Fashion On The Cheap
Select an image above for clothing info and costs
For the summer of 2014 I wanted to do a series of images that proved that you don't need an extravegent budget to create some photos that are creative and appealing in the fashion department. I set out to find clothes that were inexpensive and fashionable with a goal of spending less than $40 per look. I found some great items and averaged around $15 per look.
Thrifting is fun. I much prefer it to shopping because you NEVER know what you're going to find. There can be great vintage pieces or bizarre off the rack clothing and sometimes one of a kind items that will really set off an image or emotion you're looking to convey in your final composition. The key however to successful thrifting is time, and objectivity. You need to really go often and be diligent, don't pick up an item with the intent to "fix or repair" it. I've left so many great things behind because I knew that I am not a seamstress and the idea of repairing that zipper in that dress was going to never actually happen. Unless you're savvy at that sort of thing, move on to the next item that catches your eye and is in great condition. There are a few exceptions to the rule if the deal is too great to pass on, as was the case with the mink coat I purchased last year. Covered in spray paint at the bottom I cleaned the coat with brush cleaner meant to remove paint from natural hair. It was time consuming but the effort was well worth it. I now own a beautiful vintage black mink coat that's unique and for only $35.
You really need to be a scavenger at heart and have the time to dig for wonderful stylish things, but that's the best part - digging for treasure. My current thrifting schedule is Tuesday and Thursday. I spend about 3 hours a week looking for beautiful (mostly vintage) items that I can photograph on models for clients and personal work. This time of year is the best for Vintage shopping as some of the charity and thrift shops tuck away vintage items and wait to put them out for sale until the Halloween season. This usually means a mark up for items, however the pricing should still be very reasonable. Smaller sizes will be more abundant so keep in mind what size your model is when purchasing.
Professional cleaning is a must for some items as well. If you've not taken anything in to be professionally cleaned I recommend calling and checking pricing. Some items can be very expensive to send out to be cleaned while you may be able to clean them at home for a fraction of the cost. Here are some quick tips for cleaning items at home:
Vintage whites and lace can be cleaned in luke warm water and Ivory Dish soap. Soak the item overnight if serious yellowing has occurred. Use a small amount of the soap, while applying directly to heavily soiled areas. Rinse and line dry, repeat as necessary.
Vintage colors should be washed in cold water and Woolite. The same for silks. Line dry and steam for wrinkle removal. Never put vintage in the dryer! If you don't have a yard to line dry, use the curtain rod over your tub.
Stains can be removed out of delicates with Fels Naptha (read the warning label and wear gloves) and baking soda. Both items are found in the laundry section of your grocery store.
Thrifting can be fun and inspiring. Bring a friend and wear comfortable shoes. Remember, the best part about Thrifting for photo shoots is you're helping out the community you live in. Don't forget to donate and receive coupons for your favorite shops. Happy hunting!
Saint Paul based photographer offering Headshot and creative portraiture focusing on Commercial needs.
Nouvelle Design Studio
Elle Halls is a member of the American Photographic Artists
What our customers have to say