Hunting for hot bargains: Thrifting provides fashion for less

Yes, we may be neck-deep in a recession, but all hope is not lost for aspiring fashionistas: all it takes is a quick drive to your nearest thrift store to find affordable pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a different and personal outfit.

I don’t pretend to know much about fashion, but I do know clothing doesn’t have to be brand-new or hundreds of dollars to be cute.

Thrift stores are everywhere and there’s one thing they all have in common: ridiculously cheap clothes and accessories.

In your search, look for clothes with little wear and no stains. Second-hand shoes may seem unhygenic, but there are some that look brand new. Never pass up a chance to look at shoes because you never know what you may find.

Two of my favorite haunts are Value Village and  the Salvation Army, right across from each other on Bissonnett and Hillcroft.

Value Village has an immense selection of shoes and every kind of clothing packed tightly and color coordinated along the walls and aisles. There are also purses and belts galore, though you definitely have to hunt for the ones without stains or weird smells. When I went with Story Editor Nneka Waturuocha, she made two great finds here: an oversized Christian Dior sweater and a Dooney and Burke bag.

Salvation Army has a distinct dusty odor, but don’t let that deter you. I purchased two of my favorite pairs of shoes here: brown oxford heels and super comfortable moccassins. Both were like-new. There isn’t a great selection in the way of clothes, but the few things you can find will be worth the hunt.

If the task of sifting through piles and piles of old clothing is too daunting, try higher-end thrift stores like Buffalo Exhange and Taxi Taxi (both located on Westheimer and Dunlavy in Montrose). These places only accept high quality, newer  clothes, while regular thrift stores accept pretty much anything.  Items may be slightly more expensive here, but they have great deals on designer brands.