Like many other college students, I came to Auburn with bright eyes and big dreams. I was going to do well in school, meet all the right kinds of people and do all the things I’ve always wanted to do — all while looking the part.
But as reality set in, my stress only grew and my funds shrunk. College is expensive, but I learned that my wardrobe does not have to suffer alongside my wallet.
Thrift stores are an excellent way to shop and utilize your money. Auburn happens to have a couple of great ones like Harvest Thrift Super Store and Lifesavers Mission Thrift. I’m not just talking about thrifting in a way to find a unique piece for an event or a quirky T-shirt you’ll only wear once.
Here are some of my tips to find clothes you can add to your wardrobe and find practical outfits you’ll actually wear.
1. Dress the part.
Dressing as plainly as possible while shopping helps tremendously. Think basic shirts and your favorite pair of jeans. This way when you're in the dressing room trying on a top or skirt that might be out there, you'll get a clear idea of how you'll plan to style it rather than being distracted by what you already have on.
2. Keep an open mind.
I know some people, including myself, who love to make lists and have a clear idea of what to get. However, I try not to be too picky when searching for a particular kind of item because I almost never find it. My best finds have been when I had no expectations at all.
If you're shopping at Harvest Thrift, which is pretty large in comparison to the other shops in town, it might be a good idea to focus on the kind of item you want instead of focusing on the details of it.
3. Don't limit yourself.
The men's section and even the boy's can hold treasures. They have tons of Levi's in all sizes and can easily be turned into a cute pair of distressed cut off shorts. Or find a more straight leg cut and roll up the bottoms for an authentic boyfriend fit.
The boy's section has been known to have some great graphic tees, but shop the L and XL's because they'll fit nicely in the arms and give you the crop top look you desire without the bagginess. Don't be afraid to look through the sleepwear/lingerie sections. I have found a couple of great slips that could definitely be dupes for Free People or Urban Outfitters.
4. Don't worry about your size.
The great thing about thrifting is you don't have to be focused on if they have your size because no two pieces are the same. You are forced to find what works for you, and that may be on the rack that's a couple of sizes smaller than you or bigger, you never know.
Some of my favorite pieces have fit a bit odd, but anyone with basic sewing skills can make a quick fix.
5. Be bold.
Thrift shopping is the time to get creative. When I'm shopping at typical retail stores, I tend to not gravitate toward the "out there" pieces in fear of wasting my money.
With thrifting though, it's easy to step outside your comfort zone when it could only cost you a couple of bucks.
6. Don't waste your time and money.
With that being, make sure you're also smart. Even though each piece you're buying may be under $5, that can add up if you're buying items just for the sake of them being cheap.
Bring a friend if you need to — an honest one. They'll be the one to tell you if you will actually ever wear that neon yellow tube top.
7. Don't overlook accessories or decor.
I have found my most worn clothing pieces at Mission Thrift, but Harvest is the place to go for accessories and knick knacks.
Look for the men's ties to find a statement bow tie that would work great as a neck scarf or wrapped in your hair. A lot of their purses are sturdy and have a vintage flair. I've also found a couple of great kitchen items and table cloths that I've used as tapestries.