I never really considered myself a fashionista. Stylish, sure! But I’ve never been up to date on the latest trends and don’t even try to quiz me on my fashion history. Sad, but true. A model who doesn’t know her fashion history is blasphemous, shunning worthy.
In my defense, while growing up my family didn’t have a lot of money. When it came to clothes for my brother and I, my mother was very strict on only buying off brands clothing. She even went as far as to only buy us black shoes because other colors would get dirty faster. In my home, clothes were a necessity and fashion was a luxury we couldn’t afford.
Despite being required to wear a uniform until high school, students were able to get away with their Nike Jordan sneakers, Dickies cargo pants, and Von Dutch trucker hats (when they were cool)...Until this day Dickies still reminds me of middle school. And of course in middle school, if you had the latest sneakers or clothing, then you were stylish but better yet, you were cool.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing horrible about name brand clothing. It’s stylish, it’s trendy and when you have it on it gives you a sense of status and wealth. But when you’re 12 and want to keep up with everyone else and your mom says she can’t afford it, it’s quite daunting. I started to think, maybe I’m not cool.
Ugh! And the unfortunate kids who came into school wearing “Tim Tams” (actual name), just to look like everyone else that winter who wore Timberland boots on their feet to school. Yes, of course they were picked on. After witnessing the teasing in the name of fashion, I knew that if my mother couldn’t afford the best clothing, I wasn’t about to stress myself keeping up with everyone else. My best bet was to stay in my lane and allowance. So I started to shop with my mother at her favorite bargain hunter stores and thrift shops to find my wardrobe.
A true blessing in disguise it turned out to be. When I would go to school with my latest thrift finds I noticed that I started to look different from all my peers. My little Anastasia ankle boots stood out in a sea of beige and black Timberlands and people took notice. I was so happy to be seen and recognized for my styling efforts.
Bargain hunting forced me to start looking at clothes differently. I had to look at clothes not for what they were but for what they could be. I bought “grandma” dresses and turned them into age appropriate crop tops and reused my brother’s ties as belts or even wear them around my collar to spice up my school uniform. A trend that all the girls in my grade quickly took on.
I started taking fashion risks a lot sooner then my friends because although my clothes weren’t expensive, I still wanted to look good with what I had. These fashion risks are what shaped my ideas of style today. I know what will look good on me or how to make it look good with some effort.
Long story short, thrifting is in my blood and I the receipts to prove it. Thrifting allows me to stand out from the crowd and flex my creative muscles. I save money and the earth, while I look good doing it.