LOOKING and feeling like your best self can make your day. The clothes you choose to put on are a form of self-expression. On the other hand, not all of us have the means to regularly keep up with the latest fashion trends.
Fret not, you can certainly learn to shop smart, and not cause a dent in your wallet.
Local fashionista Noraishah Ismail, better known as Tuty, purchases her clothing items mainly from local thrift stores, without sacrificing her style or her budget. She jazzes up her outfits according to her style and posts her colourful outfit of the day (OOTD) on her Instagram (@tutyyyyyyyyy).
The 26-year old has also been shopping at thrift stores, also known as bundle stores, from a very young age.
“I started visiting bundle stores with my family in 2006. My brother is my main influence because it was quite a normal thing for guys to buy their clothing at bundle stores back in those days.
“At that time, women’s clothing items were quite limited, unlike now, where there are more selections for women, so I kept going back to bundle [stores] to buy my clothes.”
However, Tuty also wants people to know that thrift shopping might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
“I would definitely advise first timers to go with someone who has prior experience of shopping in bundle or vintage stores. It takes at least four to five hours per visit to actually find the right pieces, because you have look through piles and piles of items.
“Another concern is the environment as it can be quite hot, because sometimes there is no air conditioning. Sometimes the stores may or may not have fitting rooms, it depends on the place.
“But [usually I] just try the clothing over what I am wearing that day to get a rough idea of how it would fit on me.”
In case you did not know, clothing articles in thrift stores are much more affordable compared to regular retail outlets.
“The clothes in bundle stores usually won’t cost more than RM10, but there are times when the item might be a little pricier, for instance RM20, because of the quality,” Tuty shares.
Well, if you are willing to invest a little more and you want to give thrift shopping a try, there are some exceptional thrift stores that can cater to your needs.
“There is a bundle store in Damansara that sells higher quality items and there is even air conditioning there! It is like a big warehouse and their suppliers are usually from overseas,” Tuty adds.
As a fan of thrift shopping, Tuty acknowledges that shopping at thrift stores is not very common in Malaysia, unlike some other countries.
“Shopping in bundle stores is not such a huge thing yet in Malaysia. This trend started to grow one or two years back because social media users tried to make shopping at bundle stores go viral. However, there is still a lack of exposure.
“Some people grew up without knowing that bundle stores even exist. Nowadays, parents bring their children to malls to shop because they can afford [to].
“Over the years, social media platforms have encouraged people to pay more attention to the way they dress. So, a lot of people want to be stylish, but might not be able to afford doing so.
“When you shop at a mall, you might have to spend around RM100 for one clothing item, while at bundle stores you can get more than that, but of course you have to sacrifice your time to find what suits your style or fits you well.
“When I go to bundle stores, I usually like to buy dresses or blazers, which I can wear to work or for casual outings.
“But when I do go to shopping malls, I just do window shopping and get inspired by the outfits that the mannequins are wearing.”
Tuty enjoys thrift shopping because she can kill two birds with one stone, saying: “If you shop at bundles, you can definitely save a lot of money! Also, you can save the environment because you are not contributing to the statistics of fast fashion consumerism.”