Elsie’s Fashion Challenge – April Update

I am so happy to share that I’m on month four of my used shopping challenge and I’m absolutely loving it! I’ll share what I’ve learned, but first, a few outfits from our recent Palm Springs trip.

The dress I’m wearing above is Free People and I bought it for cheap on Poshmark. I’ve found so many amazing dresses for $20-$30 in there, including Free People, Anthropologie and Madewell.

Let me tell you, I was stunned when I found these matching Kate Spade dresses. I snagged them immediately.

There’s my Goodwill hat making another appearance. I’ve taken it on two trips this year.

This red dress is Ace & Jig. I snagged it for a good price—a fraction of what they sell for new. One thing I love about shopping used is that I’ve been mainly shopping high-end brands, and it ends up being the same prices as your typical mall clothes, but such higher quality!

I’m not doing the challenge for Nova’s clothes, but I did find this dress from the Whurl app for her. Isn’t it pretty? I love a good ’70s dress!

What I’ve learned so far: The biggest things I’ve learned so far is how unlimited used shopping is online. I was worried I’d feel kind of limited, but I haven’t at all. In fact, if I had more free time, I could probably shop WAY more and find even more gems. This year has been pretty busy for me (by choice! I like to stay super busy during our adoption waits) and I haven’t been able to do any local vintage/used shopping in months.

I have a little list of things I am looking for and this past month I was able to find a dress I had been wanting from a high-end brand for 60% less than retail (and it’s still sold in stores!). I feel so good about that and I also love how much less wasteful my new shopping habits are.

I’ve learned is that if I really want something, I can always find it. I am a fan of setting alerts and keeping a shopping list on my “notes” at all times. I feel like since starting this challenge I’ve found things that are more useful and that I’m wearing more because I’m shopping with more intention.

I’ve also generally felt better about just wearing and enjoying what I already have. I’m trying to get better about re-wearing the same outfits. I think back when we were fashion blogging, I got into the habit of only wearing outfits once or a few times. Now I’m trying to completely break that mindset because it’s so silly. I actually love rewearing the same outfits over and over—it’s so easy!

The only downside to shopping all used is that you almost always can’t return. So I do feel a lot more cautious about purchases. Sometimes if I’m on the fence I just don’t, or I know I may need to take something in for tailoring, so I make sure it’s worth the extra money. I have bought a couple things that didn’t fit or I didn’t love that I then had to re-sell—all things considered, totally worth it.

If you’ve been shopping used I would LOVE to hear what your favorite purchase has been and where you like to shop! 🙂 xx – Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson.
  • Oh man, you always look so lovely! You actually inspired me to do my own 2019 fashion challenge! I bought a few real vintage items like a red plissé midi skirt and en super pretty midi dress in blue and yesterday I bought a lovely black 90’s jumpsuit with giant sunflowers on it. I love vintage and secondhand clothing. I was really addicted to shopping new stuff so this is really good to me. Unfortunately I bought two new sweaters in sale but I loved them so much I couldn’t resist them. But thanks to this challenge, I also learned to appreciate my own stuff much more and if I buy something, I really think it through to avoid buying things I won’t wear.

  • Good on you! I think it’s great that you pointed out truthfully how silly it is to not repeat clothes. Most people look at celebrities and get impressed by how they don’t wear the same outfit twice, little realising there is a whole industry out there that supports this behaviour by loaning them dresses, accessories etc for events or even instagram pictures.

    • Yeah- I have zero judgements about what celebrities wear in photos. It’s just very different from what I’m doing in my real life. :))

  • I’d love your tips for shopping used online! Where have you had the most luck? How do you track down specific pieces you’re wanting or may have seen in store? I feel like I never pull the trigger because I’m afraid things aren’t going to fit! Any tips there?

    • I shop Poshmark the most and I mainly buy brands I already know/love (and am familiar with their sizing). If I was going to buy a new brand I would probably try to go to the store and try it on first since you can’t return used clothing almost anywhere.

      I’ve had some good luck on eBay, Etsy, Whurl and Depop.

      Locally I haven’t been making the time to get out and thrift but I’m thinking it’s something I can maybe to later this summer on maternity leave. Just haven’t been in that mindset lately though. 🙂

  • Such a lovely style you’ve got! I really enjoy shopping used items too but I have never tried to shop them online, I have always worried a little about how the clothes fit. Where are your flower shaped sunglasses from by the way? They look great!

  • Best used finds? YSL tuxedo dress on Ebay, all my mothers scarves. Actually my very favorite used clothing was all from her. A gray skirt suit with balloon sleeves, red crepe de chine tucked blouse, suede riding jacket. I wore them to death and still miss them.

  • I like Threadup because you can return. You have to pay a $2 restocking. You can either pay shipping and get your money back or they pay shipping and you get store credit. The prices are also decent. Worth it for the return factor.

  • ThredUp does returns! That being said I don’t know how much high end stuff they have. Your challenge inspired me to start buying used too. The more I learn about the ugly side of high consumption fast fashion I’m really motivated to just buy less. Way less. And now my desire to sew my own garments is getting reignited so we’ll see how that goes!

  • I love shopping second hand as it is so affordable and some pieces are as good as new. I don’t, however, have much time to physically go to such shops, which is a pity because sometimes browsing is half the experience 🙂

    PavlyDovely | PavlyDovely.com

  • LOVE your matching Kate Spade dresses! Best find was a Prada sweater/jacket I found in a Goodwill for $12.50!!!

  • I love that you are having such a positive experience with this and helping reduce the stigma around secondhand shopping! I’m curious – if I remember correctly, in your initial post you said you would replace staples like jeans with new items. Has your experience so far made you rethink this? I try to only buy secondhand or ethical items, and when it comes to buying things like jeans, it’s so much easier to go ethical. However, I know buying things like jeans secondhand is (extremely) possible, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly. What’s been your experience with this?

    • Hi! So far I’ve only bought one pair of jeans (they were Reformation via Poshmark) and they aren’t my favorite. So honestly- I will probably keep buying Madewell jeans after the year is over- they work really well for me and jeans are the kind of thing you need to return if they’re not great. I haven’t found any other go-to brands yet, but hopefully I will in the future.

      So far none of my staple items have worn out, though, so overall I’m just happy shopping less. :))

  • I’m putting myself on a spending diet for the whole May, but I know I won’t be able to really ~stop buying clothes so I will stick to buying used clothes too. Kinda nervous but also kinda excited to try this challenge. I love all your findings, btw. They’re all so ‘you’ and they look flattering!

    Love,
    Dara.
    http://darlaoct.com

  • You should try The Real Real if you haven’t already. It’s second hand clothes and you can return them if it doesn’t fit or you don’t like it!

  • I love that comment you make about not being afraid to repeat outfits – we’re all afraid of Kate Sanders accusing Lizzie McGuire of being an outfit repeater! I’m really enjoying developing a ‘uniform’-type style where I can just grab different versions of the same thing I love to wear and feel good.

  • Thanks for the post! Usually every 6 months I go and spend an entire Saturday at the thrift store and stock up for the year. I’ve been finding though that once I start wearing the clothes, they either have issues or have some weird thing going on that I didn’t notice in the shop. I’m going to try a couple of the online shops like Poshmark I think and hopefully I’ll snag some good stuff 🙂

  • I love following along on this challenge! Although I am not doing it myself this year, I am saving up for a trip to Italy, so curbing my spending in general! All of the pieces you’ve found used are absolutely stunning! 🙂

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