Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dressing YOUR body: thrifting

I received a reader question this past week regarding "thrifting".  I thought it might be interesting to discuss this in a post and explain a little bit about my approach.
My Mom is a frugal shopper so I've known from an early age about the deals that can be found.  While growing up, hitting up a huge sale or finding a gem at a thrift store (and/or hand-me-downs) was how I acquired my wardrobe.  
I've never been a girly girl.  Frills and lace weren't really my thing, except for the occasional Christmas or Easter church dress.  I played outside with the boys and could get dirty with the best of them.  I have two older brothers, so it was play outside with them or play Barbies inside all by myself! :)  If you know me, you know that I would much rather be around people!!
As I recall, it wasn't until I got a job and began shopping on my own more that clothes and accessories became "my thing".  I started baby-sitting at 12 yrs old and have had a consistent job since that time, so it isn't as if this story begins 21 or anything! :)  I also need to include in here that I have been the same build since I was 15 or so (maybe younger!).  You get pretty good at sizing up clothes vs. your frame after looking at the same size for so long.
To me, that is one of the bonuses of thrifting!  I can usually glance over an item and tell if it will work for me.  My style has emerged somewhat over the years, but my core style hasn't changed. From that first glance in the store, I know if things will work for me and can pretty much tell you how I would style it.  * I will add here, blogging has helped me add more color in my wardrobe and certainly become a little more creative than I was on my own!
I do have some amazing thrift stores (consignment, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc) in my area and that certainly helps my desire to return and look for that gem, BUT I have to add that the frequency in which you shop certainly helps you find those deals.  Now, I'm a goal oriented shopper...I do not browse long.  I go in with a certain area to browse or a certain item in mind.  I do not go up and down every aisle touching or glancing over everything...that drives me crazy!
Because I enjoy clothes and shopping, I use to go often - once or twice a week isn't stretching the truth.  I would go on Saturday or during the week on my lunch break.  That was my "me" time.  Because my budget doesn't allow for that much shopping at Gap, J.Crew or even Target, I enjoyed the occasional gem I could find through thrifting.  Some of my favorite pieces are ones I have found at a garage sale or thrift store.  No shame here!!  

I no longer feel like I have the time to shop this much.  Priorities and schedules have definitely changed over the last years/months, but I still enjoy the occasional find that makes me feel like it was worth my time to stop in and look around! :)  
I'm no expert on the subject...dressing your body type or thrifting!  However, there are some basic "rules" to keep in mind for any kind of shopping.  Here are a few that work for me:
  1. Know your body and what styles work for you.  Wear items you like and feel good in.  Nothing puts a damper on your mood than feeling like you look frumpy all day!  Trust me, I know this!
  2. Know your closet and the items/colors you are lacking - write this down or keep a mental note.  You will see as your browse a store that those are the items you start to notice more and more.
  3. Be confident and try new things - hello, have you seen how most people go out in public?  If you put any sort of effort into getting ready in the morning, you should be just fine! :)
  4. Layer or have fun with accessories.  My opinion would be to do this in moderation!  You don't want to look like a clown or draw attention for negative reasons.
  5. Wear clothes that fit you!  Seems simple enough, but I see so many people try to make items work that are either too big or too small to fit their bodies. Not a good idea!  It would make more sense to buy less items and have them altered (if that is your problem) than to have a closet full of clothes that do not fit.  And...just because it was your favorite pair or jeans or sweater 20 pounds ago doesn't mean it actually still fits you properly now.  Save the $5 from cutting out Starbucks and find yourself a gem at your local thrift store.
  6. I'm going to add a rule here that some may not agree with - - Be modest!  I realize we all have different opinions about what this means (and I fully respect that as I want others to do for me!) but may I just add that if this is something that crosses your mind when you are dressing, it probably isn't a line you are crossing.  In the past few months I have been told several times from both men & women that they appreciated my modest appearance...and I appreciate that!  
 So those are my thoughts...as unfounded and random as they may be.  
What are your thoughts on the subject?


Kelly said...

I love your blog! I also love that you are modest and that you can find such awesome clothes at thrift stores! I don't know if wearing dresses/skirts is a personal conviction of yours or if you just enjoy wearing them...or both like it is for me. :) My third baby (in a short amount of time) is due in a couple weeks, and I look forward to getting back into shopping for cute stuff. I've found that it's really really hard to find cute maternity clothes at thrift stores. Thankfully I haven't gotten "huge" with any of my pregnancies so I've been able to wear some larger sizes of regular stuff. Anyway, I just wanted you to know I appreciate your blog. You are an inspiration to me!

Brittany said...

Good post! I too, appreciate modesty, as well as a great thrifty find!

Maria said...

Great tips! You must have some great thrift stores around because you always seem to get awesome deals! I love that you can look stylish, cute, and professional all while maintaining your modesty. You are definitely a fashion Inspiration.

Jessica said...

You are one amazing thrifter! Thanks for all the tips. I love thrifting for my home decor, I've scored some amazing stuff for cheap.

NatalieJo said...

I loved this post Leah...SUCH cute outfits you are wearing here. Thanks for all the tips...clothes have obviously never been my thing, but your blog makes me wish they were! :) Love ya!

Leanne Helums said...

Thanks for this post. You always look cute and put together. Everything always works great on you. I think I need to go thifting with a focus and purpose(I think that is where I get overwhelmed). I love your modest rule. :)

simplyfarmhouse said...

Amazing find..I wish we had great consignments and good will. They are way over shopped. Love the ideas that you put together.