It’s 2010, a notorious year for low-rise jeggings, infinity scarves and contrasting layers (see: Disney Channel). It’s a year filled with nostalgia for most students and fans of âHannah Montanaâ, but for Bernadette Pennell, it’s the year she began to consciously create an enduring and classic wardrobe.
Pennell, a junior psychology student, started doing second-hand shopping early in high school. Her mother had warned her against current fashions, pushing her towards ageless clothes that would outlast popular trends.
Rather, it means looking for pieces that can be worn over and over again – pieces that work with any outfit and never go out of date.
âIn the first year of high school, I started shopping for myself. I started to choose particular colors, styles and cuts. In high school, I turned to dresses. Now that I’m in college, I have classes, meetings, and jobs, so I prefer the easier pantsuits and shirts, âsaid Pennell.
Between her jobs at Cape Bar and her job at an after-school daycare with kids, Pennell dresses for functionality as well as professionalism. Her main job, of course, is to be a student. She is often seen around campus wearing colorful pantsuits, patterned blouses and generally cool vintage pieces.
Pennell describes her wardrobe as made up of solid, neutral pieces mixed with stronger, more colorful pieces that add vibrancy and luminosity. She has cultivated a capsule wardrobe of classic items that counterbalance the more unique pieces.
As she saved more and more, it became easier to distinguish cheap materials from higher quality parts.
“If I knew what I wanted to buy, I [of clothes] and smell of linen, cotton, cashmere, âshe said.
âIt’s also great fun shopping with friends because you don’t go straight to the same sections. My friend Morgan goes straight for dresses and sweaters.
âShopping with different people draws your attention to different rooms and sections. I end up sharing my clothes with my sister, she has a very similar style, and my roommates.
Pennell’s advice to second-hand buyers would be to assess your own wardrobe first before shopping.
“Go into your own wardrobe and look at the brands you like, check the size of your favorite clothes, and women, don’t be afraid to explore the men’s section!”
Pennell also recommends looking for classic brands, such as Ann Taylor and Calvin Klein, as these are often overlooked in thrift stores. The quality of pieces from brands such as those that last longer than clothing made by cheaper, more hip retailers.
The average American sheds 81 pounds of clothing each year, according to a study cited by thriftworld.com. Savings help reduce textile waste and keep billions of pounds of textiles out of landfills.
It’s also the best way for students to shop on a budget!