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Fashionista On a Budget: Tips On Looking Fabulous For Less!

By Janet Reyes

New York City is one of the most expensive cities to live in. But it doesn’t mean having to give up on looking good because all of your money is going towards rent or cab rides and metro cards. Living on a budget isn’t a death sentence for your wardrobe, it just means you have to get a bit creative and find new ways to change-up your style without maxing out credit cards or emptying your bank account. 


Favorite looks that can be recreated using thrift store pieces!


Why Thrift Stores: Save and Make Money--


Thrift stores are a great way to not only find new clothes without breaking the bank, but it’s also a great way to empty your closet of all of those pieces you no longer wear. Lots of NYC thrift shops operate on buying, selling and trading. Basically, you can rummage through your closet, collecting any clothes and shoes you no longer wear. You take it to a thrift shop that does buys clothing, they look through your items to see what’s sellable or in season and they either give you cash or store credit for the items. A word to the wise though- don’t get your hopes up on making a small fortune for the items you plan on selling. Unless they’re high-end designer duds, most thrift shops pay a very small percentage for your items. You usually get a higher percentage back if you choose the store credit option rather than the cash. 



Some thrift stores carry an amazing selection of shoes!

When in NYC, Visit These Shops:

1. Cure Thrift Shop- 111 E. 12th St.

This store is not only home to a huge selection of secondhand clothes, shoes, books and housewares but it’s also a nonprofit shop that benefits juvenile diabetes research and awareness. Unlike other shops, it accepts donations. I donated a big bag of clothes a couple of years ago to this shop and was happy to see one of my pieces in the hands on a customer a few days later when I walked by. 

2. Buffalo Exchange- (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens) 

This is a popular consignment shop because they always have a great variety of clothing, shoes and accessories. There are multiple locations in NYC as well as several locations across the United States. This shop buys clothing from its customers and also trades. Buffalo Exchange is a great place to find bigger brand names for a lower price, however beware when attempting to sell back clothing as they are pretty selective with what they choose to buy from customers. 



3. Crossroads Trading Co.- (Manhattan and Brooklyn)

Similar to Buffalo Exchange, this store has several locations across the United States. They buy and trade so it’s also a great place to empty your closet and restock it. Anyone on a budget can easily walk into this shop with $50 and walk out with an amazing outfit. A major plus with this shop is their website. You can shop online (and catch some great sales) with $6 flat rate shipping and free shipping when you spend $75 or more.

4. East Village Thrift Shop- (186 2nd Ave, near 12th St.)

This is a very small shop in the East Village but it’s one of my favorites. This shop is like heaven for the fashionista on a budget. On its tightly packed racks, you can find adorable printed skirts for $8.99, gently worn shoes for less than $15 and unique jewelry pieces starting at $2. This is truly a great place to find those pieces that every closet should have like blazers, little black dresses, printed skirts, distressed denim and so on. $20 goes a long way in this shop. 



5. Buy the Bag- 159 28th Street, Brooklyn

Buy the Bag is the ultimate destination for the fashionista on a budget. You literally ‘buy the bag’ and stuff it with as many items as you can. You can rummage through bins and find hidden treasures like flirty dresses and designer jeans. Of course, this requires a great deal of patience and can be time consuming but it’s worth it. You can walk away from Buy the Bag with an entire new wardrobe depending on how many items you were able to fit into your bag. The store is operates by Housing Works, which is an organization that assists those living with HIV and AIDS and profits from the store go towards helping their cause.


Timeless Trend: Polkadots 
Being a fashionista doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. It takes some patience to search thrift shops for the must-have items but trust me, your wallet will thank you for it.  



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