not buy any new (i.e., non-thrifted) clothing items for a year (well except for underwear of course).

I have quite a few projects already lined up: 1) add snaps in between cardigan buttons so that they close without leaving unflattering gaps (instead of cursing the size of my chest lol); 2) turning full skirts into pencil skirts; 3) turning dresses into skirts or even peplum tops; 4) turning mens suits into skirts, dresses or dress suits; 5) revamping old dress suits into more modern styles; 6) turning knit shirts and t-shirts into pencil skirts in many colours...and the list goes on.

So, some of you might be wary of thrift shopping so I wanted to show you some videos of some people who thrift shop. You might be surprised! They look very fashionable and well put together with great individual styles. Many of the vloggers below have multiple thrifting videos that you can watch. Notice all the name brands, store labels, and designer labels they mention. Also remember you can get great household items and fashion accessories from thrift shops too. Shopping vintage and buying antiques is no different from are buying previously owned and used items. Also, all those celebrities you look to for fashion ideas, a lot of them have stylists who choose their clothes and styles, they often get clothes for free, and they can afford expensive items while you can't. You have to live within your reality instead of trying to live the celebrity lifestyle you can't afford. Instead of spending money on clothes, spend it on your education, health, property, savings, and investments because those things are way more important :)


  1. The stores usually have the newer or better garments in the front of the store with some clothes still having the tags on them.

  2. I've been thinking of sewing lessons and I definitely have some projects planned, it's great that you are off to such a great start with your sewing.

    The idea of thrifting appeals to me for many reasons (frugality, environment, vintage is often better quality) I do think though that in my not so big city it is harder to find things. I feel like if I lived in the U.S. I could just thrift without ever having to enter a mall! I do own a few gems from second hand stores so I will try to increase the proportion of my clothing that I buy second hand :)

    Good article!

  3. I love thrifting and have been doing it for many years now! Initially, I started as a way to find inexpensive yet name brand baby clothes. But, noticed the great quality and bargains available for women's clothing as well. Thrifting helps keep our clothing budget low and truly most people never guess the clothes are second hand. And, when I made the change to dresses and skirts only, I was able to overhaul my entire wardrobe by shopping the thrift stores - and it was very affordable!

    Just this morning while thrifting, I found a cute, navy blue, size 2 A-line dress (Petite Sophisticate). It will look great with my pearls and the pair of vintage, crochet lace gloves I bought the past weekend!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  4. Wow--getting a sewing machine sounds like a good investment! I've been putting off buying it for about five years now (I kid you not).

    Also, I really need to start being on the lookout for good thrift stores. I'm actually transitioning from student to young professional, so I would like to feminize my wardrobe and donate the majority of my college clothes to charity. Buying from thrift and discount stores would certainly help me money wise. I haven't really found many in my area, but I'm sure there are if I look closely.

  5. GoneInternationalApril 7, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    "4) turning mens suits into skirts, dresses or dress suits"

    This is genius! I have been looking for some material/fabrics to have some winter skirts sewn, but I like this idea better. The material for men's suits has that heavy duty feel I'm looking for, so this would be perfect.

  6. This post has some very good advice. Also there's a lot to be said for trying out consignment or thrift stores in or near the nicer areas.

  7. Kia here! - Blogger from Beyond Black White!

    I know you've said you like vintage women's clothing.
    I came across the artist Gil Elvgren a few years ago.
    I like the way he painted women in a feminine style of dress.
    Though he didn't paint black women -
    I simply imagined how black women like Dorothy Dandridge
    would have dressed during that era, and of today too.
    Besides Angelique Noire - I know there are no other black
    pin up models.
    Tell me what you think by responding below my comment!


    Gil Elvgren - Wikipedia

    Kings Galleries His Real Pin Ups

    Elvgren Real Pin Up Models

    1. My most popular post on this site is Pinup girl style for Black women Yes I've seen his work. It's a style that I like for myself. There are some other black pin up models on Tumblr and Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt and a few others were pinup models. I think they took photos, they were not painted though.

  8. From Kia - Forgot to add - how black women today can modernize pin up
    style cltohing to make it work for them today.

  9. Ah the joys of being talented with a sewing machine! Makes me feel stupid and lazy now because I never took an interest in it : ) ! In small town USA thrift shopping in Salvation Army, Goodwill and other similar places is great because those shops will be quite large, very overlooked, ignored and quite cheap. But in big cities like NYC of course those organisations' shops will be cleaned out of all the decent things and the fancy over-priced vintage and consignment shops will sell the great thrift and vintage items and jack up the prices especially if they sell designer vintage.I live in London, UK these days and the thrift shopping here can be so excellent alot of the time as many charitable and fund raising organisations for cancer, against hunger, blindness etc. have shops up and down London and in other parts of the UK but even those shops get mixed reviews from me because you can get great clean, un-torn up finds and even designer finds in the richer parts of London of course where the rich ladies clear out their closets of clothes and shoes from five seasons ago but of course the poorer sides of town will have the same charity shops that barely get anything decent. LOL In the Notting Hill in London, there's a chain of consignment shops that sell women's vintagw, wonen's designer thrift, men's thrift and vintage and even old music LPs and CDs that are all owned by this older Jewish guy and one of the shops for women that he has especially is a haven for women who want to buy the designer bags and shoes that rich women through out 10 seasons ago or even 10 years ago.

    1. Whoops! Sorry about my spellcheck deficiency! LOL I'm on a Galaxy android too! Those rich ladies THREW out their old clothes and shoes from 10 seasons ago! My apologies.

  10. I was on the blog Crafty Gemini and she suggested that the Janome 11542/Kenmore 19106 is a great sewing machine for beginners. I'm not sure if links are allowed in the comment section so I havn't posted it but if you go to her blog you will see the post on March 5th. :)

    Also there is an $40 online sewing course from Universal Class.

    1. Silly me links are allowed! Here they are: