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Finding Freedom Through Thrifting

I made my first thrift store purchase four years ago, and my style is forever changed.  I won’t pretend that I started thrifting to support sustainable causes or anything so noble.  My goal was to find cool clothing for cheap prices like the wonderful, stylish folks I’d found in the Instagram community.  I wound up receiving so much more.  No amount of money could buy what I receive from jumping into thrift shopping.

Stylistic freedom is something I didn’t even know I needed, but is something I unexpectedly receive with every purchase I make.  I like to say thrifting unleashed me to find my authentic style, and actually made my style better.  Once my mind was freed, so was my style, which is now a true reflection of who I am.


How is it possible that buying and wearing someone else’s old stuff could improve my style?  Thrifting helped me dismiss the boundaries, categories, and labels that we unconsciously learn every day through the advertising and imagery we consume.  The mere organization, or lack thereof, at the thrift store requires that you let go of what you know.  To effectively shop these stores, you’ve got to have an open mind.

There is no sizing (at most stores) and no brand differentiation.  All you get is a loose grouping of slightly similar items. I’ve learned that clothes do not need to be grouped by size because size labels literally do not matter.  That can seem scary at first, but it helped me break through the limited view that many of us are conditioned to have about how clothing “should” be worn, and what “should” fit us.  The only thrifting rule, if you like the item, try it on and style it any way that feels good to you.  How freeing is that?

Freedom is also found in shopping the whole store, and not just one section.  I always shop through blazers and button-down shirts from both the men’s and women’s sections.  Just as size doesn’t matter in the thrift store, neither do gender and age labels.  Although clothing is separated into a Men’s, Women’s and Children’s section, I shop every area without hesitation. I’ve purchased a Boy Scouts of America shirt and a youth football jersey, both of which are part of my current wardrobe.

Purchased from the children’s department. Sorry, not sorry, kids.

My favorite jeans, blazers and button-down shirts are from the Men’s section.  Although, I have always loved to mix menswear inspired elements into my style, I NEVER even considered shopping the men’s section in any store.  Thrifting helped me let go of that boundary, and opened up a whole new way of style.

A denim shirt from the men’s department is a perfect pairing for a denim on denim look.

I can’t recall being as confident in my personal style as I am today, nor have I had so much fun getting dressed.  It could be partially due to age but, I know, a big part of it is thrifting.  If you’ve been on the fence about thrifting, I encourage you give it a try.  Walk in with an open mind, use the strategies from my previous blog post, and prepare to be transformed.

Follow me on Instagram at @mystyleismybrand for more style tips and inspiration.

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8 thoughts on “Finding Freedom Through Thrifting

  1. Sabra, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful style and philosophy. I’m so grateful for your Instagrams. They are a daily balm for my creative soul, and have inspired me to unleash my style and self expression, as well. It’s been dormant for a very very long time. Thank you for helping me set it free!

    1. Hi Lydia!

      This is fantastic. You let me know that I’m making a positive impact. I want everyone to experience the same joy I do through style. Thank you for your support.


  2. Thank you for directing us from FB to here. You continue to inspire me to “think outside of socital norms”. I’ve been thrifting for at least 25 years. I call it guilt free shopping and reusing resources. However now I shop in each section as well as I learn to navigate non traditional looks. As long as it makes me feel good wearing it, I’m buying it.
    Hats off to you my seasoned sista!

    1. Hi Venus, thank you for joining me over here at the website/blog. You’re a thrifting veteran! I wish I had known the joy of thrifting in my youth. The impact on my personal style has been amazing. The sustainable nature of thrifting makes it even more fun. I love that you’re expanding your boundaries and now shop all sections.