Years ago, I crowned myself Queen of Thrifting. Most of the things I own are thrifted or came to me by some divine second-hand grace. Although this started mostly because I grew up pretty poor, it also has the added bonus of not contributing to unethical means of production and economic structures that I try to avoid when I can. Plus, thrifting is a great way to get some unique and rad pieces you’re not finding in plus-size stores/stores that don’t understand not all bodies come in one size and shape.
Thrifting has gotten real ~hip~ and ~cool~ lately with a trend towards wearing clothes that are beaten up/not the greatest fit while still looking hottt. John Waters has a great explanation of this look—you look like a babe who didn’t try but really you’re a babe who tried really, very, hard and hope people think you’re an effortless beauty (which, incidentally, you are).
Shopping can already be such a bummer when you’re a chubby girl and thrifting can be an even more daunting task; things have to actually, like, fit—they can’t just be a pretty pattern in size whatever that smaller folks can throw on and be a stunner in. That’s not to say being thick means you can’t just throw shit on and be a hottie! It’s just that finding the right pieces can be more work and take some time as our bodies are not always catered to.
It’s super worth it tho! Inevitably, my thrift store finds are the ones I get the most compliments on and are usually some A+ pieces I wouldn’t be able to find otherwise. Plus, reducing your impact on the earth fills you up on good vibes.
So here are some handy dandy tips to help you find that lil something something at your local second-hand store:
- Go alone. I only do serious thrifting by myself or with one of the two girl friends I know who are equally-invested in the search. This also helps you to be free of any self-conscious feelings you may have about trying on larger sizes or those weirdy mom jeans you want to cut into shorts.
Ignore sizes and try everything on. Of course, there are size ranges I straight up ignore (see: 0-6) but other than that, it’s likely things got sized incorrectly or you can see a way to wear something that isn’t necessarily how it was originally intended. Also, try things on that are larger than the sizes you usually wear. Clothing sizes are in no way universal and that dress is probably super cute with a belt.
Pay attention to the fabrics. There’s way too much stuff to sift through in thrift stores. Look for patterns, texture, and colour. If you’re keeping your eyes wide for those three particulars in your style, you’ll find things without literally looking at and trying on every piece of clothing. Also a great way to manage looking through the many sizes available.
Gender is a construct. Shop in whatever gender you want and just think about the fabric and the way you want it to fit you.
Do not compromise. If the fabric feels cheap, don’t buy it. If the zipper is broken, don’t buy it. If it has a stain, don’t buy it. If it needs to be taken in or out, if it needs to be hemmed, if there is literally anything wrong with it that would maybe make you not get your $6 worth, I repeat, do not buy it.
Now go forth and put some weird shit on your beautiful body!
Purse, skirt, shirt, shoes, all from Value Village