I think every girl remembers the first time they walked into their first Urban Outfitters. I remember that day during my high school years very clearly. For months, one by one, I had seen my then flatter chested, Hollister and Abercrombie wearing friends travel to the depths of East Carson street and then come back changed women, deflowered by this magical life-changing clothing store. I just didn’t understand what was happening, these girls who I had seen wearing chunky jewelry and holding Coach bags were coming to school now wearing purple skinny jeans and crew neck hoodies with pictures of cynical looking cats on them.
However one fateful day, my friend Nicole had just gotten her license so we decided to travel to the South Side Works, unknowing and naïve to the fact that thereafter, our lives would be forever changed.
There I was introduced to a lifestyle. Where else could you find flasks with funny sayings on them, polaroid cameras, and amazing clothes in one place? The whole store looked like a scene out of a dream of an indie movie starring Kristen Stewart and that guy from 500 Days of Summer. I was in awe.
Alas, as it always does, reality and age struck me. As people and times changed, and the margin slowly became the mainstream, Urban Outfitters lost its sheen. Today when I walk into a retailer such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropolgy or even Pac Sun?…, my starry hopeful eyes lose their sparkle as soon as I see the price tag. Not to mention, the fact that I’m being asked to pay $50 for two pillow cases stapled together and bedazzled and then called a fashionable shirt.
The fact is, that pillow case shirt is considered fashionable today. Apparently, these days, the more psychotic you look, the more compliments you’ll get from other girls at parties. I personally love it, and while Urban Outfitters is an easy cop out to get to that “Wow, she’s fashionable!” status, there is a way to get around it. It’s called “thrifting”.
I know that the idea of walking around in a fluorescently lit store that smells like moth balls, might not sound like the best way to spend a girl’s night out. However, from experience, I can tell you that it’s a lot of fun trying to find stuff that you could actually wear in public. If you don’t believe me, I have pictures to prove it.
My beautiful roommate Alexa, graciously allowed me to dress her up in my clothing that I have collected over the years from various thrift stores around the area. (Ps. I put all of these pictures through Instagram filters so they’d look more hip.)
The first dress you are seeing here was $5. It sort of reminds me of what the people of District 12 in the Hunger Games would wear. Which is awesome. I hear the Loretta Lynn song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” play every time I glance into my closet and see it. This outfit, paired with some pearl earrings, red lipstick and black or white flats could be something you wear to a picnic or a lunch date.
This next outfit that you see here is inspired by the die-hard hipsters of the world. While the pants, and the black rimmed glasses were purchased elsewhere. The sweater was actually purchased for $3.49 at my local “Thrift King”. Not kidding, if you threw this in an Urban Outfitters, I’m sure many would buy it even with a $50+ price tag. You could wear this outfit to the library or an “anti-mainstream” party in the future.
The upcoming ensemble is personal favorite, one that I rock at least once every two weeks. Big denim and suede shirts are a very versatile and trendy piece of clothing to have. I’ve worn the tan shirt, unbuttoned with a bandeau underneath and some dark wash shorts but I’ve also worn this shirt buttoned up to the neck and with very light washed jeans. Guess how much this one cost. $2. Also, if you notice those fabulous shoes that Alexa is wearing, they were also purchased at a Good Will. They were a little bit on the expensive side, at $17, however, I could easily see someone spending a good amount of money on them because they are so unique and awesome. As my lovely roommate Alexa has displayed, this look can look good on almost anyone.
This next combo is pretty interesting. The only thing that was purchased at a thrift store was the shirt; however, that’s what pretty much makes the outfit. It actually started out as a large t-shirt but I liked the design on the front so I cut it up to make it look cooler. I’m also pretty sure that it was only $1! This can be worn with anything, however my roommate threw some high waisted shorts and a bandeau on, and it looks great. This look paired with some combat boots, dark eye makeup and a studded clutch would scream, “Hey there, I’m a red flag. Wanna fux with dis?”
As you’ll notice as I continuing showing ya’ll these thrifty looks, I have a thing for Red, White and Blue and American flags. Example A: This giant sweater. I found this glorious thing when I was visiting my sister in Long Beach, CA. In California, there is a road nicknamed “Retro Road” that solely houses vintage and retro secondhand clothing stores. I usually wear this around my apartment in the winter, however, if you pair it up with some black tights, you could definitely wear it as a sweater dress. Ps. It was only $2.
Also going along with the American flag theme is this gem of a sweatshirt that says “Patriotism: An American tradition. There’s not much to say about it, other than the fact that it’s the COOLEST and was only $4.50.
Finally the last outfit that my roommate will be displaying is my all-time favorite jean jacket. The red, high-waisted pants were actually purchased from an online retailer however, the white shirt underneath and the jean jacket were found at a thrift store. The jean jacket is actually a $5 one that I found at thrift store that started out like a “mom jacket” but I cut off the bottom and bleached the whole thing so it could look a lot edgier. This outfit could be worn at an America themed party, but one could also work this at the zoo, at a concert, or pretty much anywhere that doesn’t involve education or God. Wear this outfit with some black studded heals and you’re ready to rock, or change up the feel with some white Converse shoes and dance around to 80’s pop.
The final two outfits are actually modeled by myself because some curves are necessary to really pull off the look, and my roommates a twig. (Not to mention, I didn’t want Lex to have all of the fun of getting dressed up).
This first dress was purchased at a thrift store for $5 and was probably once worn by a school teacher. However, it’s a really cute dress to wear at the office for an internship or to the library for a day of studying. I paired it with a purse that I also bought for $3 at the same thrift store.
The final dress is one that I purchased for under $5. Whenever I wear it I harness some Cleopatra swag and feel like a straight baller. I actually wore this dress to a National Honors Society induction ceremony in high school. However, it could also be worn out to something like a New Year’s Eve Party or someone’s birthday!
In conclusion, you can see that there are many ways to look like a hipster chic female on a budget. So next time you’re in the South Side and want to venture into Urban Outfitters, just take a detour and go to Goodwill. The decorations may not be as nice, but I’m sure you’ll find some cool things for an eighth of the price.