How to keep current on a shoestring budget
By Brittney MacDonald, Contributor
I’ve never been a trend follower. Most of the time I just go for what I feel comfortable in and what I believe looks good without much care for what’s popular. Some may call this laziness, but I call it a fashion identity—one that takes a bit of work to maintain when the seasons change.
Even if you don’t subscribe to Vogue or Cosmo, updating a wardrobe that you’ve grown tired of can be expensive. So imagine my horror when I pull out my summer clothes, only to realize that most of my hot weather wardrobe has disappeared to some unknown galaxy far away , and all I’m left with is a single pair of shorts and some tank tops I no longer find flattering. Luckily I’ve developed a tried and true system to please any frugal shopper that wants to look good in any season.
Every savvy shopper knows the benefits of Value Village. It’s cheap, and those new-to-you leather shoes are already broken in! Of course there are downsides. The clothes can be stained, much of it comes from people donating after dear old grandma has “passed on,” and sometimes it will smell like pee. So unless you want to be a urine-soaked hoodlum in a granny sweater and Crocs, here’s some advice on how to get the best out of your second-hand experience:
The easiest way to avoid disaster when it comes to thrift stores is to find one in a wealthy neighbourhood. Generally you’ll find clothes that are in better shape, and sometimes with the tags still on. My personal favourite is the Value Village in Coquitlam along Barnet. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone there and found brand new items from well-known brands for under $10. It’s worth the effort of digging out that U-Pass and making the journey if you’re in a bind and need an outfit, or if you’re shopping to replenish that depressingly-empty closet
eBay is a great way to get fairly decent quality clothes for next to nothing, as long as you don’t mind waiting by the mailbox. This works well for people that want a certain aesthetic, and are fairly easy-going about fit. You can’t try the clothes on beforehand so you’re pretty much buying blind. The cheapest clothes come out of Asia and Europe, so you also need to take into account the fact that their sizes run small.
eBay is fairly easy to use: just list your options by cheapest including shipping costs, and be aware that lot prices are subject to change. It is an auction site after all. If you want to keep your costs down, don’t fall in love with and then get into a bidding war over that adorable, must-have minidress. Reconcile your feelings, eat a pint of ice cream, and move on.
Creativity can turn an unattractive outfit into a couture masterpiece! Okay, maybe not really, but it sounds pretty fancy doesn’t it? Websites like Pinterest and YouTube are inspiring many people to drag out the scissors and personalize what they wear, sometimes without even having to pick up a needle and thread (search for “no sew” options). This works out well in the long-run because adding detail to anything automatically makes it look more expensive. It’s also a great way to cover up that stain on your Motley Crue T-shirt that you refuse to throw out.