o you feel that? The change in the air to a cool, crisp breeze, crackling leaves, and cozy clothes. It must be the season of FALL FASHION! And how much do you love fall fashion? As much as the first sip of a pumpkin spice latte, HBCU homecoming games with marching bands, NFL football, and a bonfire?! 

It’s a whole new season of self-expression and retail therapy and what better way to get your fashion on than visiting a thrift store? We all know fashion never dies and that certain trends are figuratively recycled, so let’s literally recycle, and upcycle our wardrobes with affordable fun fashion finds that are exclusive to you. 

Before diving into thrift stores, let's see what Fall Fashion 2021 looks like. Vogue says that it’s bodysuits, biker jackets, sweaters, and knitted dresses. And you can’t forget accessories like skull caps with the puff ball on top, boots, and scarves. Lastly, if you’re feeling a little extra — there’s always hair and makeup to complete your runway look. By no means should you limit yourself, though, and what’s better is incorporating these things into what makes you happy and not the other way around. 

Jumping in — What is retail therapy? Retail therapy is about the visualization of items you put together to create your style. The simple act of gathering the pieces that stand out to you is a creative process, much like putting together ingredients for a recipe. And the way you wear those items is your style. 

Retail therapy is believed to enhance your overall performance, as if you were an athlete, because it reduces anxiety. And most importantly, style is a form of self-expression matching our moods, daily activities, and environment. Retail therapy happens as a result of personal growth, change of time, and atmosphere. And that’s why, even when you catch someone in the same dress, you'll typically wear it differently enough that no one would ever notice. 

Thrift stores or secondhand stores have been around since the Elizabethan era. However, they made their way to the Americas through immigration and industrialization, as people continued to have rummage sales and bazaars. By the 1890s, charitable organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army accepted castoffs, which they recycled for a small profit. This was a way to bridge the gap between the wealthy and poor, and churches and settlement homes soon followed the same model. 

Not only is thrifting often more affordable, it’s charitable. Many people have recently started asking where their clothes were coming from, realizing big retailers had unsustainable practices. When you shop secondhand, you take away another item from the trash, another shirt made problematic by intense labor violations often overseas, and the harsh conditions it takes to make clothing which may be unfriendly to the environment. 

This goes without saying, but one man's trash is certainly another man's treasure when it comes to thrifting. And it’s the way we treasure that perfect item that has us feeling excited about what we’ve found. 

Also, the imperfections of a thrift store find have a story and although we may not know what it is before we wear it, it’s that intriguing mystery that gives the item value. Not to mention, there’s history tied to the item if it's from another decade which may bring back memories. It’s the nostalgia of it all. If you’re a true fashion buff, you may recognize the 2002 Versace Fall collection when you see a psychedelic fur trench coat hanging in the window of your off-beat thrift store. 

As much as we love retail therapy and thrifting, here are some things to consider. Just because you are thrifting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t budget. Yes, you can get 10 items for the cost of one in some cases, however, give yourself a set amount to spend and don’t go over it. The idea is to create your looks and styles for as little as possible. After all, you’ll be changing your wardrobe again in just a few short months for winter. 

Although thrifting is more affordable, there are still thrift stores that cost more than what you can afford. Be savvy about this and know which stores serve you best before venturing out. And last, don’t buy things you’re lukewarm about just because it’s cheaper. If you’re never going to wear it or you already have something like it, there’s no reason to hang it in your closet. 

The last suggestion is to make your own knitted clothing. With YouTube University at your fingertips, you may find a new hobby, a new way to give gifts for the holidays, and gratification from making your own outfit like the popular TikTok crocheter @Ma_Sandra

Most importantly when you’re thrifting, remember your clothing style is unique to you. Keep yourself open to treasures that you’ll find to help express yourself. With that said, shop smart and within your means. Get clothes you really care about and connect with, taking your time to visualize and bring that vision to fruition. And have fun while you do it, knowing you did something good for the planet and people.

Oct 1, 2021

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