Trendy and Broke: Thrift Store Challenge

20 Dollars; 20 minutes


Model: Shriya Reddy: Casual, Trendy, Comfortable

Jacket: $9.15

Dress: $8.75

I was the first to arrive at Goodwill, so I had a look around the store. Hoping to spot some items to snatch as soon as the challenge began, I was dismayed to find the store cluttered and overwhelming. I had not been thrift shopping before, so I was pretty intimidated when Belinda revealed that she had gone several times in the past. As a jacket can really make an outfit, so I first went to the coat section, where I was pleased to find a beige puffer jacket. To make the challenge as simple as possible, instead of picking out individual pieces, I went straight for a dress. I liked the dress that I picked a lot, except it was beige as well. Knowing that these two pieces were both beige, I was skeptical. At the last minute, I snagged a black jacket to pair with the dress, but in a moment of poor judgement, I paired the two beige pieces together and handed the outfit to Shriya. She ended up really liking the dress I picked out, admitting that she would even consider getting it for herself, but was unsure about the pairing with the jacket, confirming my suspicions.



Model: Andy Li: Random, Casual, Comfortable

When I stepped into Goodwill, I headed to the men’s section, a tiny corner compared to the women’s section. This already put me at a disadvantage, as I would have limited options to choose from. I didn’t let this dissuade me from trying to find the right outfit for Andy, however, who had told me that comfort is the most crucial factor while shopping for his clothes. I looked for cargo shorts, a plain tee and sneakers, all of which I thought would be simple and comfortable. Not knowing which clothing items would fit him, I picked out shirts and shorts of varying sizes and had Andy try them all on. None of the shorts were his size, but he agreed to wear a pair of baggy black shorts since there wasn’t enough time to find another pair. As for shoes, Andy ended up wearing flip flops, which I then paired with a gray Nike shirt. The outfit gave off a beachy vibe, so we topped off the outfit with sunglasses. Overall, the challenge wasn’t as difficult as expected; contrary to my earlier apprehensions, I realized that a larger variety makes choosing an outfit more challenging.



Model: Nicolas Rios: minimalist, conventional, utilitarian

From the start, I knew I wanted to go for vintage or retro vibes. A white and blue-striped shirt immediately caught my eye as I looked through the first rack in the men’s section. The shirt fit perfectly, so I decided to build the rest of the outfit around it. I settled for a pair of light wash jeans with a rip on the knee. The jeans perfectly contrasted the shirt, and although they were a little baggy around the waist, the shirt was long enough to mask that. I had figured out my outfit within the first five minutes of the challenge, but I forgot that we were also supposed to pick out shoes to finalize our creation. Finding shoes in the right size that went with the outfit was a monumental nightmare. I spent more than half of my time looking for shoes that would match his outfit’s retro vibe and he could actually walk in, and in the last minute, finally decided on a pair of tan suede oxford shoes that completed the look. I was very satisfied with the final result, since I managed to finish the challenge just in time, and his outfit came together so well that it had the power to completely change his vibe.



Model: Joycelyn Li:  pastel, trendy, casual

Gray cardigan: $8.25

Shorts: $3.99

White top: $4.35

Going into the challenge, I did not have the vaguest idea about what I wanted the outfit to be. I thought I might have an advantage, as I had already been thrift shopping before. I was wrong. My main concerns were that I would be unable to find clothes in Joycelyn’s size or style. I began to gather any items of clothing that looked promising. Joycelyn told me that she liked big cardigans, but I couldn’t find any. I settled for a long gray-to-white ombré cardigan and then chose a white cold shoulder top, as Joycelyn likes light colors. I definitely wanted her to wear shorts, but finding a pair of shorts that weren’t an awkward length or were her size proved to be a challenge. I picked out two pairs of shorts. When the first pair of shorts didn’t fit her, I had a bad feeling about the pair of backup shorts I had chosen. They were an awkward length and didn’t match the outfit’s color scheme. Though my outfit may not have been the most fashion-forward, overall, this challenge was a lot more difficult than I had initially envisioned. Regardless, it was definitely a challenging yet memorable experience.