Thrift Stores: The Frugal Stitch Fix?

Updated: Apr 12, 2021


Are you overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choice available in women's fashion today? So many brands, so many styles, so many trends, so many Instagram ads -- where does one start? Would you prefer your choices to be narrowed to a random, eclectic assortment of items? After all, multiple studies have shown that having more choices doesn't make us happier and can instead lead to overwhelm and second-guessing.


One option is to sign up to have a box of fashion items, custom-curated by a stylist, delivered to your door, like Stitch Fix or Trunk Club. But in my limited experience with Stitch Fix, the stylist's ability to pinpoint my personal preferences fell flat. The budding Instagram genre of mocking the off-the-mark items in one's Stitch Fix delivery confirms my suspicions that these boxes just don't work for a lot of people. Plus, both the clothing and the experience can be pricy.


Enter the frugal method for limiting our fashion options and therefore maximizing happiness and contentment: the Thrift Store! There is only one of each item, so if it's not the right size, we don't even have to think about whether to buy it! If we're lucky to find a handful of items that are cute and in the right size, we'll be elated by our good fortune. Not to mention, every item is $4.49 (50% off for items with orange tags, and everything is $0.79 on Sundays!), so it's possible to purchase armfuls of clothes that look like they have potential, take them all home for a private fashion show, and simply dump the rejects back into the Thrift Store donation box. It's even easier than the home delivery fashion box, plus cheaper, good for the environment, and has a better likelihood of resulting in contentment and satisfaction.


Much like receiving a mail-order box of items that have been selected by a virtual stylist, shopping at the thrift store can get us out of our comfort zone and encourage us to pick cutting-edge fashions that we wouldn't normally buy. The last time I went thrift shopping, I bought a t-shirt with an embroidered skull on it, simply because it was one of only five items on the rack that looked like it might fit me. Would I have selected this item while browsing at a retail store or retail website? A million times no. Do I feel like a badass wearing it? Definitely.


Not my actual skull t-shirt, although this one is cute too.


Turns out that a children's consignment store in Seattle has caught on to this concept and will mail a hand-selected assortment of second-hand children's clothes to your door. Looks like we've come full circle on this idea.


Here's three more:

In 2010, Katrina Lake recruited 20 friends for an experiment: she wanted to see if she could choose clothes for them that accurately matched their style and personality.


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