Fashion on a budget

Valentina Moreno (21), was born in McAllen, Texas. She has traveled the United States extensively as a result of her father’s service in the U.S. Army. Every two years meant moving to a new state, and a new home; she even spent some time in Germany. Writing has been her passion since high school, and she aspired to become a journalist. This motivated her to apply to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. Seeking to hone her skills as a writer with a clearer voice and a positive message, she dove head first into the fashion industry. Valentina took on several internships in fashion, beauty, and social media such as Stella McCartney, ShopPR, and StyleCaster. She also worked various fashion shows during NY Fashion Week.

Her three years in NYC were eye-opening in ways she had not expected. Working in the fashion industry imbued her with the desire to do something that would have a positive effect upon the world beyond the next market trend. In turn, she found herself increasingly dismayed by the amount of waste generated by inefficient business practices and people lacking a focus on sustainability. This compelled her to dedicate both her voice and message to promoting a healthy lifestyle that prioritizes preserving the environment.

After graduating with an Associates in Advertising and Marketing Communications from FIT she is now pursuing a Bachelors degree with a concentration in International Affairs and Sustainability. Although sustainability is something relatively new to her, she continues to make active changes to her lifestyle in the hopes of creating a new Earth. With the love and support of her family, friends, and her cat, Bellatrix, she remains thankful for every experience she’s had and looks forward to all that is to come.

How do I manage to maintain a seasonal wardrobe that stays on trend but keeps changing? Quite easily actually. I rely on thrift shops and stores such as Plato’s Closet. Both facilities allow a consumer to search through racks of clothing that change monthly and have clothes available at a reduced price. For example, I found a $100 French Connection dress I’d been eyeing for the past three months at a wallet-friendly price of $12. Safe to say, I was extremely happy with my purchase and couldn’t wait to go hunting through the racks next time I was in need of something fabulous!

But here’s the thing, going to thrift stores isn’t for everyone and you want to know why? Because of patience. The key to becoming a great thrift store shopper relies heavily on a person’s capability of taking the time to go through each and every piece of clothing that is on the hangers to find the one you love. Here are a few tips to help you go through the thrifting process if you’re new or simply don’t have an initial idea of what the hell to do once you’re in the store.

1. Keep in mind what category of clothing you came in for.

Did you come in for a sweater? New pair of jeans? T-shirt? Unlike mall stores such as Forever21 or H&M, when you shop at a thrift store everything should be highly categorized thus making the purchasing process much easier. This also allows you to stay away from grabbing everything that catches your eye as you walk towards your rack of choice, making the overall shopping process take less time and leave your wallet in a nice place.

2. Do you have a particular color scheme to your wardrobe? Stick to it!

If not already broken down by category you’ll find that thrift stores also tend to color coordinate. The Salvation Army is particularly awesome at doing this — so if you’re looking for a black shirt to wear to work you’ll find a whole rack of them just waiting for you quite easily.

3. Always try on everything before you purchase it.

I cannot stress this enough. If it looks like it’ll fit when it’s on the rack that doesn’t mean it will actually fit you when you’re at home! It’s always best to try before you buy, especially since in some thrift stores there is a firm no return policy and you don’t want to get stuck with something that just doesn’t fit right.

4. If you really love it, bear in mind that you can take your clothes to a tailor.

But of course, there is always an exception to the rule: if you think the article of clothing you simply love and refuse to take off can be handled by an expert than go right ahead!

5. Don’t be embarrassed that you shopped at a thrift store — in fact tell everyone!

More people should shop from thrift stores. It is the ultimate form of sustainable shopping because you are purchased used clothing, which means you’re technically recycling, and thus creating less waste for the landfills of the planet. Everyone at my work knows that I’m obsessed with thrift stores and Plato’s Closet — and have thus started to do the same whenever they are looking for something simple to add to their wardrobe! It only takes one person to make a difference and you could be that one for your community. Also these stores save you so much money in the long run, your bank account will surely be thanking you.

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