Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!


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Thrift-Shop Thursday: The Online Experience

I was thinking this week about how lucky I am to live near so many fantastic thrift shops, when it suddenly occurred to me to wonder about those of you who don’t. Maybe you live in a rural area, or a residential-only suburb, or perhaps it’s physically difficult to get around. Whatever the issue is, what can you do to feel the thrift-shopping thrill?

What about bargain-hunting online? Okay, maybe clicking and typing is not as visceral an experience as riffling through rack after rack in a thrift or consignment shop, but it’s always exciting to find something beautiful/unique/inspiring— especially when it’s discounted!

So where do you start? There are the usual big-name thrifty suspects, like eBay and Amazon, each with their bargain specialties. On eBay, check out their Daily Deals page; today they’re featuring electronic-related items (including 20% off an iTunes gift card). eBay is also a wonderful source for vintage clothing and collectibles, among many other categories. Personally, I’ve used eBay mostly for buying and selling yarn, fabric, and patterns; there are amazing bargains to be found in these categories.

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Thrift-Shop Thursday: A Postscript

You know, it just occurred to me that you may not yet be familiar with thrift shops in your neighborhood. And I must admit I habitually go to the same 2 (mentioned in my last post), because they’re both within 5 or 6 minutes of where I live. Out of curiosity, I just did a quick search (“thrift shop” plus my zip code), and got some surprising results, including a thrift/consignment shop described as “upscale”; it’s inside a performing-arts venue, so I doubt I would notice it just driving by the building. Its website also says that profits go towards maintaining and improving the entire performing-arts facility, which means that shoppers are helping to support an important local organization. So in addition to the well-known thrift-shop chains like Value Village, Salvation Army, and Goodwill, you might just discover a local gem that’s also worth supporting!

Ooh, look what I just found: a national thrift-shop directory! Just put in your city or zip code, and voila! And this site includes an online community, as well as advice on thrift and consignment shopping. Even if you’ve already done your own local search, going to another search engine can yield surprisingly different results.

Happy thrift shopping, everyone! Oh, and please do let me know when you make a great thrift-shop score, okay? I’d love to do a regular feature out of your shopping triumphs!


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Thrift-Shop Thursday: Shopping Strategies, Part 1

After last week’s Thrift-Shop Thursday’s big debut (featuring the ever-popular replace-a-button tutorial), it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to talk shopping strategies for a minute, before going on to more thrift-shop-find projects.

Tip: These strategies, while thrift-shop-specific in this post, can also apply to any clothes shopping you do; the only real difference between the two is that you’ll have more size options outside of thrift shops.

Rather than just giving you a list of general shopping concepts, I’m going to use my current Makeover Monday/Take Tango to Work series to illustrate these principles in action. In my last MM post, I talked about how to organize a plan to develop a multi-functional wardrobe; here, I’ll follow up on those steps with details, including how I’m putting my own plan to good use at my favorite thrift shops.

Starting with your general plan, you’ll get a bit more specific:

1. Decide what types of garments are your immediate priority. Do you desperately need skirts? Maybe you’re short on trousers, or need more simple tops that can be worn alone or as layering pieces. From here, get even more specific, if possible: black knee-length skirt, classic navy wool trousers, colorful printed knit pullover tops.

What I’m doing: Since I need clothes that can go from work to tango (see my recent Makeover Monday posts for details), I’m focusing my shopping efforts on skirts and dresses, specifically, pencil skirts and sheath dresses, both of which are commonly worn in Argentine tango, and both of which are also work-appropriate. And I need professional-looking jackets and more colorful tops (I’m getting tired of black). I’m also adding a “wild card” space to my list, to cover those unexpected finds, like my pinstriped skirt that I found while shopping for tops. Continue reading