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BCBGMAX studded pumps, eShakti lace pencil skirt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Lucky Brand suede top (all own) and cape hoodie c/o Tricia Tanaka

Saving with second hand wardrobe additions is not only a great way to reduce waste and protect the environment. It is also a great way to stay on your fashion budget. After reading these easy-to-follow tips you will know how to identify what works so you can create a stunning wardrobe and save.


  1. How to Buy High-end Fashion on a Budget
  2. How to Look Well-dressed on a Budget
    • Best Places Where to Browse Thrift and Consignment Stores
    • Don’t Fall for a High-end Brand
    • Know Your Brands
    • A Key to Effortless Style Is Fit
    • Size Charts Changed over the Decades
    • Use a Band Measure to Save Time in the Fitting Room
    • Be Careful with Hand-made Clothing
    • Know the Value of your Fav Designers and Brands
    • Fashion on a Budget
  3. A Tweak can Give an Old Dress a New Look
  4. Examples of Stylish Looks under $150
  5. Final Remarks on Saving with Second Hand Wardrobe Additions


Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.


How to Buy High-End Fashion on a Budget

Many of us love thrifting and consigning. It’s the hunter in us, the thrill of a great find, saving on expensive clothes, or just the need to stay on a fashion budget, while having to dress for success, who knows. Second hand stores often have perfect, barely worn clothes that we could not afford first hand. And yes, we feel good about shopping there because recycling and reducing waste is also good for the environment. We all have different reasons.


How to Look Well-Dressed on a Budget

When you have no deadline, thrifting and/or consigning are great options to save on building an awesome functioning wardrobe. Browse for ageless, high quality clothing, bags, accessories and shoes in neutral colors or flattering colors of you palette. Pairing evergreen timeless pieces with a trendy items will create a modern outfit.


over 50 years old fashion blogger in lace skirt with suede peplum top and hoodie jacket
Front view of outfit with second hand top. The trendy cape hoodie adds a modern touch.


style blogger in neon consigned yellow top with black skirt and designer cape
BCBGMAX studded pumps, Lucky Brand suede top, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all second hand), eShakti lace pencil skirt, citrine and carved bone necklace (all own) and grassroot designer cape hoodie c/o Tricia Tanaka. See my review of the cape hoodie


Best Places Where to Browse Thrift and Consignment Stores

When you have no deadline thrifting and consigning are great options to save on an awesome functioning wardrobe. Browse thrift shops in upscale neighborhoods. These areas typically have higher end items than those in other areas of town.


Don’t Fall for a High-End Brand

It is important to try everything on to see how an item looks on you. Just because you love a Chanel jacket doesn’t mean that it is flattering for you body shape. Recall you don’t want a hem line at the widest part of your body. You can determine your body type with this free quiz.


Know Your Brands

Make a list of brands and designers that produce pieces in your personal style and look for them. If you are lucky to find a Betsy Johnson, but your style is dramatic or classic, this Bohemian Style find will just take up real estate in your closet and you will never wear these beautiful clothes.

Recall wearing designer does not equal to effortlessly stylish.

If you don't look great in the clothes, it doesn't matter that it is a high-end brand. You look just expensive, not effortlessly stylish. #dress4success Click To Tweet


A Key to Effortless Style Is Fit

Never buy something that doesn’t fit. Therefore, try everything on. Be aware that the pieces can be from brands that you never had your hands on before (but are on your wish list), or even from other countries, each of which might have their own system of sizing. Do I have to mention that the previous owner may have had the piece altered?

And yes, even high-end fashion can shrink when the owner failed to follow the care instructions.


Size Charts Changed over the Decades

When you are interested in fashion history, you may already know that even sizing systems in the United States have shifted over time! Also handmade items don’t have size tags. And you never know, whether the piece of your choice had been tailored to fit a tinier women than the size tag pretends. Thus, avoid looking at the size tag as the plague.


Use a Band Measure to Save Time Going into the Fitting Room

In thrift stores, the merchandise often is ordered by price rather than size. Therefore, it is easier to find your size in consignment stores because their staff sorts clothes by broad sizes – typically S, M, L, and XL. Always try the clothes on to be safe, not sorry. Recall size is just a number.

To save time and avoid frustrations caused by too large or too small items, come prepared. A measure band is a great aid. Lay the item flat and take the measures for shoulder width, breast, waist, upper and lower hip as well as length.

Multiply the measures with 2 and you have the circumference.

Compare these numbers with your body measures plus 1-2 inch for ease. If the values of the clothing agree with those of your body try the piece on. Otherwise, there is no point to take it to the fitting room, even when you had dressed for clothes shopping.



Be Careful with Hand-Made Clothing

Often you may find hand-made clothes. Because they have no size tag, the measure tape is great to check whether the garment could fit you. As hand-made items are custom-made, check the fit from all angles. Ask a staff member to take photos from your sides and back. Doing so enables you to see how the clothing looks. Bending to take a selfie of your back twists the item.

influencer saving with second hand wardrobe additions on style
Zoom to show the second hand shoes


back view of work look with long hoodie cape and lace skirt
Back view of the outfit to show the cut of the cape hoodie


Outfit details of the necklace, second hand top and bangle
Zoom on second hand top to feature its classic Princess seams cut


Nicole of High Latitude Style in fall office attire in black and yellow
Outfit details: BCBGMAX ankle strap pumps, eShakti above-the-knee skirt, statement necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Lucky Brand peplum top and caplet c/o Tricia Tanaka



Know the Value of Your Fav Designers and Brands

In my tips on five star shopping on eBay, I point out to watch the bidding market prior to start buying or bidding. Doing so you can find out whether your wish wardrobe addition is worth its price. Of course, in a second hand store, this method fails. Therefore, you should know what your fav designers and brands cost first hand. With this price tag in mind add the upper most price you are willing to pay for a pre-owned jacket, dress, pair of pants, etc. that looks like new. Stick to it with respect to the upper limit. Plus always judge the wear and assess whether the wear and tag are in sync. Even $20 for a Gucci scarf, for instance, are too expensive when the scarf has holes or is ribbed.

Sometimes a little alteration is all a second hand dress needs to be awesome again. #secondhandclothes #thriftingblogger Click To Tweet


Examples of Stylish Looks under $150

Below are example outfits for inspiration. The clothes I wear in each of these looks are below $150 per outfit. See this complete guide on how to look like a 1000 bucks for a couple of bucks by applying the secrets to create modern outfit with second hand clothes.


second hand outfit with pleated polka dot skirt striped jacket patent leather pumps
Jones New York striped white and navy blue cardigan, Lauren Ralph Lauren pleated polka dot skirt, LK Bennett patent leather court pumps ($50) (all second hand)


influencer in budget friendly pants, sweater and scarf found on sales
The GNW Luxe sweater was 50% off, the Oscar de la Renta scarf was a thrift find for $5 (!) and the pants were auctioned off-season on eBay new for less than a fourth of the retail price. Clark booties



Final Remarks on Saving with Second Hand Wardrobe Additions

Finally, to really save and stay on your budget
When thrifting or consigning buy only name brand items that you have on your wish-list. #saving Click To Tweet

Get a list of brands to look for as a cheat sheet to put into your purse or store on your phone to have it handy next time you are thrifting.  You also may like to read this general guide on how you can save when shopping.


Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Ruth

    I am all about second hand shopping! Top name brands and textures are the best to buy thrifted on a budget.

  2. donnadoesdresses

    I’m all for this way of shopping – I get far superior quality clothing and I’m being thrifty and helping to conserve the resources of the planet!! Beautiful pictures, Nicole!! Donna 🧚🏻‍♀️❤️🙏

  3. Theresa

    I’ve been carrying a tape measure with me for years on my shopping trips. If something doesn’t measure correctly when I’m at a rack, it never makes it to the dressing room! Saves a lot of time. Also, I shop at a lot of flea markets and vintage clothing shows where there often is nowhere to try on. Having a tape measure really helps there as well.

  4. Just adore that lacy hem on your skirt and the pop of yellow. I should try this when I go clothes shopping, it does make sense to measure it before getting undressed, especially if you only find 1 or 2 items you want to quickly try on before hitting the next store.


  5. Great thrifting tips! I’ve been guilty of buying something purely for the brand name and then never wearing it because it just wasn’t my style.
    And thanks for the Top of the World Style feature. Love the link up! <3

  6. Jodie

    I just love preloved clothes and thrift shopping. You ought to join us in the #thriftedchicstylechallenge on Instagram next month, Nicole. You’d be perfect for it. The details are in my highlights right now, and will be posted when it gets closer!!

  7. These are great tips for shopping second hand! I’ve been caught up in buying high end pieces that don’t look good on me just because of the price. Thank you so much for the feature! What a nice surprise this morning!

    Jill – Doused in Pink

  8. Great tip about measuring the clothing! How come I had never thought of that – quite brilliant. I don’t own any high end fashion but I’d sure like to. Second hand would definitely be the way to go for me and my budget!

  9. shelbeeontheedge1

    Such a great post on second hand shopping tips! Ever since I started working in a consignment shop, I am way more inclined to shop second hand these days. The thrill of the hunt is the best part, I think! I love this outfit you are sharing today, too. That slip style skirt is so pretty and your shoes are magnificent! Thanks so much for the feature today. What a lovely surprise!


  10. mummabstylish

    Some great tips here Nicole, glad you shared them. Love the outfit you look fab. Thanks for hosting. Jacqui Mummabstylish