Some of our absolute favorite places to drool over pretty spring dresses, embellished headbands, patterned tights, and bright-colored t-shirts just happen to be the most… expensive. Not to brag, but we’ve certainly got an eye for picking out the most lovely, overpriced accessories in any given fashion magazine, a skill that has only resulted in multiple broken hearts as our bank account actualizes at zero.
If you feel wary at the prospect of gently used clothing and shoes in this time of bedbugs and infestations, think again.
With the official kick-off of the spring month scheduled for March 21st (Sunday), here are our top five favorites for thrifty finds on even the tiniest budget.
1. Made (441 Metropolitan Ave). This neighborhood boutique is our best-kept secret, and if you’ve ever shopped there, you probably wouldn’t have told your friends. With dresses, tops, sweaters, and shoes marked way way way below the prices we’ve come to expect of Williamsburg, you’ll be able to re-stock your wardrobe with spring essentials like leather shirts, oversized sheer t’s, and lightweight seasonal sweaters for less than the cost of your electricity bill. The three adorable girls that work here are actually the owners, so keep the compliments flowing while you peruse the delicate house made jewelry.
2. Buffalo Exchange (332 E 11th St, Manhattan and 504 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn). I actually prefer the Manhattan outpost on 10th St at 2nd Ave when I’m in the mood to thrift, as it’s usually more organized, less crowded, and boasts better design goods at a discount. My personal best find included a bag of embroidered J-Crew t-shirts for less than $13- perfect for every dress-up opportunity on my fall calendar. I’ve never personally exchanged clothing of my own (I’m more partial to clothing swaps over a few bottles of wine with my besties), but with items averaging $15-20 for designer jeans, vintage leather, and the occasionally American Apparel party dress, Buffalo Exchange does not disappoint.
3. Forever 21 (Union Square and University Place) . When in doubt, shop Forevs. Clothing is often under priced, making it the perfect place to buy a cute (and not completely functional) fall coat, a sparkly dress for a friend’s party, and to stock up on hoodies, headbands, and tank tops in solid colors. A word to the wise, never shop on a Friday or Saturday night (the store looks like a tornado of teenagers has vortexed straight through to the lingerie department), as you’ll have to wait in line and will most likely miss your evening plans while paying for your $2.50 t-shirts.
4. H & M (store locator here). Is there a soul under the age of 27 who doesn’t make H&M her one-stop shop for picking up wardrobe basics (like black v-necks, black dress pants, and skinny black belts) and pretty summer dresses? We remember our teenage delight when H&M finally opened in our local mall, sharing urban cheapies with the suburban masses. Plus, the bonus to living in closer proximity to Manhattan means finally being able to get our hands on the harder-to-find designer lines, which come once in a blue moon.
5. Housing Works Thrift Shop (locations here) . We were privileged to once work in an office directly next to the Crosby St location, which meant unlimited access to their sale rack at our 3p coffee break every day. When we were discovered bringing in shopping bags laden with $1 Citizens for all Mankind jeans and Calvin Klein fitted men’s blazers, our boss, much to our delight, began to take up a similar obsession. Plus, it’s hard to refuse any organization that gives your money directly back to one of the numerous charities they support, allowing you to contribute to a community fund while satisfying your Marc Jacobs and Theory fix.
Wondering what to look for while you flip through the racks and dig through the endless donation boxes at the Salvation Army? According to some of our favorite fashion bloggers, the biggest trends to look out for this season include:
- Striped, boat neck shirts (think French New Wave)
- Lightweight trench coats
- Color block heels
- Small, cross body bags
- Chandelier earrings (surprisingly still hot)
- Pale yellow (imagine the color of a champagne-heavy mimosa)
- Bright headbands
- Neutral tones
- Cropped pants (a la Betty Draper)
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