Fashion Tips & The Art of Thrifting: Spring Edition

By Sarah Neal

In Texas, the transition from winter to spring happens relatively quickly. One day you can be marshmallowed in layers of sweaters and thermals and the next day will be skirt-appropriate. It can be tough trudging through this fickle southern weather in style, so I wanted to provide a few tips for a smooth winter to spring transition that won’t require you to blow all of that income tax money you just got back. Additionally, I want to extend some helpful pointers on how to organize your space so that when the time for spring cleaning does come—it’s approaching my friends—you’ll be fully equipped.

#1: How to Re-vamp Your Wardrobe on a Budget:

Thrifting: Oftentimes I find myself looking through my closet thinking, “None of these clothes represent my current style.” We’re always changing and growing as people, and our clothing choices have a tendency to reflect our state-of-mind. I believe it’s so important for us to allow ourselves to express who we are through fashion, but sometimes it can be difficult on our pocketbooks. That’s why clothing stores like Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet are so awesome. You can take your old clothes that either don’t fit well enough, don’t represent your in-flux style (or clothes that perhaps you got as a gift but you’ll never wear, but don’t worry, we won’t tell), and these places will buy your clothing from you in exchange for store credit. It is amazing, but before you go into your closet and stuff twenty pounds worth of t-shirts and polos and ill-fitting scratchy sweaters into trash bags to sell at Buffalo or Plato’s, let me tell you: there’s a slight catch. These stores don’t take everything because if they did they wouldn’t ever sell anything. They’re looking for trendy stuff, clothes that are different or in-season.

For example: I went to Buffalo Exchange recently and sold a pair of classic boots and some cardigans and a unique purse that I thrifted a while back. They took the boots and cardigans because the weather has been chilly lately, and the majority of their customers are coming into the store to find season-appropriate clothing. And the purse was different, so they thought it added variety to their bag selection. These are the kinds of things they purchase, and in exchange I got about sixty dollars in store credit which I used to embellish my wardrobe for the chilly months of January and February. Wardrobe revamp: check!

If you do end up going to Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet and you find that they didn’t accept any of your things, don’t worry about it. There’s always another option. Places like Goodwill and Thrifttown accept donations on a daily basis, and although your donation doesn’t provide you with store credit, it can be an awesome way to clean out an over-worn wardrobe while also helping folks, like yourself, upgrade their closet without having to spend too much cash.

Minimalism: The importance of quality over quantity is something I cannot stress enough. Choose the pair of jeans that are actually made out of jean material instead of buying five pairs of jeans at Forever 21. The sturdy ones, though pricier, will outlast the cheaply made ones, and when the synthetic pants are starting to stretch and tear, you’ll thank yourself. I like to think about staple wardrobe items as investments. You save up to buy a good pair of jeans, a nice handbag, and a nice pair of shoes and everything else can be rotated cheaply. For these articles, you’re going to want to look at stores like Madewell, Lucky Brand, AG, and Nordrstrom. The smaller, rotatable items of your wardrobe are where places like Forever 21 come in—you can buy inexpensive earrings, rings, scarves and basic tees for layering here, and while trends in these departments shift, you can always count on your classic jeans, bag and shoes to be timeless. Implementing well-made staple items in your closet is a great way to keep your long-term wallet happy.

#2: How to Organize Your Space

Keeping a clean and neat space is really important in maintaining a happy lifestyle. Organization, simply put, helps us align our lives. Somewhere along the way, though, we tend to get a bit lost in the mess of life and other things, and organization and neatness tend to be the first things to go. Before embarking on your wild spring-cleaning journey, let me help you out with a few pointers. These are some things that help me not feel so out of control:

  • Color-coding your closet: I know, it’s weird, but before you knock it, give it a try. Some days I’m really in a blue mood, but I don’t feel like sifting through all of my blue frocks, so having them all together is really helpful. Organizing my clothes according to color also reminds me of the colors I have a tendency to neglect, so having that visual pushes me to make an effort in keeping more of a balance in my wardrobe.
  • Storage: One of my favorite pieces in my apartment is an old baker’s rack that my mom and I bought from a thrift store back home. It was a bit rusted, so we spray painted it turquoise, and now it houses my cookbooks, and a couple baskets, which just hold random things. What’s in the baskets is miscellaneous and has no true organization, but therein lies the lesser-known contradiction: you don’t have to be super organized to be organized. My baker’s rack functions as a place for the small items I don’t know where else to put. My whicker baskets contain items like glue sticks, pens, stickers, lighters, a few CDs—the point of them is to house the items you don’t always use, but also don’t think you’re ready to throw away. And keeping them in baskets gives the illusion of organization while also providing functionality. And furniture for storage doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to be drab. As I mentioned, I got my baker’s rack from a local thrift store—there are innumerable awesome, character pieces just waiting for you to make them your own. When you’re spring-cleaning this year, make sure you make a stop at Goodwill, Savers, or your local thrift store. Local favorite: Room Service.
  • Candles: Okay, so this isn’t really an organization thing at all, but I wanted to put it in anyway because candles have really changed my life. I know it sounds silly, but having burning candles around your space makes for such a calming environment. Another option for creating a tranquil environment is burning incense—it’s all about providing comfort, so choose whichever soothes you more. When it comes to candles, I tend to prefer more natural scents like pine or lavender, but feel free to experiment with smells. Think of the time when you light your candles or incense as a meditative time, and allow the cozy scents to fill your space with warm vibes. If you prefer scentless candles, that’s fine too—it can be equally soothing to just watch the flickering of fire on the wick as it is to waft a subtle, sweet aroma.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/38332815@N00/5230679402″>Pittsburgh</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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Sarah Neal

The author

Sarah is an English major at UT Austin and an editor for Feminine Inquiry. She enjoys good coffee, baking, feminism, thoughtful books, and being around happy people. Other interests include: dancing maniacally to English punk music, dogs (ALL OF THEM), hummus with pita chips, and YOU!

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