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Sunday, July 26, 2015

How to: Thrifting for better quality brands and fabrics

My wardrobe is full of well branded, good quality items. The best thing about it? I've spent next to nothing putting it together.

I love that secondhand shopping is gradually becoming more en vogue, not only in Australia, but around the world. This shift means a number of things: Shoppers are more conscious of how and where they spend their money and they're acknowledging that clothes don't necessarily lose their value, simply because they're pre-loved. Changing my perspective on having items of quality over quantity, and slowly my wardrobe, I've realised how much more practical and versatile a wardrobe of quality is! Use these tips (below) and you will always be well dressed, no matter how many times the item was worn before you scored it
1. Quality bargains last far longer
I won't deny it, trendy and fairly inexpensive chains like H & M and Topshop stock a large number of stylish clothing items to choose from, but they don't last very long. I remember buying clothes from Forever 21 when I was travelling a few years ago. While they were gorgeous to begin with, they soon lost their shape and buttons were popping off left, right and centre. Realistically, you get what you pay for at these stores. When op shopping, check the content label at the neck, in the waist band of the jeans, or in the left side seam to determine a fabric's content and care instructions. As a general rule, natural fibres (silks, cottons and wools) will stand up better than synthetics. I'm a fan of natural fibres, so I prefer cotton or wool (mostly cashmere) sweaters over acrylic because, not only do they feel better, but the fibres retain their shape and withstand repeated washing cycles. Now, I know. It's getting harder to find quality 100% wool, 100% cotton items secondhand. For some items this might not be a big issue, but if you're hunting for a quality winter coat, you may want to purchase garments with the highest wool content that your budget will allow. 
2. The fabric just feels better
One of the wonderful perks of filling your wardrobe with quality items is that the fabric simply feels better. These fabrics are generally softer and hold up to spills and everyday wear. Better quality items are normally made of materials built to last, so naturally they should look and feel better. The best part is that buying secondhand won't necessarily extend your budget any further than a cheaper material would! So take the time to look for quality pieces, you won't regret it. Once you have an eye for spotting quality clothing, you'll be able to find bargains all over the place.
3. Your clothes will hang better
Ever noticed how more expensive items (when you buy retail) seem to fit your body shape so well? It's because these items are built with higher quality and design in mind. Hunt for clothing of quality material, it will lay against your body with elegance and good structure. Just be mindful to purchase items in the correct size!
4. You will love what you own
Owning a number of high quality items lets you love what you own, without feeling remorse for buying items at full, retail price (poor bank card...) You can look at your wardrobe and see it as an investment, an expression of who you are. Clothing says something about you, what you like, and what you prioritise about your appearance. I love that I can show the world part of who I am through my style. 
5. You've saved so much money!
This is possibly one of the biggest returns for the economical shopper today. You can expand your wardrobe for so little money, leaving you with a lot of options to choose from through the season. When you take the time to carefully select what you want to buy, you'll spend less on impulse purchases and splurges and save more money in the long run. Remember, having a wardrobe of quality when thrifting takes time. Start small, donate items you don't love and replace them slowly. One of the ways I find good bargains when I visit an op shop is to take a list of things I'm looking for with me. That might be basic, staple quality pieces, or a specific coloured top. Look for pieces that will last a long time and can be worn often. They don't have to be designer items, just hunt for quality and durability.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on having a wardrobe of quality versus quantity and where you stand! Do you prefer one over another?

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