Advice In Style: Costume Couture

Drop everything you are doing right now, stop reading this, and run, RUN to your local thrift store.  Okay, okay, maybe finish reading this so you know why you’re running.  I went to my local Goodwill the other day, and do you know what I saw?  THE COSTUMES ARE OUT!  (I know, I need to switch to decaf, I hear you loud and clear).  You guys, I cannot emphasize enough how much this is the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO THRIFT.  (*Pouring decaf now).  Now, you may be saying: “Katy, I don’t wear weird stuff like you, I don’t want to shop in the costume section!”  But that’s why you need to read this post.  From the weird to the conservative, there is something for you in that costume section.  Lemme break it down for you!

Sure.  This looks like madness.  All together, you’re thinking: “Well THIS sure doesn’t look like couture to me!”  That’s where you’re wrong.  I would bet money that a runway stylist could shop the costume section at the Goodwill, send a model down the runway in it, and you probably wouldn’t even know which model was wearing the “costume couture”.  Why?  Because styling is everything.  Sure, that jacket doesn’t look expensive siting on the rack next to the Spiderman costume!  Nothing would!  But here’s how you can shop top trends and regular style staples in the COSTUME SECTION!


This jacket is a real vintage jacket.  It’s only in the costume section because someone deemed it “costume worthy”.  That’s something to remember if you are feeling insecure about this whole ordeal!

Check out this black beauty of a duster I found!  I just saw this style on the Today Show this morning you guys.  Top trends in the costume section.  Under $20.

Retro Denim
This is a GREAT time to find some classic 1970’s bell bottoms, some 80’s overalls, or pretty much any era of great denim.

How about this patchwork denim vest, totally on trend for Fall?

Metallics are so hot right now.  Thanks to the costume section, you won’t have to pay much to give this look a shot!


There are skirts a-plenty during this time a year!  I’ve seen vintage petticoats (which make amazing prairie skirts, think Spell Style), square dancing skirts, and even just simple solid colored vintage midis…on trend for Fall.

This black skirt is full and perfectly flattering for the upcoming season!

You know I love me some fringe.  I saw a fringe vest today and really, the crowning jewel of my costume couture hunting happened right here:

This is a vintage, handmade, leather fringe tunic.  I know.  I know.  I got no words you guys.

Pajama Couture
Pajamas are so hot right now…you can wear the top with jeans or the bottoms with a graphic tee…or just rock ’em together, devil may care!

Maxi Dresses
Sometimes vintage nightgowns make the best maxi dresses.  They often are what the new bohemian maxi styles are modeled after!

I fully plan on wearing this bohemian maxi with cowboy boots and lots of turquoise.

Yeah, I said it.  This is THE TIME to find traditional gorgeous asian couture!

Just look at those pretties…perfect with jeans!

Military Jackets
These are out in spades right now, and they are always so chic!

And So…
I decided to make my very own thrift store dressing room costume couture chic outfit (over my athletic leggings obviously)!

Sure, the dressing room isn’t quite couture, but hey, the prices and the finds make it worth it!




On How Avoid Shopping Regret

Regret.  It’s something none of us like to experience, but unfortunately at one point or other…we all do.  EVEN IN SHOPPING!  How many of you have bought something that you regretted spending your hard earned money on?  Show of hands?  If you’re not raising your hand, then please, teach me your magical ways and please, rewrite this post for me.  And of course, the only things we ever regret buying are the things we actually spent money on right, because who ever regrets spending $2 at a thrift store??  Okay, so sometimes, we regret those impulse buys, those crazy “when am I actually ever gonna wear this?” buys…but sometimes, I actually end up regretting those “this is a basic I’m gonna wear it all the time” buys.  Like, WHAAAAAAT?  How can you regret a “basic” buy?  Yeah.  I think you know exactly what I’m talking about.  You’ve got that one pair of jeans you spent $200 on that you never wear.  That one dress that was supposed to be your “summer staple dress” that kind of makes you feel itchy and bulgy…and now it has permanent residency in the back of your closet, mocking you every time you see it.

So how do we avoid this horrid shopping regret hangover from those things you totally convinced yourself were “SO worth it?”  Okay, obviously this just happens from time to time.  Sometime, call it insanity, or just a moment where you suddenly decide that you are Alexa Chung and from this day forth you will be dressing exactly like her, but it does happen.  I have had times when I see something I would never wear…and suddenly I envision myself driving a vintage convertible (I can’t even roll the windows down because, um hair + lipgloss you guys, so a convertible is NEVER HAPPENING) looking exactly like Audrey Hepburn and only drinking things out of a martini glass.  Then I regret buying that headscarf because when the frick am I ever gonna wear a headscarf (rarely).  Maybe we can’t completely prevent this situation, HOWEVER, there is hope!  Tell that summer dress in your closet to shut it’s expensive, er, mouth, and let’s talk about some ways to avoid SHOPPING REGRET!

*these are all only my IDEAS on the topic.  If you’ve got tips to add, I would LOVE to hear them!

  1. Avoid making snap decisions.  Maybe this is a no-brainer, but I think we all need to be reminded of this one from time to time.  It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of a frantic sale, a super amazing instagram post, or something that is “one of a kind”.  When I get in this moment and am about to click BUY or race to the register elbowing other shoppers out of the way, I talk to myself.  (Not OUT LOUD people will think you’re crazy so please do this SILENTLY)  I remind myself of a couple things.  There are other amazing “one of a kind” things.  I WILL find something else I love no matter if this thing is “the one” for me or not.  Just reminding yourself of this point will calm you down and help you not make a rash decision.  Take a deep breath, and really LOOK at what you are going to buy.  Try it on, take a photo of yourself in it if you can try it on (this is HUGELY helpful because if you hate the photo of you in it, you will most likely hate that item of clothing on you), and if it’s online, look at the item details.  Check the measurements and the fabric.  Ask yourself if you can resell it or pass it on to a friend if it doesn’t work for you.  Just take time to THINK.  When I’m in the moment, I often realize later I didn’t even really look at what I was buying and just bought because I got kind of frantic!
  2. Do your homework.  I wrote a whole post on this, but the quick and “in the moment” way to do this, is to bust out your smart phone and do a quick search for the item OR a similar item, by brand name or style.  Sometimes you’ll see that what you’re about to buy isn’t a good deal at all.
  3. Picture at least three outfits on yourself with this item.  This is INSANELY effective for me.  Sometimes I am just about to buy something, and then I realize, I can’t think AT ALL of how I’m gonna wear it.  If you can picture at LEAST three different ways to wear this thing you’re about to buy and spend a good chunk of money on, then it’s worth it.  It means it won’t sit in your closet or your drawer because you automatically will know how to wear it.  Still want it and can’t come up with three ways to wear it?  Okay, that’s cool!  Do your RESEARCH!  Look up that item of clothing using a hashtag on instagram or google “how to wear bell bottoms” online and this could solve that issue quickly, expand your style horizons, AND allow you to buy this thing you really want!
  4. Know your body.  This is an important one.  I’ve spent money on things that are not the best for my body type, then I wish I’d maybe spent a little less on something that isn’t my favorite thing to wear.  This isn’t to say that you can’t try things that are “wrong” for your body…I firmly believe that you can and should wear what you love, no matter what your body type.  However, most of the time if it isn’t the most flattering fit or the most comfortable, you’re not likely to choose it often.  One of the most helpful things I’ve found when online shopping, and not being able to try something on (not being able to try stuff on can make it really hard to tell if it will look good on you or not!), is to google that item of clothing or that style and click on the IMAGES tab.  Then, you’ll see lots of different body types in this style.  Stores use girls who are like a size 0 or 2, and if it makes HER look, um, larger than she is, then it’s not gonna do ANYTHING for you REGARDGLESS of your size.  Trust me on this one.  Sometimes I’ve been saved from wasting money on something by actually seeing a photo of this thing I want on a NORMAL HUMAN and realizing that it sure as heck is gonna do nothing for me.
  5. Know your style.  This is another important one.  It’s not always the best idea to spend a lot of money on an item of clothing that deviates from your usual style.  Again, this is not to say that you should never buy something that’s outside your norm!  HECK NO!  I’ve been known to buy and wear polo shirts and I’m NOT a polo shirt person.  But hey, I felt like wearing a polo, so I bought one!  But it’s not the best idea to drop hundreds of dollars on a shoe trend you’d “like to try”, unless you don’t care if they never get worn.  I’ve had the best luck testing out a new style by buying second hand or maybe just buying a cheaper Target version, just to see how I feel about it before committing to it for real.  Think of it as a “trial run” before buying something that you actually are putting a larger chunk of money towards.
  6. Think about it.  Okay, sometimes you don’t have the liberty of putting something on hold, walking away from it, or waiting a week.  However, if you do have this freedom, do it.  This works every time.  You’ll either completely forget about it, or be so obsessed with it that you can’t stop thinking of ways to wear it.  This will definitely reduce your chances of regretting a purchase by 99.9%.

I love to bargain shop.  I also, though, love to from time to time, walk into a super nice store and spend an absurd amount of money on something, because sometimes that makes it feel special!  I think both are important to do, both can really provide you with great items that you’ll love forever.  I’ve gotten better and better at NOT buying things I regret just by using these tools…however it still happens!  And when it does, hey, you’re only human and you love to shop so, forgive yourself :)

I got this dress for under $20, which was great because I love it, but it’s not something I’m gonna wear like all the time.  It’s comfortable enough, but the vintage fabric makes it a hard summer heat piece for me…so the price was right for me to wear this occasionally and not regret spending on it!  The boots, I got on sale but still spent a good amount on and man do I NOT regret buying them.  Even though I have a lot of fringe boots (this fact made me almost not buy them in fact) I love them and wear them quite frequently.  I actually considered buying them for months before finally doing it (and I ended up getting them much cheaper because I waited!), and I’m so happy I took the risk!

Happy weekend shopping all you beautiful girls!  Whether you are bargain hunting, online shopping, or heading to Barney’s…enjoy it :)