I used to love going shopping at thrift stores before I had my kids and actually had time to look through the racks of clothes. I have scored some pretty good finds in the past and often times I had friends wondering how I found my outfit at a thrift store. The thing is that I wouldn’t just wear the piece of clothing right off the rack. Instead I would alter it to fit my style and most of the time it didn’t even require a sewing machine.
(I would love to get back to more thrift store shopping but taking kids along for the trip is not a lot of fun and doesn’t give me enough time to really look at the clothing.)
Over the years I came up with new ideas on ways to alter my thrift store shopping finds and I thought I would share some of those with you.
I own several belts and they really can be your best friend when it comes to clothing. Belts can easily later the shape of clothing and make it look completely different. If you are looking to save money you can even score belts at your local thrift store or find one or two nice ones that you can wear over and over with different outfits.
A belt can be used on a shapeless or too big dress, a billowy blouse or top, a blazer or jacket that may not fit the best or used any article of clothing to give it a more modern touch or add interest to it. Belt at the waist or the hip depending on the item as well as your body shape.
Some people may be scared of using a sewing machine or they simply don’t have a machine to use but it is very easy to learn how to do a simple hem on most fabrics. In fact you can even do a very simple hem by hand if you had to.
You can easily change a long dress into a shorter one or you could take a shirt from having long sleeves to short sleeves. Simply changes like this can easily change the appearance of your outfit. For example, I once found this beautiful plaid skirt that was perfect for the fall but it was too long and hit me in a weird spot right at the middle of the calves. So, I cut off a few inches, hemmed the bottom and now have a knee-length plaid skirt that I love to wear.
If you don’t know how to sew or you don’t have a sewing machine you can always ask around to friends or family to see if they would loan you a sewing machine or hem your clothes as a favor or even for a few dollars.
Wear It Wrong
This may sound a little silly but you can change the way something looks by simply wearing it wrong. Let’s say you find this black maxi skirt at a thrift store but it’s too long for you but fits basically everywhere else. Instead of wearing the skirt as a skirt, pull it up and wear it as a strapless dress. Or vice verse, as you can wear a dress as a skirt.
You can’t do this with every article of clothing but this works awesome for skirts and dresses. If the dress you find happens to have sleeves or straps you can still wear it as a skirt and just layer your sweater or top over the top of the dress and you won’t be able to tell it’s actually a dress.
If you want to get a little more creative with your thrift store finds and you are a pretty decent sewer, check out the book ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs. There are some pretty cool ideas in there that go beyond simple hems or belting a piece of clothing.
A lot of time you have to use your creativity and your built-in fashion sense when you go thrift store shopping. When you do this you never know what kind of beautiful outfits you will come up with for a mere few dollars.