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Fashionista shares tips for finding thrift stores bargains

"You do have to spend time looking for good clothes from [thrift stores]or second-hand sites, but it is worth it to find amazing stuff."

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By Emma Dunn via SWNS

A fashionista who saved £5k ($5,767) buying from thrift stores says her wardrobe is now 90 percent pre-loved and is sharing her tips for finding a bargain.

Monica Marriott-Mills, 27, started rifling through thrift stores in college and was inspired by her grandmother, Jan, 77, who was a vintage reseller.

After being inspired by her style, she invested time into finding vintage designer pieces - like her favorite Burberry trench coat which she bought for £120 ($138), a sixth of the retail price.

Realizing she had a knack for hunting out great garments, Monica started sharing her tips with friends and with her online community.

She can spend up to half a day on a weekend sifting through thrift stores and using sites such as eBay and Vinted to source her second-hand wardrobe.

Her best bargains include a pair of Kurt Geiger brogues which she got for £1 ($1.15) and a Gucci bag bought for £595 ($686) - over 50 percent off the retail price.

She recently purchased a gold Zara dress for £9 ($10.38), originally £50 ($57.67), and a Reiss dress for £12 ($13.84) which was £70 ($80.75) new.

Monica spends up to £50 ($57.67) a month on second hand clothes, saving £450 ($519), and saves up to buy a couple of luxury items a year - which she will still try to get pre-loved or discounted.

Monica, a social media manager, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England said: "I fell in love with [thrift stores] and thrifting as soon as I started dressing myself for college and was out of uniform.

"I think my grandma had a big influence in my love for slow fashion.

"Now my friends are always asking how I find such good stuff in [thrift stores].

"It's definitely about investing time searching for it, but also being specific in what you're looking for online.

"I don't think people look at me and realize that I'm wearing second-hand clothing.

"It shows what good things you can find without shopping new."

Some of Monica's favorite finds include her Burberry coat which she bought for £120 - rather than their starting retail price of £600 ($692) - and a pair of Chanel earrings for £250 ($288), which normally cost over £500 ($576).

"I've got a North Face coat that I got for 50 percent less than retail from Depop," she said.

"Some of my favorite jumpers and shirts I've bought for as little as £1."

Monica says her wardrobe is now 90 percent pre-loved but she still saves up to buy special items from luxury brands.

"I buy a select few things new but from a brand I know is sustainable if I can or pre-loved," she said.

"I also buy tights, undergarments and socks new.

"But for everything, I always go by my rule that it is £1 a wear - so it's weighing up if it will then be worth it.

"You do have to spend time looking for good clothes from [thrift stores] or second-hand sites, but it is worth it to find amazing stuff.

"It's good to be specific in your search - for example typing in brands for a blazer and the type of fit so you can get better results.

"And if a seller has one thing you like it's likely they might have some more items that fit your style.

"I love slow fashion and making my wardrobe as second-hand and sustainable as possible.

"[Thrifting] is a lottery, you won’t always find great things every time but I hope by sharing tips it gives people the confidence to give it a go and shop most sustainably.

"I just don't think there is so much of a need to buy new anymore."

Monica's top tips for thrifting:

  • Look out for basics - always good to have a staple black or white top.
  • Never miss out on the blazer section - there can be some great brands.
  • Look out for iconic prints and fabrics.
  • Browse through denim - great brands like Levi often end up in thrift stores.

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