Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How I thrift. A guide for asses of all sizes.

Okay y'all.

Here is the situation. I have been on a mission to make pants the least part of my wardrobe. We know I don't have a whole lot of money for clothes so I thrift and most of it is on the internets. Today I am going to give you my secrets for not only having some extra $$, but how to search for interesting things and how to bid so you're not always disappointed. We're going to focus on Ebay.

Now let me reiterate that this advice is not fatty exclusive. This is advice I would give to any one of any size. This isn't so much about size as it is money. Also

I will indicate when advice is for a particular body type or any extra tidbits of advise based on size. Ready GO GO GO GO.

First rule of fight club..er thrifting is that thou shalt know thy measurements or a rough estimate of thy measurements. If for whatever reason you cannot tolerate knowing your actual physical measurements measure the garments you own that fit you the way you like and use those as a loose estimate.

You will need to at some point buy a tape measure. Most areas have them at the drug store for about a dollar.

Second thing you need to learn is that the trend right now is for sellers to use flat measurements. When something is flat measured to get the circumference multiply by 2. For instance if something says it is 17" flat across the waist this means that it's 34".

Here is a place to pause. Personally because of the way I like to wear clothes and my body shape I prefer things that are stretchy which, online thrifting works best for. I also recommend stretchy things for skirts if you wear them. The thing I love about elastic waist skirts in particular is that depending on the stretch and cut I can easily buy a bigger variety of sizes.

To figure out how well you might be able to fit something don't be afraid to ask the following questions.

1.) What are the stretched measurements?

If you have a bigger bottom always make sure to get hip measurements. If you carry more of your weight in your belly ask for both length and max stretch.

My next bit of advice is this. Don't be afraid to try something new. Maybe you spot an awesome skirt or pair of pants that is a good price. Worst case scenario you're out five dollars or six and you don't like it. Hold onto that stuff.

For me I have a very firm idea of the basics of what I do and don't like.

Also check out the things you already have that you like. Are you partial to tee shirts from Target? Are most of the things you like made out of one kind of material? I am highly absent minded so I quite literally have a list that I keep on my desktop with sizing for go to brands, are there certain shapes you prefer? Make notes.

Okay now I'll use myself as an example.

I'll use my own notes as an example.

I know that I really love tees from Old Navy and Target. I also know that depending on winter or summer I can wear anywhere from a medium up through an XXL/1X. What size I get depends entirely on how I want it to fit.

In the winter months most ON and Target tees are baggier to be used for layering purposes. So this means that if you are say a size 2X normally, it is possible that an XXL will fit you like a tee that is supposed to be baggy for layering.

If you're a smaller person make sure you ask to make sure measurements are unstretched so they won't be too big.

Next thing let's discuss search terms.

Especially with Ebay it pays to be creative.

For me I tend to search this way, we'll use skirts as an example.

I use the general search box and type in skirts. Elven million results. Next I refine my search by womens skirts and then I use the choose more features to choose sizes. Normally I will choose everything from medium to XXL, 12,14,16, 0X, 1X, 2X.

I do this because we all know that there are no standard sizings. Within those size ranges there are possibilities for me.

Let's pause here again and talk about something. If it takes a while to find your size regardless of what your size is 0-32 it's not a statement on the awesomeness of your ass. It's just not so don't even start thinking about it that way.

Here's something ebay does that I find helpful. You can often narrow your search enough to find specific cuts, lengths and fabrics. A lot of what you'll find with specific search criteria such as color or fabric is going to depend on what terms sellers are using.

I personally like to keep it a little more general because some of my recent gems have been labeled very simply.

Next learn to scroll quick and have a good eye. I work my mouse wheel and open things I might like in a new tab to save time.

Now once you find things use your watch list. Don't make decisions right away. if you think you like it watch it.

I use my watch list for several reasons. I price compare, I compare what I do and don't really want and I keep my eye on things that I might want if no one else buys them.

I also keep my watchlist stocked because if an auction isn't buy it now I don't do high maximum bids. Unless I really -really- want something I don't bid more than 10 dollars so I lose out on a lot of items. I win too because I have a lot of things and options that I like.

So basically it comes down to know what you like, know your measurements, use your watchlist and also make sure you check shipping fees.

Some sellers do charge some bullshit shipping and I won't buy something with ridiculous shipping. Most don't but some do.

If you're on a super tight budget like I am I have a couple of resources I use when I really need a few extra dollars in my paypal.

If you have good grammar and can write a bit try out www.textbroker.com (see, not an affiliate link) basically you write small to medium sized articles for a bit of money. It's not a lot but it's not a lot of effort. In one month before when I did a few articles a week i made about 30$ which bought me make up.

Now here's where the things you purchased and maybe didn't like works out. Resell them. I would really like to see more plus sized folks doing this. If you get something that's fabulous but doesn't work for you pass it on to another fatty. Also I understand everyone wants to make a profit but it would help if you are realistic in your pricing.

For instance you know what, if you know damn well that an item was at Torrid three months ago and the last price was 20$ charging 50 is just assy.

Now my other strategy is that I set aside for months sometimes. I'm talking change, a dollar here a dollar there. You can buy via a company called Greendot money packs. So fill up your change jar or whatever, buy yourself a moneypack and voila, you can instantly load it into your paypal account without dipping into the bank.

If you blog you can have a donate button. I have gotten some donations(and those of you who donated again let me tell you how really amazing that is to me and thank you again) and yeah it's not much but it's something.

Now what do I save my money for?

I will drop the bucks on boots. I love boots and have a hard time buying them so I will much as it pains me to do so spend the big bucks. I will pay more for things like bras or things that I need to be really sturdy or that I know I'm going to have to try on. Pants for instance. I also don't buy random hosiery because often the sizes are off so I skip that.

So there you have the secret to my current spate of wardrobe refitting.

Questions? Concerns? Do you have further suggestions?


HOmo Out.

PS..I'm going to try really hard to document some of my more Springy outfits when it's time. I may be getting a new phone instead of contacts for my birthday and the phone I want has a better camera than the one I have now. Fingers crossed y'all.


Veronica said...

I love how thorough you are in this post.
Personally I've found that, by now I know which styles I like on me, and it is pretty much only when I deviate from those that I end up with things I don't like.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shannon this is an awesome guide :)!

Lindsay said...

A problem I have a lot with online shopping is, the places where I'm biggest, which determine the smallest size I can wear, aren't usually included in measurements for women's clothing.

I am broad-shouldered, so I guess what would be helpful for me is a way to know what bust size usually corresponds to my shoulder width. Is there a generally-applicable formula for determining this?

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