I decided to challenge myself with this post by trying to thrift a seasonal capsule wardrobe (30 outfits) for under $100 total. I ended up coming in WAY under budget for 17 pieces. (Plus I have added some ideas on how to spend the extra dollars!)
Here are the pieces in this capsule:
- Bar III Black and White Dress: $5.00
- Guess Pink Dress: $5.00
- Ann Taylor Pink Circles Skirt: $4.00
- The Limited Black Pencil Skirt: $4.00
- New York and Co. Black Slacks: $4.00
- The Limited Blue Slacks: $4.00
- J. Crew Floral Pant: $3.50
- New York and Co. Skinny Jeans: $8.00
- Mossimo Orange Moto Jacket: $4.00
- Banana Republic Yellow Striped Cardy: $4.00
- Cynthia Rowley Navy Cami: $2.00
- Maurice’s White Dotted Blouse: $3.50
- Banana Republic Navy Dotted Blouse: $3.50
- American Rag Floral Top: $3.50
- LOFT Gray Tee: $3.50
- White Scarf (doubles as shawl): $2.00
- Vintage Gold Necklace (doubles as belt): $3.00
Total Cost: $66.50 (tax not included)
- Have an idea of what you need. I tried to look for items that fell into two categories: 1) a neutral staple for Spring or 2) a unique piece that could be paired easily. The only thing that didn’t fit that mold was the pair of J. Crew pants that I leaked in a previous post. Those buggers are tricky. Have an idea of a few staples that you know you can pair with almost anything, and then build on that.
- Keep an eye on those tags. I have noticed that the prices in my thrift stores (St. Louis area) appear to be lower than other regions of the country. Our base Goodwill prices are $3.50 for shirts, $4.00 for pants, $5.00 for dresses. (These prices just increased $.50, too!) Some of my stores avidly mark-up items, even if they’re common mall brands, while others pretty much throw everything on a hanger for the base price. Keep an eye out for pieces that are a great name, but missed the mark-up. Don’t be afraid to go for a mark-up price if you love the piece. It’s still super cheap! BONUS TIP: Go when a certain color clothing is marked down and hunt for those tags.
- Go to various locations and chains. I use Goodwill as a point of reference because they are so common, but I also frequent Salvation Army stores and smaller thrift shops. Their prices tend to be lower than Goodwill’s and I usually find a better selection. Maybe because it isn’t as “glamorous” or “clean” or “in a good part of town”. Just kidding. But I always have success at those stores.
- Shoot for quality. When it comes to brands, I try to look for mall brands or better; the exception being Target clothing. I am a sucker for their cute styles and reasonable prices (even when buying retail). Darn you, Target. This doesn’t mean that I ignore everything else, but I definitely think twice about how long it will last in my wardrobe. I seek-out items that feel like quality first, and check the label second.
- Versatility is an added bonus. I found a white scarf and gold necklace for my accessories. I stopped there because I knew I could use them multiple ways. Sometimes the scarf was a scarf, or a shawl. The necklace has a clasp, so I used it as a drop necklace, a belt, a choker, a rope necklace, etc. Look for pieces that have more than one use.
So by now, you’re probably wondering: But how do I spend all of that extra money?! (Yes. $33.50 is a lot of money.) Here are some brainstorm points:
- Shoes. I find wonderful heels and wedges all the time. The reality is, I am a teacher. I wear flats. Every. Single. Day. Honesty is important to me here at Flippin’ Cheap, and I am just not a high-heel person. Flats are harder for me to find in my clown size from thrift stores. I hope your situation is different and less depressing than mine.
- Outer Wear. I live in the Midwest. Spring is…*different* here. Sometimes I need a jacket, sometimes I need a parka, sometimes I need a fan. It’s a moving target. Maybe you live somewhere colder and need to shop for a parka. Maybe you live somewhere warmer and need to ignore the envy I am sending your way. You decide.
- Purses. I carry the same purse everywhere. It’s not designer, but it’s sparkly and it holds everything I need. If you have figured out a way to move your whole ‘purse life’ around and can change it often, please feel free to share. Also, to reiterate, I am a teacher. I would look a little silly carrying an amazing turquoise clutch around the classroom. Do what works for you.
I do these capsules as a way to show what you can get for $100.00 by thrifting. Do not feel like you have to go buy new items every month or season. If you do, though, please consider donating old ones back to your local shop to keep the fun going for goofs like me.