5 Great Reasons You Should Thrift

I love shopping at consignment and thrift stores. You never know what you’ll come across, and I’ve always managed to find real gems. Apart from feeling like you’re contributing to society by up-cycling goods that may’ve never had another chance, you’ll feel like you’re wearing unique pieces not accessible to every single person.

5 Good Reasons To Thrift Shop:

  1. Finding last season gems is always a fun find! Especially if they’re a classic piece you can style regardless of the trends.
  2. Saving Cash. Thrifting is a great way to scratch that shopping itch, and you save money by doing it.
  3. Finding pieces they don’t even sell in your country! So much win.
  4. Vintage treasures you’ll never regret finding. Think denim, skirts, boxy blouses, oversized sweaters!
  5. Amazing fur coats. They always have the best fur coats.

I recently found a light grey, slight cropped, cashmere polo neck sweater, made in Italy, for £4. You literally can’t go wrong.

Check it out here!

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Retail Stores Reviews, and Where You Could Be Shopping

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Retail stores are places that we have interesting relationships with. You’re dependent on some or you feel indifferent and unattached about others. Whether it’s the price point, or the styles that they offer, you’ll find yourself always gravitating to that one store where you always find the good stuff.

I love the shopping experience. I love walking around retail stores and looking at the set up, the price points, the styles, whether its shop-able and if the employees are nice people. Here are my personal opinions about 3 stores I’ve visited on numerous occasions and either had a dependent relationship with or an indifferent and unattached relationship.

 

 

JCrew

I wish I could love JCrew! They have great products and their stores are set up in an attractive way. But when I see a blouse and guess that it’s probably $30 (it’s polyester and the design is a normal sleeveless blouse, also H&M sells something similar), only to see that it’s actually $80, my heart breaks a little. You’re not paying for the garment, you’re paying for the JCrew name. And is the JCrew name really that special to you? To me, it’s not.

JCrew doesn’t seem like it’s geared towards to the woman who loves fashion, and who would then want to by multiple garments so she can have the whole look. As a woman, shopping at JCrew regularly could mean that you have an expendable budget and aren’t too worried about the quality of what you’re getting, or you’re oblivious. It might be for the girl who doesn’t really care about style and fashion, she just needs an outfit that looks good.

I, however, am not that girl. I’m looking for a bargain, for amazing clothes that are fashion forward and trendy with quality and prices to match. As it turns out, JCrew had to fire their lead designer due to massive financial losses, and hire a lead designer from their other company, Madewell. Perhaps we’ll see a change of friendliness to the average consumer in prices, or at least have quality that matches the price point. I would pay $80 for %100 silk or silk blend sleeveless blouse any day.

 

Mango

I’ve recently rediscovered my love for Mango. They’re at a higher price point but their garments are well made and you get what you pay for. The average top ranges in the $40 to $50 range with tee’s being in the $20 range, and then raw material tops being $80’s and up (suede etc). They have great pieces that you wouldn’t feel guilty purchasing, because the price point makes sense for the garment. I’d expect to pay $130 for the suede biker jacket but probably not much more than that. What I love about their price points is that it’s inviting and doesn’t smack you in the face. You feel like you can do business there without the shame of having to stick it on a credit card.

They also have the upper hand in that their clothing seems to be aimed at a more developed and mature woman. Their garments mostly don’t have the wild prints and abstract designs that you might find at places like Forever 21, where you wade till you find something you could actually wear as a late 20’s something girl and not look like a teenager. They do have cutting edge trend items, great garment designs and those one of a kind pieces that are must-haves. (Disclaimer: I do love some of Forever 21’s items and definitely their prices!)

Having Penelope Cruz and her gorgeous sister at the helm doesn’t hurt either. There’s a face that you know and trust. I’ve never been let down by Mango, but my gripe is that they don’t have enough brick and mortar stores!

 

Zara

I’m skipping right to Zara because they’re worth mentioning. Zara was the euro fashion house that found its way to our shores, and it’s introduction into american culture (as well as shops like H&M) was a breath of fresh air to our stale Abercrombie and Fitch and American Eagle counterparts. We loved the fresh cutting edge trends,  and the other companies saw an unfortunate downturn in sales as a result of the fast fashion movement, and amazing price points.

You might not believe me but Zara and H&M are quite similar in some respects. Both are vying for global domination, it seems, and are constantly battling the top charts of who’s bigger and has  more reach. They also have similar styles in some departments, though at different price points, and that’s where they differ.

You’ll be paying more for items at Zara, but to some style bloggers having the Zara name is more bearable than the other fast fashion giants like H&M and Forever 21, who are notorious for angsty crowds wading through stores looking for a bargain. (H&M’s saving grace, however, has been their collections and collaborations with major high end designers, which is what makes them unique in their field. They’ve made fashion accessible.)

The Zara customer is more refined and demure, they don’t beg for scraps and Zara has the attitude of you’ll either like or you won’t, and if you don’t it’s not our problem. Whereas places like H&M and Forever 21 have multiple departments each offering a vastly different style from the next. They want to cater to the masses. They want everyone. Zara only wants the style icon, or at the very least to make you into a style icon.

 

 

Let me know if you agree or disagree!

 

Where I Shop

Places I easily and willingly shop at are H&M; you can’t beat the collabs, and their Trend section is usually to die for. Their premium products are also usually amazing and their other stores like COS are amazing too. Also Zara, Mango, Next (amazing UK store), Forever 21 (I’m loving their Contemporary collections), and then the usual department and consignment stores. (TJMaxx, Macy’s etc). I also love theoutnet.com, asos.com, amazon.com (right??), shopbop.com and a host of other websites.

I love fashion, but because I’m a financially savvy person I’ve learned to shop for items that are great quality and at a fair price point. Know your materials! And invest in things like shoes, denim, coats, knit sweaters and basics. Everything else is just for fun and shouldn’t break the bank.

 

 

 

You Have Great Clothes, Crippling Debt and No Money. What Do You Do Now?

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It’s the ugly elephant in the room and the silent anxiety that follows us around. And although you fear the elephant, you also really love your latest clothing acquirement. However, you’ve had to freeze half of your credit cards because the debt is overwhelming, your credit is smashed, and your extra cash is going towards utilities and rent, and you stopped eating. Raise a hand if you’ve ever been there.

The struggle to be trendy and have the latest fashion pieces is super real, and your worst enemy is that things actually cost money. I’ve always loved clothing and sometimes would skip a meal or two because I had just snagged a new top or a skirt, because I had forgotten that I needed to eat. The secret to being successful with your finances isn’t to make more money because the more you make, the more you would inevitably spend. Marrying a wealthy man/woman is also not the answer to your woes because he/she might not be as spendy as you are (that’s why they’re wealthy….). The secret to your success with finances and fashion is in how you spend and how you save.  In order to be successful you’ll need a few things.

1. Work on getting rid of debt and get an accountability partner.

This is someone who can help you creep out of your debt by keeping you accountable for what you’re spending, someone who helps you make a budget. Total honesty and transparency is needed, because you’ll have to tell them everything. You might not think you need one, but trust me, it feels so amazing knowing that someone has your back. They can encourage you, ask you the hard questions, and also praise you when you’ve made a small victory. It has to be someone you trust, and someone who’s a little more savvy when it comes to money. Being honest, transparent, and willing to change is the key to success. If you don’t work on getting rid of debt now, it’ll always hang over your head.

2. A solid budget plan.

I was always useless when it came to budgeting, until my bills were falling behind and I had no clue how much money I had spent on dinner and drinks that month. After I started making a budget, it was so much clearer to see where my money was going, and what it needed to be saved for. It was also way easier to carve out a little shopping money, because every penny had been allocated. Whether it was food, rent, transportation etc, it all had a dollar amount attached to it. If you spent too much in one area, you had to take it out of another. Credit cards weren’t an option (at one point I had maxed them out). Take any left over money and put it into savings.

3. An aggressive attitude towards finding the best deals.

Don’t take Uber just because it’s convenient. If it’s costing too much to travel, then it’s time to look for a cheaper alternative. Is it less glamorous? Yes. Will it probably take longer? Yes. Will it save you money in the end? Yes. Sometimes it means moving closer to work, or if that’s not an option then car pooling with friends, taking the train, or even finding something closer to home. Is it within biking or walking distance? Those are great alternatives if you live in the city.

4. Learn how to differentiate between needs and wants.

There are certain wardrobe items that we all need. And as a style-loving girl, you’ll know exactly what wardrobe basics you should have. If you don’t, then it’s time to choose a wise friend and go through your closet together. Purge all the nonsensical things. It’s much easier to live off the “needs” with a few “wants”, than to have a closet brimming with random things that were pretty once or twice but have since lost its glimmer. When you’re out shopping, ask yourself if you need the Giambattista Valli sandals or whether you just want them. Can you find similar styles elsewhere, or get them secondhand. Are you buying them because of the brand, or because of the style.

5. Downsizing.

Your clothes are a great asset and selling things you don’t wear is an excellent way to get extra cash. That includes items that are still amazing, but that you haven’t worn in a while. If you didn’t wear it in the last 3 months (basic weather related clothing aside) then it can probably go. If you have shoes that are cute, but you know aren’t really in style, then sell them. Get any extra cash you can out of your wardrobe and use it to pay bills. Some great sites for selling is Vestiaire Collective, Tradesy, Vinted and obviously Ebay.

6. Thrifting, H&M, Forever 21, Zara and sale racks.

These are your new best friends. As gut wrenching as that sounds to the girl who spends freely and expensivley, you have to face the consequences of your decisions, and you’ll realize that the brand names are a no-go for now. I actually love going into consignment or thrift stores because I always find amazing things at a fraction of the cost, and it feels like treasure hunting. I found my all time favorite vintage silk blouse at a thrift store for $1.00 and it was perfect. These places are great for vintage pieces as well, especially denim. H&M and Forever 21 and a slew of other bargain stores have really great stuff for reasonable prices, and they have great sales. These places are musts.

Society teaches us that we deserve to be instantly gratified, and that if we want something, we should just have it. Sadly, this isn’t what builds long-term wealth and it causes more frustration and headaches, especially if you’re married. Think long-term solutions so that you can enjoy the finer things in life when it actually matters. You don’t want to be old and totally down and out because you threw all your money at $20 drinks and hundreds of dollars at a pair of shoes when you couldn’t really afford it.

Yay to financial freedom!!

Let me know if this article was helpful! Do you agree? Disagree? We’re all on the same journey.