Dear Fashionably Broke Friends,
Do you like to dress stylishly, but have no money in your bank account? Are you sick of spending $200 for two shirts and one pair of pants?? Do you keep telling yourself that you “actually know how to dress really well, but it’s just too expensive??? If you said “yes!” to any of those questions, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll give you, my fellow broke fashion-loving friends, my advice for Goodwill/thrift shopping! Oh and scroll to the very bottom to see my Goodwill look of the day!
The Back Story:
(p.s. scroll down to the bottom to get straight to the tips ⬇)
Last year, I changed my major from business to science. To celebrate, I donated all of my button-up shirts, hideous long skirts, and unflattering baggy dress pants. I could just hear my wardrobe giving me standing ovation.
This year, I changed my major from science back to business. Because of that, I decided to find an internship in my field for the summer. When I was hired, I asked what the dress code was for the company. I waited with baited breath – just praying that the fashion gods would smile upon me and I would hear the two most remarkable words in the professional dress code world: “business casual”. Instead, I heard the two most hated words in the professional dress code world:
After the phone call, I Charlie-Brown-Walked it back to my room to take a look at what my closet had to offer……
(disclaimer: I might be exaggerating just a little)
Since my closet had absolutely nothing, I searched Pinterest and all sorts of blogs to try and see if anyone had come up with outfit ideas that wouldn’t make me look like a secretary from the 50’s. Armed with a few ideas, I set out on my thrifty quest.
Since I refused to spend $50 on some blazer I would never wear outside of work, I decided to hit up Goodwill. $5.99 for a blazer? THAT I could handle.
Now, before you go to Goodwill, you have to mentally prepare yourself for what’s ahead. I only go a few times a year to stock up because it’s such a pain to sort through racks and racks of musty clothes with pit stains. Don’t get me wrong – it’s totally worth it. Because much like life, Goodwill shopping is also full of highs and lows.
Here are some of my tips for thrifting:
- Every man for himself. You see it, you like it, you grab it, girl.
- Look through every single aisle (that’s in your size range). You can sometimes find awesome pieces that you weren’t planning on getting, but realize it would go great with stuff you already have at home. Note: The best part about going outside your shopping list at Goodwill is that it’s only going to cost you like $20 bucks tops.
- Go with a few ideas of the general look you’re after. For me, I have a Pinterest board that’s dedicated entirely to the season or style (i.e. business professional) that I’m shopping for. Chances are you’re probably not going to find that exact thing, but you can find something close AND it can help get your creative juices flowing for other options.
- Try everything on. Since everything is so freaking cheap at Goodwill, it’s easy to just buy the clothes without taking time to try them on. Trust me, you’re going to want to try them on. It’s going to take awhile, but you’re going to be glad you did. A cart full of clothes quickly diminishes to about 6 items after I hit the changing room.
- The 80% Rule. I tend to find a lot of things I’m interested in at Goodwill. Just because I’m interested though, doesn’t mean I’ll actually wear it and like it when I get home. So, if I’m debating a piece, I put it to the 80% rule. If I’m 80% interested in this piece, then I’ll throw it in my cart and try it on. However, if I’m any less interested in it than that, I put it back. It’ll save you time and a lot of “what was I even thinking” thoughts in the dressing room.
- Take your time. This kind of goes with the second tip. Really take your time looking through everything at Goodwill. It’s incredibly tedious, but it’s the only way that you’re going to find anything. Block out at least an hour or two of your time (depending on how big your Goodwill is) to look through it all. Goodwill is different from other stores. Instead of walking in and thinking “There’s so many options – I want it all!”, Goodwill has you walking in and thinking “There’s so many options I don’t want at all. Where can I find the good stuff?”
Those are my tips. Try my advice out. It’s worked really well for me. If you have any other tips and tricks, please leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them!
Make sure you follow me to see posts on how I try to make business professional attire CREATIVE and MODERN. I’ll have some Goodwill purchased outfits in those blogs so you can hopefully get some inspiration for your own wardrobe and learn how you too can ball on a budget.
Until next time,
p.s. – The picture below is my Goodwill inspired outfit of the day. You can’t go wrong with a pop of color to brighten up a day at work.