A Primer For Coming Out of This Pandemic With a Killer Wardrobe

Shaunta Grimes

Or: How to thrift shop online.

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I’m not sure how to feel about this, but it’s the truth.

When I finally get to poke my nose out of my house, post-Covid, I’m going to have a seriously kick-ass wardrobe.

No joke. Shopping on ThredUp is saving my sanity while I’m stuck inside. I flip through the photos like I used to flip through the racks at Goodwill or Salvation Army. I click the little heart and favorite things that I’m attracted to.

And when they have a sale, or when I have a credit because I’ve shipped something back or thanks to the bags and bags of things I sent them in February, I put together an order.

And then the FedEx guy shows up at my house and it’s like Christmas.

They’re having a Mother’s Day sale this weekend, so I thought — why not write up a little primer to show you how I find the things I love.

Covid-Related Aside

I won’t lie. I feel guilty about making the ThredUp and the FedEx (and who knows who else) folks work to bring me those boxes. The person who takes the photos. The person who packages my order up. The person who delivers the boxes to FedEx. The person who organizes the shipment. And on and on.

I live across the street from a Church and several businesses and the FedEx guy is in my neighborhood daily, whether or not he stops at my house — so that makes me feel a little better.

And the income from selling the clothes goes in part to the people who sent the items in, so I assume that my purchases are helping some people.

I honestly don’t know how to process how I feel about making anyone work during this weird time. I’ve never been so aware of how many people are involved — how many hands touch — every single thing that we do. Everything.

My ThredUp Strategy

I’ve gotten really good at finding things that are spot on for me at ThredUp.

One thing that really helps is that I’ve spent the last six months really studying and figuring out my own personal style. I had a color analysis — I’m a Dark Autumn — which has made shopping considerably easier.

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One big difference between shopping on ThredUp and shopping at a thrift store is the sheer number of choices. And the fact that there are really nice, high-end items on ThredUp that just aren’t available in my rural PA thrift stores.

The only clothing stores, other than three thrift shops, in my town are Wal-Mart and Maurices.

So, I limit my purchases to things that feel like they elevate what I’d wear if I was shopping locally. I like natural fibers (cotton, wool, linen, silk.) And there are a few brands that I’ve figured out, after some trial and error, that I really like.

I belong to Rachel Nachmais’s Society of Extraordinary Style — a membership group that meets weekly with Rachel, who is a stylist (and the stylist who did my color analysis.) That’s helped me to get a handle on my body type in a way that I don’t think I’d have been able to do on my own.

I’m tall, almost 5'10", and large scale. Rachel calls that body type a Muse. It means that clothes that elongate me work best. Wide leg pants, long-enough tops, large prints, etc.

I Started with a Pinterest Board

I spent several weeks working on a Pinterest board, filling it with examples of outfits I liked. Then tweaking it, so that it was filled with outfits I liked and that fit my Muse body type as well.

That took some work. Because I love vintage things — I wish I could wear cute little 1950s dresses with full skirts and fitted tops. Or 1960s mod outfits. But I can’t. Or, of course, I can, but it doesn’t suit me very well.

I was born for 1920s and 1970s bohemian styles — long, loose, a little wild.

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https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1pHPsJ_0Xl5uBFc00Screenshots from my Pinterest Board (Screenshots: Author)

Once I had a good handle on my Pinterest board, I analyzed it. And I made a wish list.

Right now, on my wishlist, you’ll find:

  • Cashmere lounge pants.
  • The perfect pair of Katharine Hepburn trousers.
  • A silk maxi dress.
  • The perfect kaftan.
  • A wide-striped sweater.

I spend time with my board, really looking at the pins and paying attention to what’s in them. So sometimes, I find something that’s exactly what’s in a pin. Like — the exact item.

This week, I found this:

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3MLwsl_0Xl5uBFc00
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=29MYIO_0Xl5uBFc00My purchase from ThredUp on the left, my Pin on the right. (Screenshots: Author)

Fun, right? It’s a Free People kimono. The retail price is $100. I bought it for $19 with a $10 off coupon. I’m still waiting for the FedEx guy to deliver it to me. It’s going to be a favorite this summer though, I can feel it.

My wishlist has included a few other things that I’ve found already:

  • A pair of Birkenstocks.
  • A long cashmere cardigan.
  • A pair of leopard-print pants.
  • A pair of wide-legged cropped jeans.
  • A pair of yellow Converse low tops.
  • A Manhattan Potage messenger bag.

I’ve found all of those things in the last few weeks. So, my wishlist is ever evolving.

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I had to send back the leopard pants. They were too small around the waist. I haven’t received the jeans or the sneakers yet. They might work or they might not. The sneakers aren’t really Converse, so I might hate them even though the color is right. I’m pretty confident about the jeans, they’re a brand I’ve owned before so I think the size will work.

But if they don’t, I’ll send them back and try again.

Finding Inspiration

One of my favorite things to do is to look at an outfit on my Pinterest Board and think about how I could put it together myself. Not necessarily with the exact same pieces, but by figuring out what it is I love about the look and recreating it.

Here’s an example. This is a pin from my board.

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Pretty simple. Olive green pants, a wide-striped colorful sweater. A pendant necklace. Tortoise shell sunglasses.I already own the pants below and I’ve found the sweater, which I think does a good job of getting the feel of the pin down.

I own these olive green cropped pants already.

I’ve found a couple of sweaters that I think would give me the spirit of the pin. And the sunglasses have been in my favorites list forever. Maybe I’ll splurge this weekend, since they’re on sale.

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That’s it. My little primer for building a killer wardrobe by shopping at the Internet’s thrift store. Have fun!

Here’s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation, Rebel Nation, The Astonishing Maybe, and Center of Gravity. She is the original Ninja Writer.

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Novelist and teacher living in Northwestern PA.

Warren, PA
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