My Attempt to Thrift an Outfit for Under $10

Ach. I wish I could say that this was a rapturous experience, wherein I pulled together some amazing vintage pieces that make me look like Alexa Chung’s shorter blonde twin. While I wouldn’t call this whole experiment a wash, I can unequivocally state that I spent more than $10 and I only wound up with three pieces, which do not an entire outfit make.

The Shoes

I found these “Bongo” moccasin/boater/slip-ons for $4.00. They’re not going to win any fashion awards, but they’re ridiculously comfortable, and the bottoms showed virtually no wear, so they’ll probably last me a good while. I won’t be traipsing around in the snow in these (open back and all), but they’ll be perfect for lazy days around the house or going on walks on sunnier days (with thick woolen socks). As you can see from the third picture, my feet love each other in these.

If I had all the money in the world, I’d buy the above $400.00 hand-stitched leather and tweed Quoddy boots from J. Crew.

2. The Belt

I bought the first belt pictured for $2, and I included this shot of Anthropologie’s Time-in, Time-out Belt ($30) to show how similar they are. I’ve been looking for a skinny, colorful, leather belt for a while, and this definitely fits the bill. It’s a tiny bit tight, so I may wind up having to bore another hole in it…

3. The Tunic-ey Shirt

This shirt was my favorite find. It was only $6, which is pretty nice considering it fits well, smells nice, and appears to never have been worn, but I recognize the brand “Derek heart,” as being one I think I’ve seen at Sears or something, so I know it’s not that expensive to begin with. I like the checkered print on the inside, as well as the tailoring that nips it in just a bit at the wast. It’s really flattering.

So ultimately, I spent $12 and some change, and I didn’t make it out of there with any bottoms. I promise you guys, I looked. But I have a pretty strict “no pants from thrift stores” rule, due to the fact that something skeeves me about wearing another person’s pants, plus if you imagine how frustrating it is to go pants-shopping at a store where all the clothes are new, multiply that times ten for shopping for used pants, which are often stretched oddly in the butt or waist.

I checked out the skirts and found one pretty blue and white, houndstooth print, knee-length number, but I think it was homemade, because as pretty as the fabric was, the fit was just weird. The truth, though, is that I didn’t browse skirts too long because the thrift store I was in (it’s called Arc, and it may only be a chain in Colorado) was very fluorescently lit, crowded, messy, and I was already in a foul mood.

Allow me to whine a minute: so I’m supposed to meet with someone at 2. I had hoped to meet later in the day, but since I’m basically asking this guy a favor, he calls the shots and I agree to 2. I show up at 1:30 only to have his assistant tell me he’s going to be out until 4, he must have forgotten our appointment, come back at 4:30, etc. I had already planned my whole day around that meeting, so I was pissed as hell and decided I might as well kill time looking for the clothes for this article. Needless to say, I was not in a good mood for shopping.

I think Arc, like Salvation Army and Goodwill, is a great place if you have the time and patience to dig through everything looking for gems, but I prefer to go to slightly more curated places. We have some nicer vintage stores in my city that I’ll check out for a later article, hopefully resulting in some more exciting finds.

2 replies on “My Attempt to Thrift an Outfit for Under $10”

We’re a fairly wealthy city, but then again, since it’s a city, there’s a spectrum of economic classes and you just sort of get what you get when you go thrifting.

I’m wearing the shirt right now, and damn, is it comfortable. Also wearing the shoes. Not the belt.

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