11 Ways To Thrift Shop Like A Fashion Student

11 Ways To Thrift Shop Like A Fashion Student

Because it's important to treat yo self, even when you're living on a college budget.
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Let me tell you a dirty little secret. It can be challenging to be a fashion student. Beyond the obvious struggles of our curriculum and the many assumptions made about fashion students, both of which I’ve delved into in the past, fashion students can also face an additional pressure of always looking put together for class. In a world where we are expected to keep up on all of the latest collections and industry developments, there can be added pressure to constantly dress the part, embracing and adopting the latest styles to be shown across fashion week, all while living on a college student’s budget.

Fortunately, there exists a mythical business where customers can choose among a copious array of merchandise, all priced at reasonable costs: Thrift Stores.

For fashion students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, these stores hold with them untapped potential for truly environmentally responsible, unique clothing at impossibly low prices. Ask any fashion student, chances are they’ve frequented these establishments on more than one occasion, in fact they may have already planned their next excursion to their nearest consignment store.

After spending countless hours perusing the racks of our favorite Goodwill, Salvation Army, Buffalo Exchange and Arc Thrift Stores, most fashion students have picked up the art of thrifting by second semester of their sophomore year, however, for those of you who haven’t gained the knowledge that comes with years of scouring over merchandise at your local thrift store, here are a few pointers for channeling your inner Macklemore.

1. Find your store.

In order to begin thrifting you need to have an actual store where you can shop. Most of the hardcore thrifters I know have one or two particular stores that they stop in regularly. Although you can usually find good deals in any thrift store, some shops are better than others when it comes to pricing, selection and convenience. There is one small non-specialized store where I have found everything from a new Marc Jacobs sweater with tags, a Lily Pulitzer top, again brand new with tags, to a vintage Givenchy dress.

A lot of best thrift stores tend to be located in remote areas without much foot traffic, or in bustling areas in a constant state of frenzy, respectively. Either option ensures that there will be merchandise, since items are rarely picked up, or constantly reintroduced, thereby increasing your odds of finding the perfect item.

2. Get inspired.

Do some research online before you begin your thrift shopping endeavor. Look on Instagram, Pinterest or wherever you draw your outfit inspiration before setting foot in the store, that way you can have an idea of what styles you like and can look for similar garments or colors during your time in the store

3. Research the store's schedule before arriving.

When does the store receive most of its new merchandise? Although many thrift stores put out new merchandise perpetually throughout the week, some put out new merchandise on specific days. Know these days. If you go to the store on the first day merchandise has been introduced, you'll have the first pick of the goods, rather than only being able to select from clothing that has been on the racks for a while.

4. Look for color and textiles first when scouring the racks.

This is one area where fashion students have an unparalleled advantage over non-fashion majors. Chances are every fashion student has had to take a textiles course over the course of their academic careers. As a result, most can identify a garment’s overall quality by merely looking at the garment’s material.

That being said, looking at color and textiles are a good way to begin selecting merchandise for anyone. If a color or pattern sticks out, pick it up. If a fabric looks like it’s well made, try it on. It might be the dream find.

5. Examine the label.

Chances are you will find at least a dozen fast fashion items throughout your search. If you spot the dreaded Forever 21 label, avoid it. Most fast fashion retailers focus solely on providing trend items to customers immediately at a low cost. Since quality tends to be overlooked in this rapid production process, the garments are not likely to last long once you take them home. Plus, the trendiness of the item will likely subside quickly. On top of everything, these garments tend to cost less at retail new, meaning that you may only be saving a few dollars buying the garments from a thrift store rather than in the original store itself.

Nevertheless, if you fall irrevocably in love with a fast fashion find, you should undoubtedly buy it.

6. See the potential.

Sometimes you find the perfect garment only to learn that it’s five sizes too big. Maybe you find a fabric you love but are put off by the silhouette. Whatever the reason, sometimes a thrift store find isn’t just right. Fortunately, there are professionals who can tweak any garment to make sure it fits you and your tastes perfectly. Tailors are your best friends when thrift shopping. Although they can add onto the price of a garment, getting an item altered ensures that you have access to nearly custom apparel at a cost that is still cheaper than buying clothes new.

7. Follow your instinct.

Say you find a garment fall in love with it, but aren’t sure whether your friends will like it. In those moments, you should buy the garment anyway. The biggest part of being fashionable is being confident. If you like something wear it. If you think your friends would appreciate something, but you aren’t a fan, leave it. Buy whatever makes you happy, and rock it.

8. Try the garments on before leaving the store.

Since most thrift stores do not accept returns, you should have an idea of how each purchase will look on your body before committing to the garment. All clothing looks different on the hanger than on a human form. You should have an understanding of how those garments will look before taking the plunge.

9. Don’t overlook the denim section.

The jean section tends to be abundant and highly populated throughout most thrift stores. With the resurgence of trends such as the flare, destroyed denim and the mom jean, chances are many of the styles that may have sat on the rack for years are now back in fashion. Embrace the resurgence of these trends and look through the pant section fully.

10. Make time for thrifting.

Unlike most stores, thrift stores are stocked with fully individualized, poorly organized items. Sorting through this wide array of merchandise can take considerably more time than it takes to shop in most stores. Although the actual amount of time it may take to work through the merchandise can vary according to the size of the store. Nevertheless, the process can take hours even when done effectively. Carve out time in your day to ensure that you can explore each of the items being sold fully.

11. Be persistent.

Thrifting is like fishing. Sometimes you get lucky and find the dream buy, other times there's nothing. Much like fishing, patience is essential for thrifting success. Even if you don't find the perfect vintage Givenchy dress this time, doesn't mean it won't be there the next time you go out. Remember that it is really just a game of chance and to keep looking. You never know you'll find the perfect garment.

Cover Image Credit: www.incimages.com

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

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But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Elliot Stabler, We Miss You

Not all heroes wear capes.
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In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. The victims of these vicious felonies are saved by two heroes who do not wear capes: Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson.

The King and Queen of New York, Detectives Benson and Stabler not only save the day but entertain me through weekends and procrastination. If you are a fan of the show you know Elliot Stabler leaves "Law and Order: SVU" after 12 wonderful seasons. It shall go down as one of the saddest days of the 21st century.

Elliot Stabler was not one for easy hearts. He was violent and angry but he cared about the people he loved. You couldn't help but love his many kids and wife at home even though you would never stop hoping that he and Olivia Benson would get together. One of the great things and something I miss most is how Olivia and Elliot worked so well together and their chemistry was bouncing more than Cardi B at Coachella. And although at times it may seem as if maybe there might be a chance you know deep down the greatest love was that of a partner.



I mean, come on. Look how cute. The banter, the sly eye contact, be still my beating heart.

Detective Stabler, I miss your violent outbursts. You were a hot-headed detective who sometimes didn't know your limits. That's why you were such a great character to watch. We never knew how far you would go to help a victim. You were interesting. You loved your job yet struggled with it. You cared about your co-workers yet you were selfish. You wanted to help the victims who had been hurt yet you would hurt others to help them.

You tell em' Stabler!

Can we all take a moment to appreciate a shirtless Elliot Stabler? Although the show is still going strong, you are missed, detective. How could we forget all the good and bad times together?

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

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