My fashion tips

Kathleen Hernandez graduated from Marymount University majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a concentration in Business Administration. During her study abroad program in London, she interned at a Public Relations agency. While working several years in retail she was able to execute her degree and perfect her visual merchandising skills. She currently lives in New York City working as a Merchandise Assistant for a fine jewelry company. On the side, she works as a wedding coordinator for major cruise lines.

All fashion lovers struggle to keep up with trends on a budget because it can be expensive. Whether you shop at designer or department stores, all of your purchases add up. More common stores like Forever 21 and H&M never seem to have enough sales or coupons to help lower your purchase amount. The ultimate disappointment is having to put something back down that you had your heart set on due to low disposable income. So how can you manage and afford to stay current with trends without always having to suffer in debt? Thrift Stores.

Shopping at thrift stores often gets over looked or frowned upon because the items are viewed as “rejected, old, dirty, and donated”. Shopping at such an extreme discount store may seem embarrassing to admit because others are quick to judge and assume you are not financially able to afford what are in the popular stores. However, it does take more time and effort to find something that fits your taste. Try to think of it as a fun scavenger hunt just like digging in your best friend’s closet to find something to borrow for the night. You may surprise yourself of what you could find.

Before you go to the thrift stores, it helps to have an idea of what you are looking for. Since there are no mannequins to highlight the newly added items or help give you inspiration of how to ensemble items together, knowing what you want eliminates frustration. On the commute to the store, Pinterest is always an amazing application to use to get quick insights of what is currently trending. The fashion categories are great to help you coordinate items together. Instagram is another application to attain ideas of what celebrities and stylists are wearing. With those combinations and arrangements in mind, go into the thrift stores and search through the racks to implement. Even though it can be stressful to search to find something that you just saw online because there are so many donated items to search through, it just takes patience and creativity.

Stores like Buffalo Exchange are easier to find prized items because they have a unique inventory of clothing and accessories that solely carries designer labels, vintage, and one-of-a-kind items. All their merchandise is personally picked at their location from local customers that wanted to sell or trade items from their closet. Consignment based stores are helpful as well to get designer brands on a budget. Since it first goes through the selective inventory process, you feel better about your purchase knowing someone else likes that item too.

The beauty of buying random items and arranging them to your own personal taste gives you a distinctive look. Everyone shops at stores like Urban Outfitters and Zara and literally buying the same item as the next person; thrift stores only carry one of each item. This exclusivity leaves others guessing where you got your clothes from. While they compliment your style, it will be hard for them mimic it. Next time you walk by a thrift store, walk in, and explore what fashion treasures you can find to enhance your look!

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