- I’m a style reporter who attended New York Fashion Week for the first time this September.
- I attended four events, and wore thrifted outfits for each one.
- My four dresses cost just over $30 together, and I felt confident wearing all of them.
When I was assigned to cover New York Fashion Week this year, one thought immediately crossed my mind: “What am I going to wear?”
I admire designer fashion and love celebrity style, but my personal wardrobe isn’t what most would consider runway-ready. Instead, it mostly consists of secondhand pieces from local thrift stores that match my aesthetic, which I jokingly call “Hot Topic chic.”
Plus, I’d never attended New York Fashion Week before. I had no idea what to expect.
But one thing I did know is that style is all about personal expression. So with that in mind, I closed every online-shopping tab I’d opened and headed to Goodwill.
Thrifting was risky, with no guarantee I’d find outfits fit for NYFW
As I parked my car outside Goodwill, I promised myself I wouldn’t stress — despite my first event being three days away. I figured I’d quickly check their dress section, and head to Nordstrom if I couldn’t find what I needed.
But I was in luck. Almost immediately, I pulled a navy gown made from mesh from a crowded rack. It was decorated with a sparkling star and moon pattern, and I thought the layered look could easily be dressed up with heels and jewelry.
Originally $40 from H&M, I bought the dress for $8 and wore it to report on The Daily Front Row’s annual Fashion Media Awards red carpet.
Next, I found a little black dress with a lace overlay that perfectly matched my everyday vibe. So I decided to wear it at Pamella Roland’s 20th-anniversary runway show.
Again, I paid only $8 for the dress, and accessorized with pieces I already owned: chunky sandals, layered silver jewelry, and smokey eye makeup.
For a Stella McCartney panel I attended the next day, I decided to wear the most high-quality dress I found at Goodwill.
While digging through the racks, an $8 satin gown with an orange zebra print caught my eye.
I immediately loved its unique look, but was even more thrilled when I noticed it was brand-new (with its original $128 price tag from Anthropologie still on it).
Finally, I needed one more outfit to attend Selkie’s runway show. The brand is known for its fluffy skirts, short minidresses, and pastel fabrics, so I was looking for something that matched that vibe.
Serendipitously, I found a baby-pink minidress with thick straps and a layered skirt. It had its original $56 Francesca’s price tag on it, but I only paid $8 at Goodwill.
And the dress — which I paired with silver jewelry and sandals — worked even better than I planned. I ended up matching the show’s decor.
I loved every dress I wore and felt truly confident in my style
Before entering my first NYFW event, I knew that I’d likely be the only person in the room with a thrifted outfit. But I was totally OK with that.
I’ve never been one to splurge on designer clothes or shop the latest trends just because they’re popular, so it would’ve felt disingenuous to start now.
And thrifting is a huge part of my life. I source almost all of my clothes from secondhand stores in an attempt to be more environmentally and economically sustainable — so why wouldn’t I continue that habit during Fashion Week?
At the end of the day, I might not have attended NYFW with the handbag of the season or a fresh-off-the-runway dress.
But in 2022, I don’t think having either would have been more fashionable than saving money, helping the environment, and being true to myself.