I went thrifting the other day and got some great new things! I have three new comfy skirts, a cool top, and this oh so chic little hat!:
plaid shirt/billabong : shirt/diy : hat/thrift : booties/minnetonka
I also got to wear my new Minnetonka booties! I knew I wanted to wear a bandage-esque skirt with them, but I didn't have one, so I just improvised and used a tank top as a skirt. It's been difficult not having my whole wardrobe at my disposal (since most of it is still in various places until I move home to Alaska in August). Being "homeless" has required me to be a lot more resourceful than usual, though resourcefulness has always been a staple of my wardrobe, having been a poor college student for the past four years. I think resourcefulness not only helps maintain a great wardrobe on a budget, but also makes for more unique outfits! I once went shopping with a girl who had allocated for herself "only $100.00 for today," which blew my mind! I could barely bring myself to spend $20.00! Shopping on a budget has always been more fun to me, anyway.
Find cool, quirky, local boutiques and thrift stores-
Shopping at local places not only helps your local economy and small business owners, but they often have great finds! Sometimes it takes more time sifting through old lady clothes to find that perfect piece, but it's kind of like a scavenger hunt. My favorite thrift stores have often been small local places. It's fun to get to know the owners, who often have interesting life stories, and sometimes they give you a deal!
Take advantage of the chain thrift stores-
National chain stores are also great places to find neat items. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village are all good thrift stores and they are often well organized- unlike some smaller local stores. They always have a huge selection and really great prices too. They often have pretty nice clothes for a lot of different ages, unlike some local thrift shops whose main donators can be older folks. If you're really into trendy brand names, see if you have a Plato's Closet in your town. They organize their clothes according to the brand- so you can find Forever21, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, etc.
Make a day of it!-
Get a good friend or two, get some coffee in the morning, go out to some shops, get some lunch, go to some more shops... spend the whole day searching for the perfect pieces. You have to spend a lot of time searching through racks when you go thrifting, so make sure to give yourself enough time for everything- including trying-on time. Sizes are often kind of wonky since the clothes are from different brands and manufacturers. I wear between a size 2 and 7 jeans when I go thrifting, which means looking through a lot more options and trying on a lot more sizes than if I had just gone to Gap.
If you're on a budget, give yourself a limit-
It's often hard to not spend very much when you're on a shopping day. But keeping yourself on a budget means that you can go shopping more often, instead of going on one big spree and then wallowing in the guilt and debt. I try to only get two or three things at a time, unless I know that I can afford to get more things. I get a lot more things when I go thrifting than when I shop at regular stores.
Get versatile pieces-
To get the most out of your money, get things that work in a lot of different outfits. A great skirt, a cute top, the perfect dress, a comfy cardigan. You can work these pieces a bunch of different ways and consequently, stretch your money even further! Don't let this keep you from getting a great unique piece though. Those unique pieces will add fire to your wardrobe.
And don't forget to check out your local garage sales, estate sales, flea markets, and street markets! And if you're too lazy to leave the house, there's always ebay!