As every fashion-minded college girl has experienced lately, the economy is not only taking a toll on our wallets but our shopping capabilities as well. At times I have been utterly discouraged trying to keep up with fashion trends due to my lack of available clothing funds. I have fortunately had a fashion spending epiphany since returning from the center of the fashion universe, Europe, where I spent a glorious semester in Florence, Italy. The Italian women absolutely nail the effortlessly chic look, which made me wonder how they manage to maintain this on a daily basis with tight budgets. Surely not every woman in Italy was growing money on trees, so what was their secret? It dawned on me after my second month in Firenze that the key to their style genius was their belief in investing in classic staples. Once they mastered the basics that could be re-worn in a variety of ways, then they spent less on trendier items that inevitably disappeared after only a few seasons in order to stay on top of must-have looks.
To achieve a complete and ever-current wardrobe, one does not have to spend endless amounts of cash on brand new clothes every few months to stay on trend. After coming to terms with this idea, I decided to see for myself if “thrifting” really held the answer to my monetary constraints. I selected the Goodwill by Perimeter Mall as my subject and headed over with low expectations as to what I would find. To my great surprise, I sighed in relief when I realized how neatly organized and “Roy G.Biv”ed the racks were laid out. My first stop was the dress section where I selected a few denim dresses, a funky blue tulle overcoat, and a black Banana Republic knee-length dress (Goldmine!). The jean dresses unfortunately made me look like a 6-year old ready to play hopscotch, and the Indian-influenced jacket was a tad much for wearing around campus. Lo and behold, the winner was the BR dress, which was streamlined, classic, and probably retails for around $100. This was my first treasure I found amongst the sea of wacky used clothes.
Next I ventured over to the jeans section, stopping along the way to pick up a black-and-white peplum top. As I scoured the aisles for a pair of suitable “mom jeans” to cut into high-waisted hot pants, I came across a pair of Citizens of Humanity designer jeans in my size…for a whopping $6! A satisfied grin took over my face as I pulled the jeans on in the dressing room and realized that their worn-in appeal was perfect. They fit like a glove and normally sell for anywhere from $130-200 a pair! This was steal number three for me. The peplum top was flattering and for $5, why not? After discovering the ideal subject for my jean shorts project, my Goodwill shopping excursion came to a blissful end.
My total came out to a miniscule $25 and I drove home with 4 items that would’ve cost me close to $400 if purchased at full price. Lesson to be learned folks, don’t let the fear of disorganization or laziness hold you back from thifting. You could miss out on super-savings that will leave you more money to spend on other designer staples, like that Michael Kor’s snakeskin clutch that you’ve been eyeing for months. I promise you won’t regret it, you just need a little fashion faith and a creative approach to your style to save big and look flawless.