I have always been infatuated with the story that lies behind every piece of second-hand clothing. Each garment that has been donated to second-hand thrift stores, carries a history of past times worn. Whenever I take home a piece of clothing from a thrift store, I always wonder about the person who owned it before me; what made them buy it and wear it, where did that person wear the piece to, how often, and how did the garment find itself on the rack of a second-hand clothing store.
This infatuation has taken me on a thrifting journey. My love for vintage fashion and self-expression through style and originality makes me a perfect candidate for the avid thrifter. To take my love to the next level, I embarked on a journey of swearing off all retail garments and only wearing clothing purchased from second-hand stores.
1. Why My Personal Style Is Perfect For Second Hand Clothes
Cutting off access to everything besides thrifted clothes, definitely made me realize how grateful I was for owning newly made clothes. Most second-hand stores carry minimal garments that match the trendy styles of our era. However, there are times when I will find a diamond in the rough, and really get a bang for my buck. For instance, I have found a solid collection of vintage Addidas, Champion, and Levis apparel, that I often see being sold by the brands again as a homage to their old style designs. My personal style uses inspiration from 90’s street trends, incorporating old school branded pieces and high waisted denim, so thrift stores serve as a type of haven, housing elements that support my fashion choices. I used to pair my thrift finds with newly made clothing for a multi-generational outfit, that no one else would have. Replacing this combination with second-hand clothing only became tricky for my styling options. However, my creativity and knowledge of past era trends served as my guide to this newly limited wardrobe.
2. A Lot Of Garment Manipulation & Creative Styling
I usually find garments that fit my style and flow with the throwback street styles of today. But at times it is difficult to find groovy pieces that don’t need to be manipulated to fit my choice of trends. While shopping at second-hand stores I would look at particular garments and think of creative ways to redesign lackluster clothing into a tend worthy pieces. To make new I tend to crop, cut, tie or sew until the piece of clothing becomes a brand new garment suited for my personal style choices and current fashion trends. My signature garment manipulation is tying the bottom of any kind of loose shirt into a knot, that sits right between my boobs and belly button (seen in the picture down below).
3. Trouble With Shoes And Accessories
Before I took the step to challenge myself by only dressing in second-hand clothes, seldom would I look to buy shoes or jewelry from the thrift stores I shopped at. From past experience, I found most of the shoes too distressed and quite frankly gross. The idea of slipping my feet where other strangers had been seemed very unsanitary. Unlike clothing, shoes are a whole nother monster to try and clean and usually take much more effort than throwing them through a cycle in the washer.
The jewelry sections at most thrift stores come few and far between. During my time visiting a plethora of secondhand shops, I found that each store shared almost perfect parallels of each other jewelry collections. Each collection shared the same pieces: chunky plastic bracelets and necklaces, oxidized faux gold chains and watches, and a damn good amount of godly broaches. Running across the limited selection of 80’s inspired accessories at each store was truly disappointing, as each piece of jewelry unsatisfied my personal tastes.
Due to the fact accessories and shoes were tricky to acquire, I had many uncompleted outfits. So I cheated. Still sticking to wearing only second-hand clothes, I had to add my own shoes and accessories to be able to fulfill my month long challenge.
4. Unexpected Compliments
Through my personal experience, I received a hefty amount of unexpected compliments. I didn’t think wearing second-hand outfits would deem me worthy of receiving the same amount of attention I would get wearing fashion-forward outfits compiled of newly made trendy pieces. I was shocked to receive so much flattery, having multiple people asking me where I got my outfit. The truth about my outfits origins had many people in disbelief and disappointed that they couldn’t get the same clothing piece that they adored on me. I often got praised for my originality, fueling my fire to go shop and create more one of kind outfits.
Walking into a thrift store makes me giddy with anticipation and elevates my mood instantly. I feel more comfortable shopping in this type of environment, as most second-hand clothing stores lack the same flamboyancy and equipped marketing as popular brick and mortar retailers. Although, retail shopping allows you to find almost any garment you desire quite easily, provides a plethora of on-trend choices, and is more predictable, shopping for secondhand clothing provides an opportunity to find a garment that no one else has.
My experience wearing only secondhand clothing for a month has me addicted to thrifting. I love the thrill of the search. Never do I enter a store expecting to find a particular piece, but instead I am always surprised by the collection I take out of the store. In addition, there is something to be said about the entire hunt. It takes patience and passion to sift through the ocean of miscellaneous pieces, poorly grouped into a couple selected categories. But the time taken to diligently swim through everything makes the assortment of clothes found feel like you just won a one-of-a-kind prize. Plus, the low prices of second-hand stores, like The Salvation Army, never make me feel any remorse about taking a huge haul home with me.