A Brand New Wardrobe, WIthout Spending a Penny
I have put the brakes on my spending. I had to. I wasn't spending all that much, but the belt here, bag there, jeans here, top there was adding up to an additional monthly expense - and I just can't justify it when I want to do things like get swimming lessons for the kidlet. Of course, after I made peace with this decision, I almost instantly ran into a dilemma - my wardrobe isn't really built for summer and here in Louisiana it gets HOT. In other words - I can't exactly recycle my sweaters into something I can wear year-round.
My wardrobe needs an overhaul. What's a non-spending gal to do?
I went on a treasure hunt. It started in my closet. A Calvin Klein dress that I have only worn once and think makes me look a bit chubby. A great dress from ModCloth that I intended to return because it was too big, but just never got around to it. The Steve Madden shoes that I love and paid a fortune for, but just can't walk in. All of the things that I tried on, bought, thought I loved, and wore once. Or twice. Or maybe I just don't wear it anymore, even it it was fantastic. I gathered it all together into a nice little stack on my bed, and then I carefully placed it all in a bag.
I went vintage. I like to say "vintage" because I think it sounds better than "thrift store" and frankly, I'm still a little snobby. Hey, at least I admit it. I took my clothes to a great place called Buffalo Exchange which is basically a high-end thrift store - and it's a chain (click the link to see if there is one in a city near you!). The experience forever changed my view of "thrifting" as some affectionately call it. Basically I brought in my gently worn clothing, they sifted through it, and offered me cash or trade on the spot. It was a great way to get rid of stuff that I don't wear AND find new treasures to take home. Here are a few tips from my experience:
1. Search for a store in a high-end neighborhood or part of the city. Think of it this way - the better the neighborhood, the higher the income, the better the clothes at the store in the area. In other words, you're more likely to find designer duds at these locations.
2. Bring stuff and TRADE, don't just sell. I got way more store credit at Buffalo Exchange for my trade than I would have gotten had I just taken cash - which was fine since I turned around and spent it back in the store anyway. I feel like I walked away with more for my trade this way, than if I had just taken cash.
3. Be prepared to dig. Think of it as a treasure hunt. You might have to go through racks and racks of clothing. You have to be creative. You have to know what you already have in your closet that you can mix the items with, but it will all be worth it when you get a compliment on your new find and you can honestly say "oh, it's vintage".
4. Hug your kids, then leave them at home. Seriously, it's hard enough looking at a bazillion one of a kind pieces (trying things on, making decisions) as an adult - don't subject your kids (or the rest of the store) to that. Make it a girls day out and give the kiddos a day with dad.
5. Shop accessories! The best finds for me were in the accessories department - belts, shoes, bags, even LUGGAGE were aplenty - not to mention any piece of jewelry that you could ever need to punch up that new dress you've just snatched up. Belts are an obsession of mine and there were lots on hand - in colors that I would typically not spend money to buy, but at those prices - how could I resist!
6. Have fun! Bring a friend, go early, make a day of it! Have lunch somewhere nice and chat about your purchases. You'll have a better time if you aren't in a rush and have someone to laugh with.