Fashion slip-up: Trying and failing to thrift

September 20, 2018 — by Sandhya Sundaram

A student tries to hop onto a ongoing trend: thrifting for clothes

With the rising popularity of “thrifting” — buying second-hand clothes and wearing them to achieve a vintage look — on social media in the past few months, I felt left behind with my ugly hoodies and lazy sweatpants. I thought of the typical outfits I’d see in these posts, with distressed jeans, a color-blocked bomber jacket, some hip boots and cat-eye sunglasses.

I wanted to achieve this look. So I decided to give thrifting a try at Savers, a second hand clothing store chain in San Jose. I left my comfort zone, buying Columbia capri checkered pants that cut off mid-calf and flared outwards. After spending about an hour in the store, I bought the pants for around $5. The pants were definitely too short for me, but I reassured myself that I would impress everyone if I just got them.

I thought that even though the look was questionable, the risk would pay off when my outfit would be unique and vintage looking.

The following week, I decided to wear my checkered hiking pants to school. When I put them on, the mirror in my room made them look a lot worse than I had remembered them looking in Savers, but I managed to convince myself that it was the lighting, and that it would definitely look much better in school. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

When I got to school, many people felt the need to roast me. Even worse, I had to give a presentation in English class in my outfit.

Junior Meghna Gupta told me that I should “never wear those pants ever again.” Junior Sanya Kwatra told me that she agreed with Gupta that the fit was really odd and quite stupid looking. Suddenly I felt very uncomfortable in my capris, and even more nervous that I would have to talk about Death Row and mass incarceration to my English class while looking like a fool. It did not help that part of the rubric was based on appearance, and I did not look presentable.

I somehow stumbled through the presentation, mentally preparing myself for the possibility that my outfit might lower my grade. Thankfully, the rest of the day went by fine, but I was annoyed that thrifting was apparently not my skill.

I shoved the pants into the back of my closet and forgot about them until one day in the summer, out of boredom, I decided to cut them into shorts. Without telling people that these were the same pants, I wore them to school again, only to receive many compliments.

Even though I didn’t have an instant flare for thrifting, I wound up getting creative and decided to repurpose the pants instead of throwing them out. Don’t get discouraged by the flawless thrifting posts you see; they don’t convey the effort and the many failures it takes to achieve a good look. But with a little bit of creativity, you can turn a drab, ugly piece into something worthwhile. Thrifting can be a great way to add unique outfits to your wardrobe at incredible affordable prices, as long as you have the patience and realistic expectations.

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