Earlier I spilled my guts about why I am now committed to buying secondhand clothing. Now I’m going to show you exactly how I’ve done it! I’m still quite new to secondhand clothing, but I have been delightfully surprised at the options both locally in Portland and online.
First, a few disclaimers:
:: I am not a fashion expert. I have spent my life just copying people I think are cute, which means I’m not on the cutting-edge. What you’ll find with me is basic, modest, and hopefully with a touch of trendy.
:: I am in my late thirties and have no intention of trying to convince people that I’m younger than I am. I think 38 is pretty cool, and I don’t mind if I “look” like my age. Obviously, I want to be a cute 38, but if you’re 24 and thinking “Man, this is not trendy” I won’t be offended.
:: The pictures in this post do not include me in the clothes. I don’t really trust my husband or kids to take a flattering picture of me, so you’re getting the “on the hanger look” for now. I do hope to turn this into weekly feature with pictures of actual people, including me, because I know seeing how clothing actually fits on a human body is much more inspiring.
:: My motivation for shopping secondhand is social, not financial. Even before this challenge, I was totally okay spending money on clothing that was well-made and I liked. You may see how much I spent on a piece and think, “I’d be able to get that sweater for $4 on clearance with a coupon at Target.” True. But remember, I have made the choice to not shop Target for new clothing, so that option is off the table for me. Plus, I’m seeing the benefit of spending $15 on a well-made sweater that won’t stretch out all funky after it’s washed and worn for a season.
Here are some outfits I’ve created using secondhand items and pieces already in my wardrobe:
Cardigan: Gap (secondhand from Twice — $15); Shirt & Jewelry: My closet
I would wear either the necklace or the bracelets, not both at the same time.
I love rolling up the sleeves on a wintery jacket to make it more wearable for spring.
Shirt: Forever 21 (secondhand from The Wardrobe Consignment Store — $4.50); Jacket: My closet
Necklace: My closet
Lee Jeans (secondhand from Salvation Army — $3.99); JAG Corduroy Pants (secondhand from Salvation Army — $4.50); Kut Jeans (secondhand from Superkids Resale — $3)
I always thought Lee Jeans were “mom jeans,” but they really fit nicely, especially if you’re looking for a bit of something to hold in your mama pouch.
I love, love, love mustard and navy together. I’m sure it’s more of an autumn combo, but who cares.
Cardigan: Gap (secondhand from Twice — $15); Tank: My closet
Don’t get distracted by the lace in the back. I wear a ivory tank under the striped tank (for both “coverage” and to cover my bra straps), but was wearing it the day of the photo shoot.
This cardigan is a bit too small for me right now, but I’m keeping it for when I shrink another size or two. It’s good to have a couple of clothing items that encourage your weight loss :).
Cardigan: Urban Outfitters (secondhand from Twice — $12); Shirt: My closet; Necklace: Mexico (vacation purchase!)
Adorable skirt (secondhand from The Wardrobe Consignment Store — $12)
Citizens of Humanity Jeans (secondhand from The Wardrobe Consignment Store — $37.50)
Ladies, there is a difference between expensive and inexpensive jeans. Anyone who tells you different is either a size 2 and fits perfectly into anything or has never put on an expensive pair of jeans. These crop jeans cost $37.50. I know, crazy. But these bad boys are upwards of $200 new, they feel and look awesome, and I’ll be able to consign them when I’m tired of them. And by “crop jeans” I mean pedal-pusher length. I am firmly, firmly against capri jeans that end right under the knee or go mid-calf. I don’t need any pants helping to make my short legs look any shorter.
I think I’ve found a good strategy for shopping secondhand:
1. Shop Salvation Army’s 50% off sale on Wednesday (call your store to confirm the 50% off day) or other generic thrift store, and garage sales for as much as possible, especially for transition clothing (like if you’re losing weight or in the early stages of pregnancy). I consider the SA my new Target or Old Navy — the place I shop for generic pieces like plain shirts, everyday jeans, etc.
2. Shop local consignment stores for items I’d really like to try on, like high-end jeans and fitted jackets/blazers. You can also consign your clothing and make around 50% of the sale price. I am looking forward to trying out the local stores you all recommend!
3. Shop online clothing resellers like Twice, thredUP, and ebay for higher-end clothing that you don’t necessarily need to try on, like cotton shirts, blouses, and cardigans. It really helps if you know your size in different brands. For instance, I know I fit into medium shirts from Gap and JCrew, small shirts from Ann Taylor, and large shirts from The Limited and Abercrombie.
It’s also helpful to have a measuring tape as you shop to make sure skirts, shirts, shorts, and skirts are the correct length for you. I’ve measured my favorite skirts to know what length I’m looking for.
I am absolutely in love with Twice. It’s an online site that sells higher-end, secondhand clothing. If you create your account through this link you’ll get a $10 credit. Shipping is FREE on orders $49+ or $5. Twice accepts returns and even pays the shipping to send them back, so there’s really no risk in trying something. Make sure you “like” Twice on Facebook to get a 20% off code that works with your $10 sign-up credit!
thredUP is also offering $10 off your first order when you create your account through this link plus FREE shipping when you use the code SHIPMAY13 at checkout. You can return items with thredUP, but you have to pay the shipping. thredUP also sells children’s clothing.
I would love to compile a huge list of Pacific Northwest consignment and thrift stores that you all recommend. Leave a comment with your favorite places (with a link to their website or Facebook page if possible) and I’ll put together a post!
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