The thrift style challenge

Once again I looked at my outfit today and smiled when I worked out how much it cost. Long black M&S skirt, secondhand on eBay for £3; indigo blue Tu cardigan, 99p in the charity shop, long sleeved crossover Monsoon top, £2.95 in the charity shop.  Total cost: £6.94. My shoes were new: £8 from New Look.  Yesterday I had on a pair of jeans, £1 from the boot sale; plain black top, 99p charity shop; long turquoise M&S cardigan, £2 boot sale; leather boots, a cast off from my daughter. Total cost: £3.99. Some people pay more than that on a pair of pants!

 

Some recent bargains, total cost £5.50!

 I am not suggesting I am any kind of style queen, but I manage to look quite respectable most of the time. I rarely wear anything new these days – usually it is just my footwear and undies. Once you realise what you can get for a few pounds you resent paying lots of money for anything! This is why being thrifty becomes a kind of hobby after a while. It is incredibly satisfying.

It seems I am not alone in my thrift obsession. Instagram is awash with frugal fashionistas displaying their quirky and stylish secondhand bargains: check out thrify_meg, michellerosborough and hellathrifty for starters, but there are loads more.

If I ever come into money I am quite sure I will go on a wild spree and buy as many beautiful new clothes as I want. Until then I am happy with my frugal bargain wardrobe. 

How much did you spend on today’s outfit? 

26 thoughts on “The thrift style challenge

  1. silversewer09

    Nowt, I have had my trousers, top, fleece and slippers for ages. My best clothes were bought 3 years ago in a mad hit on Bon Marche. I have not bought shoes for at least 3 years either.

    Reply
  2. silversewer09

    Nowt, I have had my trousers, top, fleece and slippers for ages. My best clothes were bought 3 years ago in a mad hit on Bon Marche. I have not bought shoes for at least 3 years either.

    Reply
  3. Helen

    Today I wore Topshop jeggings and an M&S top and cardigan all from cheap charity shops. Total cost, £5~6. My boots were new but bought from Ebay. Jacket, second hand from Ebay.. I buy second hand whenever I can and I think I look perfectly presentable. Tomorrow my planned outfit is also all secondhand. No one would know if I didn’t tell. Why pay out more than is necessary?

    Reply
  4. Helen

    Today I wore Topshop jeggings and an M&S top and cardigan all from cheap charity shops. Total cost, £5~6. My boots were new but bought from Ebay. Jacket, second hand from Ebay.. I buy second hand whenever I can and I think I look perfectly presentable. Tomorrow my planned outfit is also all secondhand. No one would know if I didn’t tell. Why pay out more than is necessary?

    Reply
  5. ilona

    Short sleeved tshirt, long sleeved tshirt, fleecy top, all charity shop/car boot. Leggins primark a couple of quid. Trousers sports direct cheap, they are very old and need chucking but I am getting every last bit out of them. Socks pennies from the scrapstore, thick woolly bootees given to me. Dressing gown, from a shop but old and a bit scruffy.

    Reply
  6. ilona

    Short sleeved tshirt, long sleeved tshirt, fleecy top, all charity shop/car boot. Leggins primark a couple of quid. Trousers sports direct cheap, they are very old and need chucking but I am getting every last bit out of them. Socks pennies from the scrapstore, thick woolly bootees given to me. Dressing gown, from a shop but old and a bit scruffy.

    Reply
  7. fivebeansoup

    I would love to find clothes in a thrift store but I am fat so the clothes are few and far between and some charity shops even throw clothes in my size away because it is deemed to take up space that could be used for skinny clothes.

    Reply
  8. fivebeansoup

    I would love to find clothes in a thrift store but I am fat so the clothes are few and far between and some charity shops even throw clothes in my size away because it is deemed to take up space that could be used for skinny clothes.

    Reply
  9. Julia

    I hate shopping and can never find anything I like/that suits me even in shops that offer a huge choice, so the chances of me finding anything in these teeny tiny charity shops with a couple of rails of musty smelling rags is frankly, pretty slim! Sorry!

    Saying that, I used to go to my local one when I lived in America, as it was the size of a large supermarket and carried everything from large furniture, electronics, lawn mowers, bikes, etc to craft supplies! If you couldn’t find what you wanted one day – come back the next and it’d probably be there as they had a drive through donation centre that was the size of a small warehouse, with staff unloading your boot for you!!
    We was well kitted out while living there! 😀

    Reply
  10. Julia

    I hate shopping and can never find anything I like/that suits me even in shops that offer a huge choice, so the chances of me finding anything in these teeny tiny charity shops with a couple of rails of musty smelling rags is frankly, pretty slim! Sorry!

    Saying that, I used to go to my local one when I lived in America, as it was the size of a large supermarket and carried everything from large furniture, electronics, lawn mowers, bikes, etc to craft supplies! If you couldn’t find what you wanted one day – come back the next and it’d probably be there as they had a drive through donation centre that was the size of a small warehouse, with staff unloading your boot for you!!
    We was well kitted out while living there! 😀

    Reply
  11. Lizzie

    You asked a good question and the replies are very interesting! Here’s what I am wearing (and by the way I don’t go “out” to work so I don’t have to bother about looking smart):

    Very patched jeans which cost about £11 several years ago in an outlet shop. They have served me well as I have alternated wearing them and one other pair almost constantly for 3/4 of each year since. They are on their last legs as jeans. They’ll get upcycled into something else when they finally give up the ghost. I must admit that I would not pay this much for jeans nowadays – I bought a fantastic pair recently in a charity shop fro £1. Underneath I have a long sleeved merino wool top which was probably about £30 (in a sale)- this is one item that I can’t find in charity shops but which I consider essential in the winter. I actually wear that too for 3/4 of the year and find it better value than the long sleeved cotton t shirts I have always considered a standard item. I can wear a merino top for a week and it’s still not smelly! and that means that whatever I wear on top of it doesn’t get smelly either – so less washing etc. My bra (now we’re getting really personal!) was a cheap one of a pair bought in a sale, and which I have replaced the straps on. Underwear is a tricky one – although I should look more in charity shops and see just what they’ve got. I’m on the small side up top (ha ha…) which actually makes finding decent reasonably priced bras harder than for those more generously endowed, I think. Knickers! I love my Sloggis…..they do cost more but do last a long time. The other day in Aldi I saw something similar, about £2 for 2 pairs, but because I didn’t really “need” them I didn’t buy, but now wish I had to see what they were like. My socks were probably about £7 for 3 pairs. I bought some in Sainsbury’s the other day – down from £4 to £2, and while they are nice I do not think the quality is very good. Cardigan – wool/nylon mix, probably pretty old, Littlewoods, £1 from charity shop. I got two in the same style and love them. I lowered the neckline successfully as it was rubbing and making me itch (will be on my own blog soon). Shoes – lace up suede moccassin type bought several years ago but which became uncomfortable so I had stopped wearing them. But I chopped off the backs and now wear them as mules round the house. Again shoes are a tricky thing to find cheap, especially as I have discovered to my cost that the wrong shoes can cause lots of problems for both feet and legs/hips. I bought some fantastic new ones in a charity shop a few years ago but sadly the stitching was clearly imperfect and they came apart. I suspect that that’s why they had ended up in the charity shop (there were several pairs).

    Reply
  12. Lizzie

    You asked a good question and the replies are very interesting! Here’s what I am wearing (and by the way I don’t go “out” to work so I don’t have to bother about looking smart):

    Very patched jeans which cost about £11 several years ago in an outlet shop. They have served me well as I have alternated wearing them and one other pair almost constantly for 3/4 of each year since. They are on their last legs as jeans. They’ll get upcycled into something else when they finally give up the ghost. I must admit that I would not pay this much for jeans nowadays – I bought a fantastic pair recently in a charity shop fro £1. Underneath I have a long sleeved merino wool top which was probably about £30 (in a sale)- this is one item that I can’t find in charity shops but which I consider essential in the winter. I actually wear that too for 3/4 of the year and find it better value than the long sleeved cotton t shirts I have always considered a standard item. I can wear a merino top for a week and it’s still not smelly! and that means that whatever I wear on top of it doesn’t get smelly either – so less washing etc. My bra (now we’re getting really personal!) was a cheap one of a pair bought in a sale, and which I have replaced the straps on. Underwear is a tricky one – although I should look more in charity shops and see just what they’ve got. I’m on the small side up top (ha ha…) which actually makes finding decent reasonably priced bras harder than for those more generously endowed, I think. Knickers! I love my Sloggis…..they do cost more but do last a long time. The other day in Aldi I saw something similar, about £2 for 2 pairs, but because I didn’t really “need” them I didn’t buy, but now wish I had to see what they were like. My socks were probably about £7 for 3 pairs. I bought some in Sainsbury’s the other day – down from £4 to £2, and while they are nice I do not think the quality is very good. Cardigan – wool/nylon mix, probably pretty old, Littlewoods, £1 from charity shop. I got two in the same style and love them. I lowered the neckline successfully as it was rubbing and making me itch (will be on my own blog soon). Shoes – lace up suede moccassin type bought several years ago but which became uncomfortable so I had stopped wearing them. But I chopped off the backs and now wear them as mules round the house. Again shoes are a tricky thing to find cheap, especially as I have discovered to my cost that the wrong shoes can cause lots of problems for both feet and legs/hips. I bought some fantastic new ones in a charity shop a few years ago but sadly the stitching was clearly imperfect and they came apart. I suspect that that’s why they had ended up in the charity shop (there were several pairs).

    Reply
  13. Karen

    Hi, I’ just wanted to say I’ve been following your blog for ages now and think it’s excellent. Just thought I’d say hello. Enjoyed this post – I too love picking up a charity shop bargain. I don’t buy shoes there but find as I take a size 8 or even 9, I can pick up some real bargains elsewhere. I know they will not be top quality but I found a pair of lovely black patent court shoes, size 9 on New Look’s sale shelf last week. They were £14.99 reduced to £9. Brilliant. Took them to the till, reduced again to £6. My lucky day. Perfect for my (few and far between) dressing up days.I find it pays to scrabble around a bit at the back of shelves and rails. Anyway good to meet you Jane and will keep following you. Best to you and the family

    Reply
  14. Karen

    Hi, I’ just wanted to say I’ve been following your blog for ages now and think it’s excellent. Just thought I’d say hello. Enjoyed this post – I too love picking up a charity shop bargain. I don’t buy shoes there but find as I take a size 8 or even 9, I can pick up some real bargains elsewhere. I know they will not be top quality but I found a pair of lovely black patent court shoes, size 9 on New Look’s sale shelf last week. They were £14.99 reduced to £9. Brilliant. Took them to the till, reduced again to £6. My lucky day. Perfect for my (few and far between) dressing up days.I find it pays to scrabble around a bit at the back of shelves and rails. Anyway good to meet you Jane and will keep following you. Best to you and the family

    Reply
  15. Amanda A

    Today I wore a M&S black top bought from charity shop for £2, my trousers with about £30 new but only because I was months hunting in charity shops for the style and ended up giving up and going out to buy new (very rare as I most of my clothes are second hand) shoes £4 from charity shop and bras are always bought new as I am a large cup and need a good ‘up to the job’ quality bra 🙂

    Reply
  16. Amanda A

    Today I wore a M&S black top bought from charity shop for £2, my trousers with about £30 new but only because I was months hunting in charity shops for the style and ended up giving up and going out to buy new (very rare as I most of my clothes are second hand) shoes £4 from charity shop and bras are always bought new as I am a large cup and need a good ‘up to the job’ quality bra 🙂

    Reply
  17. Mrs L Hughes

    I love charity shops and have had some real bargains in the past. I always buy new underwear, nightwear and shoes/boots though. Today I’m in thermal vest from Sainsbury’s, long tunic Jersey top from L/Ashley sale (£15), leggings Sainsbury’s (£5) and hubby’s thermal socks (buy 3 pair get 3 pair free at Yeomans). I gave up bras last year and only wear one if really necessary!

    Reply
  18. Mrs L Hughes

    I love charity shops and have had some real bargains in the past. I always buy new underwear, nightwear and shoes/boots though. Today I’m in thermal vest from Sainsbury’s, long tunic Jersey top from L/Ashley sale (£15), leggings Sainsbury’s (£5) and hubby’s thermal socks (buy 3 pair get 3 pair free at Yeomans). I gave up bras last year and only wear one if really necessary!

    Reply
  19. carol partridge

    Last year’s winter 3/4 jacket was £7 and I got a pair of strong leather boots for £3. However at the other end of the scale I have a pair of Red or Dead shoes that I paid £55 for . Had them 3 yrs and I know they will last for a lot more. I’m another one who hates bras. Not worn one for about 5yrs now.

    Reply
  20. carol partridge

    Last year’s winter 3/4 jacket was £7 and I got a pair of strong leather boots for £3. However at the other end of the scale I have a pair of Red or Dead shoes that I paid £55 for . Had them 3 yrs and I know they will last for a lot more. I’m another one who hates bras. Not worn one for about 5yrs now.

    Reply
  21. Ali

    Today’s dress was a 99p bargain from eBay, purple thick tights that are now in their 4th winter, 3 yo black leather boots that I had re heeled recently for £10.95 and a purple wool cardigan that’s at least 7yo. Totally agree you don’t need to spend a fortune to look good but some things are worth spending money on if they’ll last for years.

    Reply
  22. Ali

    Today’s dress was a 99p bargain from eBay, purple thick tights that are now in their 4th winter, 3 yo black leather boots that I had re heeled recently for £10.95 and a purple wool cardigan that’s at least 7yo. Totally agree you don’t need to spend a fortune to look good but some things are worth spending money on if they’ll last for years.

    Reply
  23. auntleesie

    You (and many of your readers) are so lucky to be able to find gently used clothes that fit! No one in my household is an average size. DH and DS1 are both short men with longer torsos and short legs. It’s a serious undertaking to find their sizes in regular stores, let alone thrift shops. Their shoes, too, are smaller sizes. DS2 can wear some off-the-rack clothing, but has a few quirks that make shopping for him a challenge (including wide, flat feet), and I’m a short potato dumpling with a podiatrist who could be on speed dial. My solution? I hunt down the best bargains I can find when we need something. Usually, that’s at least 70% off retail, with additional sale percent off. We take care of our things so they last many years. Classic styles means they’re “in style” for as long as they wear. We don’t do fashion trends. I buy underwear and socks annually, with one exception: during a close out sale I stocked up on enough bras for me to last several years. Shoes are another matter. That’s where it can get expensive. Again, we stick with classic styles and own maybe a half dozen pair each at most that we’ll wear until they’re falling apart.

    Reply
  24. Siebrie

    Very interesting!

    I’m wearing Clark office shoes (bought new for about GBP60 last year, wear them almost four days a week), tights from Aaaaldi GBP 1.80, pencil skirt (secondhand from friend), white blouse (secondhand from same friend), and ivory waistcoat (also secondhand from same friend), black vest (Aaldi 2 for GBP 5), underpants bought new 3 years ago (4 pairs for GBP 7), bra bought new 6 years ago for GBP 15. I’m small up top, so my bras don’t have much to do and last for ages 🙂

    So, my total (divided by costs per wear) comes to: GBP 2.60 (it’s the first day I wear the tights :-))

    I was very happy last week, as a friend who decided to leave corporate life and start her own business, donated all her corporate gear to me! My job requires corporate smart (although not necessarily ‘suit’ – they dropped that requirement 2 months ago).

    Reply
  25. Siebrie

    Very interesting!

    I’m wearing Clark office shoes (bought new for about GBP60 last year, wear them almost four days a week), tights from Aaaaldi GBP 1.80, pencil skirt (secondhand from friend), white blouse (secondhand from same friend), and ivory waistcoat (also secondhand from same friend), black vest (Aaldi 2 for GBP 5), underpants bought new 3 years ago (4 pairs for GBP 7), bra bought new 6 years ago for GBP 15. I’m small up top, so my bras don’t have much to do and last for ages 🙂

    So, my total (divided by costs per wear) comes to: GBP 2.60 (it’s the first day I wear the tights :-))

    I was very happy last week, as a friend who decided to leave corporate life and start her own business, donated all her corporate gear to me! My job requires corporate smart (although not necessarily ‘suit’ – they dropped that requirement 2 months ago).

    Reply

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