Before modest fashion became more accessible in the past about 10 years, the thrift store used to be the one of the only places I could find modest clothing. I would scour the racks for loose silhouettes of the past and remix it with contemporary pieces to make a style all my own. What started as a quest to find clothing that covered me properly became an endorphin-inducing shopping thrill when I realized just how affordable it was for a hijabi to shop secondhand.
If you haven’t tried thrifting, truly you are missing out.
I would find long skirts with no slits at the thrift store at a fraction of the cost at the new Islamic fashion websites that were just starting to become popular. I could buy five second-hand, unique skirts for the price of one skirt online that everyone and their momma was already wearing!
And, as I became more aware of the detrimental effects of fast fashion on environmental catastrophes
, such as global warming, I started to understand that shopping second hand was more just a personal hobby – it was a lifestyle change that could make a more global impact. All my needs were met at the thrift store –– unique, conscious, modest and affordable clothing.
There are many Muslim-owned modest clothing businesses out there that we should support; and, Alhamdullilah that mainstream department stores and major brands are also now catering to modest wear fashion. That has been such a gain in the past decade. However, the affordability of modest clothing is a huge barrier for some women who need to shop on a budget, but want to be covered.
Oftentimes, modest clothing is more pricey, and converts to Islam frequently complain that it is tough to transform a whole wardrobe to modest clothing after becoming a Muslim without spending an arm and a leg. Adding in the factor if you’re a curvy, tall or plus-sized woman, and that means that you have to spend more to layer your outfits or pay that extra $10+ per item for more fabric.
At the thrift store, these problems are less of a burden, because in the hodgepodge of the racks, you may find the perfect loose jeans in a size 16 for $5 – the same price as the size six jeggings on the next rack. Quality at the thrift store is also a mixed bag – a high-quality Ann Taylor blazer might be $2.99 right next to a lower quality Forever 21 blazer marked at $6.99. The thrift store levels the playing field.
If you haven’t tried thrifting, give it a go. Build your seasonal capsule wardrobe of long-term pieces
. And then I would encourage trips to the thrift store every seasonal change to add some new-to-you, low-price items to mix with items you already own. Or, if you love high-end fashion but not the high-end prices, try your luck at your local thrift stores!
Here are three fall outfits of mine that mix some thrifted finds with one essential, staple dress I bought at a modest fashion online boutique – a black, long-sleeved dress. The dress was about $40, but the thrifted finds range from $4 to $8 only! I’ve included some tips when considering what to buy to add to your wardrobe, because even though a thrift store find may be a bargain, you don’t want to add unnecessary clothing to your wardrobe.
Look/Tip #1: Think about what compliments your current wardrobe.
When shopping at the thrift store, look for colors that already compliment pieces in your current wardrobe. Think about this one important question – “What will I wear this with?” I spotted this camel and white cardigan in the blazer aisle of my local thrift store. I knew that it would be perfect with my current favorite pair of sneakers. I paired it with a pop of red with my sunglasses and bag, and of course, my HH Ivory jersey hijab.
Look/Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to look at shoes!
It may be an unpopular opinion, but I would suggest taking a look at the shoes at the thrift store as well. Just because it’s second-hand, doesn’t mean it’s worn out and falling apart. In fact, the thrift store associates often throw out unsanitary items, so the shoes I’ve seen at thrift stores are in wearable condition. My tip is – keep an eye out for shoes in even better condition than that! These vintage, all-leather, woven loafers were only $6, were barely worn and look great with my outfit. The reversible wool scarf is also thrifted – two bucks only! This ensemble was not complete without an HH hijab – I’m wearing Bamboo Woven in Hot Chocolate.
Look/Tip 3: Look for unique fabrics to add interest to your wardrobe!
It's a beautiful day in thrifting with these olive heels and swing top.
That day was an excellent shoe day at the thrift store! In this look, I thrifted these beautiful olive heels, and the gold swing top. Tip number three is to look for fabrics that are unique and would make your outfit more interesting. It’s hard to find this soft fabric with metallic finish in your local mall, especially in a long length and loose silhouette. But it was at the thrift store for $3 only! I matched the olive shoes with an olive hijab (try our HH Bamboo Woven in Olive
for a similar color), and layered a maxi-length cardigan over the look for warmth.
All of the times in these ‘fits were items I already had mixed with low-cost, recycled items from the thrift store, and paired with one essential dress from an online boutique. Shopping on a budget and looking great and modest is totally doable! So have I convinced you? :)
Do you thrift? What are some of your tips on finding second-hand gems? Let us know in the comments what you found on your best thrift haul!