My friends will never get tired of hearing my signature phrase “but I’m broke!!” every time they suggest going out to eat or going shopping. Except that they do get tired of it, a lot actually. And the reason that I’m broke is because I’m saving ALL my money for Spain, so I can have at least some security there. And if being broke now means having comfort later, so be it. The only money I do spend is tip money from working at an ice cream store, which usually isn’t much. So, I’ve learned to be thrifty. But that’s a skill I’ve had since birth, and growing up poor makes you learn these things.
So these are my tips for acquiring cheap (and sometimes even free) clothing. These can apply to Portland and my fellow Mainers, as well as beyond.
yes, I know, it’s owned by LePage and I hate that and will always and forever be opposed to that. But COME ON, Marden’s is a broke girl’s goldmine. It’s my guilty pleasure. You walk into Marden’s and you have no idea what you’re gonna find. It could be a bust, or it could be a boom. But the whole concept is that surplus or damaged clothes from brands are sent to Marden’s and sold for way cheap. Life if there’s a fire in the warehouse, the clothes are sent to Marden’s. And all of them aren’t burned sometimes! But usually it’s surplus from designer brands. I got a Badgley Mischka prom dress originally $400 for $50.
2. Goodwill + Salvation Army
every Portland kid swears by these. The Goodwill has even gotten to the point where it’s considered high end.
3. Goodwill by the Pound
I don’t even know how to describe Goodwill by the Pound. Basically, you drive to a warehouse complex out in the middle of nowhere, walk into a huge dusty warehouse greeted by chaos and a room full of bins. And inside those bins are trash and treasure. It’s all about knowing how to look. And how to be aggressive. Because everyone else is on the hunt as well. Goodwill by the pound sells the Goodwill products that no one bought. They get sent to this warehouse, sorted, and rolled out in bins. And about every 20 minutes they ring a bell and everyone is sent behind a line, and the bins are replaced with new ones. It sounds grimy, and it is, but trust me you can find some good stuff. I recently copped a decent fake pair of YZY sneakers. Of course I tell everyone that they’re real because I want to feel boujee enough to afford $600 sneakers.
4. Trading clothes
If you have clothes that you don’t wear anymore, you can actually trade with people for new stuff. I’ve heard that there are a lot of community events like this, but I haven’t actually been to one. Instead, I like to trade my clothes online on a site called Rehash. It’s totally free, all you have to pay for is shipping. It’s easy to use, you just take pictures of the stuff you want to trade and communicate with people who have the stuff you want.
5. Thrift Shops
the city I live in, Portland, has a huge thrift shop culture. There are so many to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find something good. Like Material Objects, which has a few more expensive times and also a bin of $8 jeans. Find and Second Time Around are more high end. Little Ghost and Haberdashery have great stuff. And that’s only a few of my favorites.
I love Poshmark. It’s an app that’s like an online thrift shop. You can buy and sell clothes, and find used high end things marked waaaay down.