“Everything that I wear is cheap or from a thrift store,” says Kupper, who tries not to pay more than $20 for any piece in her closet.
Kupper has a passion for pretty things and is often asked ‘Where did you get that?’ So she started a blog that also features her rescue dog, Maddie. The blog has photos and information about what she wears and how she hunts for low-cost trends at local thrift stores and outlets.
Red Racks, Sears Outlet and City Thrift, a non-profit group of thrift stores that benefits City Union Mission, are Kupper’s favorite places to shop for cheap, fashionable finds for the home and closet. She recently met up with 20-something trendsetters Andreina Byrne and Kaitlin Byrne at City Thrift, 11186 Antioch Road in Overland Park, to go shopping.
The Byrne sisters often peruse the racks at local thrift stores to pinch pennies. One sister is a high heel addict and the other sticks to flats. Other than that, the women share most clothes.
Andreina says she typically heads straight for the shorts or jeans when thrift shopping.
“High-waisted is a big trend, so I like to find Mom jeans and cut them down for cool shorts,” she said.
Kaitlin likes to thrift for furniture. She’s currently outfitting her new home with salvage finds that she refinishes with new hardware and paint.
“I found a cute desk for $12.99 that I love,” said Kaitlin, whose favorite song happens to be “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. “I got new handles for it and finished it with some of those little quarts of paint. Then I found a chair for $4.”
Alan Hayworth, director of marketing and inventory for City Thrift, says that the average thrift shop customer is a female younger than 50 who spends an average of $15 to $18 for five to 10 items per shopping trip.
“You grow out of wanting to spend a lot of money for stuff,” Andreina said. “It’s nice to get to that stage where you don’t want the same stuff as your friends and you know your own style.”
Hayworth and his team devoted almost half of the sales floor at City Thrift in Overland Park to the women’s department. He said that name-brand donations show up daily on their drive-up doorstep. Almost 5,000 items are put on the floor every day, he said.
“We tried to create a clean, big and bright environment for our shoppers,” Hayworth said. “We size everything now, too, so things are easy to find.”
Kupper suggests starting with a big browse of the store once you enter the doors. Pick out anything that pops out to you, and don’t forget your basket, she said. Kupper often begins by selecting styles in unforgettable prints, bold patterns and bright colors. Then she builds the rest of the outfit.
Kupper says that accessories are often overlooked style opportunities in thrift stores. That’s where she gets most of her funky scarves and Bohemian bandanas. Occasionally, Kupper recommends splurging (meaning more than $10) on a wardrobe staple, such as jeans or boots. She also looks at the hats and in the men’s section. Don’t worry if items aren’t the right size, said Kupper, who simply uses big belts to disguise big waistbands. The best tip she offered: head to the dressing room and then head out with confidence.
“Thrifting used to be so hush-hush,” she said. “Now, it’s a bragging right.”