HOW TO: Make secondhand store finds stylish

For someone looking to save money, secondhand stores are a treasure trove. Places like the Goodwill and Salvation Army offer everything from clothes, shoes and accessories to books and furniture at low prices. For style mavens, they’re the place to go for just about any type of clothing.

Since Goodwill and Salvation Army are donation based, their inventory is always changing and completely unpredictable. You never know what you might find. Someone your size might clean out their closet and donate a bag of designer clothing, or a little old lady will decide to part with vintage clothing she’s had for years. Looking through the racks of clothing could result in a T-shirt from Abercrombie or a vintage dress from the 1980s, and for the most part, things there are completely one of a kind and
reasonably priced. A person could find an entire wardrobe’s worth of clothes for under $50.

It takes a little time, though. Places like Goodwill and Salvation Army are not stores you pop in and out of in under an hour. The nature of secondhand stores is the idea of donations, and with that comes the fact that many of the items donated are not necessarily items students are looking for. If you want to find a unique (and wearable) piece, you have to take the time to look for it. This means looking through the endless racks of clothing for the one piece that makes your trip worth it. It could be a blazer, a dress,or an antique pair of pearls, but when you find it (and discover it’s only a few dollars) the time spent looking will be time well spent.

However, many students are put off by Goodwill, and not by the time it takes to look through the racks. The idea of secondhand clothing throws them off. Vintage has a good ring to it. Used does not. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to wear secondhand clothing.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that Goodwill is not for you, though.

“I have a lot of expensive pieces from more upscale shops,” said Kelly Szczpanek, a junior from Greenville. “And it’s easier for me to afford them because I save money by getting my accessories at places like Goodwill.”

For those students who don’t like the idea of secondhand clothing, looking at the acessories section is a great way to save money. The model pictured above is wearing a necklace, belt, and shoes from Goodwill with a pricey summer dress. The pixalated dress was a mall find, bought at full price, but the accessories were purchased at Goodwill for less than $5.

Buying cheap acessories from a place like Goodwill or Salvation Army is a way that many students afford the pricier pieces in their wardrobe.

*all photos courtesy of Mackenzie Potter