Old style can be fashion forward

NANAIMO – Fashion enthusiasts dish on how women can look trendy without breaking the bank.

When graphic designer Sarita Mielke needs a ‘new’ fashion-forward outfit, she heads to the racks of a Nanaimo thrift shop.

“I get bored going into the big stores that cary 30 something of the same  T-shirt,” she said. “[At a second-hand store] you … could find something totally unexpected to take home and I kind of like that aspect.”

Mielke searches through clothing racks at thrift shops and consignment stores for well-crafted and vintage clothes.

With the help of fashion postings on sites like Pinterest and a little modification, the graphic designer turns last year’s trends into current ensembles – and has fun doing it.

Fashion enthusiasts like Mielke say women don’t have to break the bank to look good. There are cost-saving tricks from shopping second-hand to choosing outfits that mix and match.

Nanaimo’s Carley Lee, author of Little Bird Lee fashion blog, recommends trying to reinvent a wardrobe by looking to blogs and Internet sites like Pinterest for inspiration. Women can learn to match different pieces together so they feel brand new, she said.

Women can also arrange a clothing swap party with friends.

“We did this at the end of summer … [we] all brought clothes we don’t wear  or haven’t worn in a long time and … we took them off each other’s hands,” Lee said. “We just  traded.”

Sharilee Southorn, owner of Pink Ivory Consignment Boutique, said by shopping at consignment stores, bargain hunters can find quality clothing for a fraction of the price of major retailers.

A Calvin Klein sweater, for example, can go for $100, but at her consignment shop it sells for $25.

Women looking to stretch their budgets can also focus on the basics like neutral-coloured cardigans and skirts or accessories that can make outfits look more versatile and stylish, the entrepreneur said.

She likes adding style to a plain top with a single-strand crystal necklace or colourful scarves and purses that help to make clothes pop.

“I have some great colourful scarves at the store,” she said. “They really add that trendiness to an outfit that you don’t have to break the bank for.”