I throw open the door and make a beeline to the racks. My four-inch heels click loudly across the concrete floor, alerting the fellow shoppers that this girl is on a mission. I scour through the clothes like a maniac, passing fashion judgment. Forty minutes pass and I slink to the register like a giddy schoolgirl. I hand over my heaping pile of clothes and dig through my purse to hand over a $20 bill. I exit the store with a toothy smile; I am no victim to fashion.
As a young professional, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my budget is often tighter than Kim Kardashian’s Spanx, but I have yet to let that aspect stop me from dressing fabulous and keeping up with the latest fashion trends. My secret weapon: secondhand shopping.
Much like fashion, I like to think of shopping at the local Goodwill (or any secondhand store) is an art, and not for the weak of heart. It takes time, vision, and a very open mind. Lucky for us, the what-goes-around-comes-around concept of karma also applies to the life cycle of fashion trends. More often than not, the season’s hottest trends are a rendition of something your mother rocked decades ago – and these are exactly the type of items you can expect to find in your local thrift store.
Ready to spice up your wardrobe this fall? Here are five of fall’s hottest trends that can easily be emulated with secondhand store pickups and cost a fraction of the price. To prove to you that this is possible, I’ve created each of the looks below by incorporating existing items from my personal closet and pairing them with some key fall pieces that I found at my local Goodwill.
1. She’s the Man: Menswear-inspired looks were huge last year and are back at it again this fall. For their Fall 2012 collections, designers such as Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani showcased a number of impeccably tailored classic menswear pieces. Expect to find endless options of tweed blazers, cropped trousers and sweater vests at your favorite secondhand store. Tip: pair with some argyle socks and oxford loafers, and you’ll be the essence of town and country.
2. Go Big or Go Home: Oversized coats are one of this fall’s must-have silhouettes for outerwear; just ask Isabel Marant, Jill Sander or pretty much any other designer with a fall 2012 collection. First, they scream ‘chic’ in the “hey, I’m laidback-cool in my huge cozy blanket” sense. Second, they are a dream for layering in the cold days to come. This is one of the easiest items to pick up at a secondhand store, because let’s face it; it’s been a minute since boxy shaped and generously fitting were trending fashion elements. Tip: for a more feminine feel try balancing the look with a wide belt and skinny jeans.
3. Not for use in Ugly Sweater Parties: Comfortable, cozy and on the runway—yep, you read that right! (See a previous Pattern post, Fall 2012 Trend Report: Knits for Night.) From traditional and fitted to generous-grandma-chic, sweaters of all shapes and colors ruled the runways. Since designers have always had a soft spot for this winter staple, you’ll have endless options gracing the racks of your nearest Goodwill. I had great luck with this one and picked up the pictured Michael Kors sweater for a cool $3 bucks!
4. 50 Shades of Blue: Move over classic black, there’s fresh new color taking over this fall. From denim-on- denim looks to dark blue hues, fall will be full of options to incorporate this fresh, new neutral. Color trends are a great way to try out all kinds of second hand finds, no matter what your style preference is. I found this awesome navy blazer (price: $7) with brass buttons and layered it over some high waisted cotton pants to achieve a preppy professional look.
5. Luxe be A Lady: From the likes of Dolce & Gabbana to Dior, fall runways were dripping with decadent details of lavish embellishments, shinny fabrics and ornate embroidery. Try finding a statement piece of clothing with a gold accent or brocade print, like the dress pictured. Tip: pair your tapestry-patterned piece with some leather and you’ll be ready to hit the town.