Secondhand Sweep: Finding a $20 Thrift Store Outfit

second hand thrift store outfits

How far does $20 go when creating a thrift store outfit? Read on to find out!

*cue “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore* Hey there! It’s us, Jayne and Cole, your resident writers here at FamilyApp. Since we’re just a couple of twenty-somethings who try to make the most of every dollar, we decided to see how far we could make twenty dollars stretch at the local thrift store. Of course, being who we are, it had to be a little competition. Each of us used our twenty dollars to put together an outfit. Bonus points were awarded for creativity, style, and getting the closest to the budget.

thrift store outfits

Why Should You Try a Thrift Store Outfit?

Thrift stores are great places to buy furniture, home decor, clothes, and household items at a fair price. Fortunately, many items are in decent shape and have plenty of life left in them. Shopping for clothes secondhand is a great way to combat fast-fashion, and prevents clothes from piling up in landfills. Sifting through a huge rack may seem a little intimidating but you’d be surprised what kind of gems and higher-end clothes you can find and add to your closet. Check out your local Goodwill or consignment store for some great deals!

A Thrift Store Tragedy

Jayne: My first-day thrifting, I went to a CHKD Thrift Store to scope it out. I found an adorable pair of red suede boots. One problem: they would be 25% off the next day since they would have their store-wide discount sale on Tuesday. So, I tucked them in a, well, discreet place (I found an ugly dresser and put them in the bottom drawer, okay?). When I came back on Tuesday, upon further inspection, they were TWO LEFT BOOTS. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. Let this be a lesson in trying things on before you buy them because you cannot exchange shoes at the CHKD thrift store. Perhaps this is also the universe trying to tell me that hiding the boots may have been a cheap move.

thrift store outfit boots

Jayne’s Thrift Store Outfit Haul

Jacket: I found three jackets that I liked, one stripe-y blazer, one Calvin Klein black denim jacket, and this one. After discussing with my roommate, the camel bomber-style jacket would be more useful since I don’t own a short coat and I already have two denim jackets. I love the color, and since I wear a lot of black, it would contrast nicely with a lot of my wardrobe. Price: $6.74

thrift store outfit leopard
My neutrals and leopard print outfit variation

Loving the Leopard

Top 1: After our article on leopard print, I was inspired. I found this boxy mock-turtleneck short-sleeved cheetah print top and couldn’t resist. The sleeves are a bit of an odd length, but I rolled them on the ends to get a better fit and add a little detail. Although I definitely feel more comfortable in something cinched rather than boxy, this is a top I’ll definitely be able to wear in many different ways. I’ll be honest, I’m wearing it right now. Price: $1.99

Top 2: One of my favorite colors to wear in the fall is a rusty orange. Orange is a difficult color to work with. However, with brown undertones, you’ve got a warm, sophisticated, pop of color. My friend insisted on the “french tuck” look. Price: $2.99

thrift store outfit

Pants: Finding a good pant at thrift stores can be tricky, especially without a dressing room. You really have to know your size and be able to look at a pair of pants and gauge whether they will fit. I found these pants and noted they had an interesting zipper detail. Since I’m pretty short, buying pants without trying them on is usually a gamble. But this time, it paid off! Price: $2.99

Thrift Store Gem

Earrings: I couldn’t leave without finding at least one accessory. These pair of Kendra Scott Danielle earrings in Emerald Cat’s Eye Glass may not be as versatile as my typical metallic accessories, but as a beach girl, anything that reminds me of sea glass is close to my heart. I loved the size and shape, and I’m sure I’ll find the perfect outfit so they’ll shine. Turns out the retail price is about $65, so I’m pretty excited. Price: $2.98

thrift store earrings
Kendra Scott earrings

Cole’s Thrift Store Outfit Haul

Camo Top: After a long and exhausting search through endless racks of clothes, I found myself in a difficult situation– there just wasn’t much to choose from in the style department. So, as one might assume, I took matters into my own hands. I spotted a military surplus camouflage shirt hiding on the men’s rack and knew I had to start there. It was comfy, had big pockets and made my shoulders look bigger. Price: $4.55

weird thrift store outfit
Outfit #1: the “Diet Coke Outfit”

T-shirt: My outfit was almost complete. The only thing left was to find an old T-shirt and a pair of pants. I grabbed a classic “Ford: Built Tough” print in navy blue, held it up in front of the mirror and decided it was the perfect match. Price: $2.00

Pants: Knowing that denim goes great with camouflage, I made my way towards the jean rack. Just before I threw in the towel a pair of dark blue Eddie Bauer jeans caught my eye. They were a little too long but I decided to get them anyways… I had a plan. Price: $5.75 

weird thrift store outfit
Down-feather vest

Vest: After a few more laps around the men’s section I decided to check the small selection of vests at the end of one of the racks. This was a game-time decision as I immediately found a down-feather vest with an orange plaid pattern and snap buttons. I threw it on over the cam0 shirt and knew I had made the right choice. Price: $5.20

Thrift Store Gem

nice thrift store outfit
Outfit #2 with a stylish tweed blazer

I knew that my first outfit was going to lose a few points for style. So, I snagged this perfectly fitting tweed blazer off of the suit rack for a back-up. Because I’d never owned a blazer before, I was super excited to see what else I could wear with it later. I threw on a few things and outfit #2 was ready to go. Price: $6.30

Why the Diet Coke, Cole?

Great question. I’ve always had a few friends who swear by their love of Diet Coke. I never understood why, and every time I tried it I was disgusted. However, a few months ago around Christmas time, I ordered a diet Coke with my meal at Plaza Azteca. I’m not sure how, but it was the best-tasting thing I’d had in weeks. You could say I’ve become a bit of a Diet Coke connoisseur. After putting my first outfit together something just felt off. It was missing something, and because I had a few bucks leftover I decided a two-liter of Diet Coke would really make everything pop. Price: $1.68

Whose Thrift Store Outfit Came Out On Top?

Jayne: With a total of $18.45 (tax included), I came a bit under budget. Unless I found something for $1.50, it probably wasn’t going to happen. I’m very happy with my findings, and I’ve worn each item a couple of times already! Especially those Kendra Scott earrings! No matter what the verdict is, this has been a win for me. But also, I’d like very much to officially win. And so I shall.

Cole: Weighing in at a grand total of $19.18 (minus the blazer), I was on the money. The addition of the two-liter of diet Coke really pulled me closer to the finish line and quenched my thirst at the same time. If you add the blazer, my total amount comes to $25.48. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which of my two outfits are worthy of the gold medal. Oh yeah, I guess you could also vote for Jayne, too. But I wouldn’t do that.

We had a ton of fun, and now we have some great thrifted treasures to add to our wardrobes! Whose thrifted ensemble do you think came out on top? Let us know in the comments!

For more family money tips and advice, check out the Money-Saving Family category on FamilyApp.

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