Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Part 2: Shop In Your Own Closet and Save!

By Katherine Lazaruk on Jan 18 2011 • Filed under Image Intensive

Image consultant helping find proper colours and styles.If you read last month’s article, you’ll know that we had the privilege of working with Linda Watters, a Vancouver-based actor and administrative assistant. She allowed us to come into her closet and we showed her a number of ways she could make a functional and effective wardrobe by working with what she already had.

Shopping in her closet, we created a wardrobe module consisting of a jacket, two bottoms and three tops and accompanying accessories that would make up twelve different outfits! We soon discovered that not only did Linda already have a basic module; she actually had several other pieces that could work with the same module to create many more looks.

However, we also discovered that there were a few gaps that needed to be filled, so we made a list and got ready for a shopping trip to Value Village, a popular thrift store, to get the most bang for Linda’s buck.

The items that were missing from Linda’s wardrobe included a collared shirt and suit or jacket/skirt combination for the times when she is doing acting work that requires her to wear more formal office attire. She also wanted more tops for her personal casual attire that would work with the module we put together.

When we arrived at Value Village, I sent Linda into the racks to find the items she was looking for and soon discovered that she was shopping for everything at once, both personal and professional. The issue was that her professional wardrobe for her acting work is geared towards the roles she might need to play, and not towards her own personal style. She was choosing things that fit the bill professionally (collared shirts) but didn’t suit her personal style.

Shopping at a thrift store gives lots of options.Since her priority for the initial closet session was her personal wardrobe, I suggested that she keep it simple and only shop for the tops that she wanted to find and avoid getting distracted with items that were strictly for her acting work. (She could return on another day to shop for her acting wardrobe.)

Once we got the priorities for the shopping trip in order, we had some fun sorting through the racks. We looked for colour first, as that’s the easiest thing to identify, and then looked at items for their style and fit. After gathering a large rack of things to try, we went to the dressing room and Linda tried everything on, allowing me to see how each item fit, and I made suggestions for style as we went along. She came away with several tops that worked and we had a good laugh about some items that clearly weren’t appropriate.

Fashion, fit and frugal go together when budget shopping.The most fun in shopping Value Village and other thrift shops or consignment stores, aside from the screaming deals, is the joy in finding the humour in items that clearly aren’t for you. If you take the time to stop and browse, you’re likely to find the buried treasure in the pre-loved clothing on display and come away with some terrific pieces to build, fill in or add on to your basic module. Try this yourself and you’ll see how easy it is to look great without breaking the bank.

Here was the process we followed (for the first five steps, see last month’s column):

    • Once you’ve completed your module (or noticed that your module is not complete), identify and list the items you need to purchase.
      • On a second sheet, or below the first list, put the items in priority order. This is especially helpful if you have a limited amount of time to find the items you’re looking for.
      • Choose which store or stores you plan to visit and decide how much time and money you wish to spend. I recommend a minimum of two hours for a trip, especially if you’re looking in a large store. Thrift shopping requires more time than in conventional stores, so be prepared. Your budget will depend entirely on the items you need. I recommend $20-50 for two or three items.
      • When you get to the store with your priority list, head to the aisle that has that item first. For example, if you’re looking for a collared, long-sleeved shirt, go directly to that area and don’t get distracted by the denim or shoe aisles. You can always browse after you’ve found the necessary items.
      • Once you’ve found your items, try them on. Check the items for fit and style. If something needs a small alteration for fit but is otherwise perfect, set aside some cash and time for alterations. "Fit" will go a long way to making you look like a rock star on a budget. Purchase if they look great and leave them if they don’t.

      An image consultant can help you avoid fashion disasters!

      "…we had a good laugh about some items that weren’t appropriate."

      Finally, don’t be discouraged. If you haven’t found the item you need (yet), either go to the next item on the list or move on to the next store. Have faith that you’ll find exactly the right piece at the right time, take your time shopping and you’ll always have a great thrift store experience. Following these ten easy steps will ensure your closet will be well outfitted without breaking your bank. Enjoy!



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