Thrifty threads

Trying to balance a budget with style? NOW went on the prowl to show how easy it is to put together great-looking outfits for under $25.


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Any good deal is great news for cash-strapped students. Setting out to show that it’s possible to put together a fashion-forward budget on a shoestring, we hit the thrift beat on a one-day blitz with two hardcore vintage shoppers — musician and part-time illustration student Becke Gainforth and writer Jeff Chan — with a mission to style four happening outfits for under $100.

Gainforth shops vintage to feed her chameleon tendencies. “Since my happiness, femininity and desire for being stylish waiver, I change my look weekly,” she maintains. “Cheap clothes give me this freedom.”

Since camel is this fall’s official trend colour, she dropped $15 (1) on brown plaid pants ($3.99) and brown turtleneck ($2.99), scarf ($1) and watch ($1.99), all from Value Village (1319 Bloor West, 416-539-0585, and others), plus shoes ($5) from a yard sale in her hometown, Perth. Becke’s tip with used shoes: buy new insoles.

Gainforth’s yellow sweater (2) makes a splash for 50 cents from Goodwill’s bargain annex, Buy the Pound (234 Adelaide East, 416-362-4710), where smart shoppers find much more than the rags Goodwill says they sell there. She found her skirt for $3 at Goodwill’s main store (234 Adelaide East, 416-362-4711, and others). Her shoes ($3), bag ($1) and Doxa watch ($10 and worth much more) are all finds from Perth yard sales, and her socks were $1 new at Value Village. Total price: $18.50.

Chan, who keeps his costs trimmed, went soulful blue (3), coming in at $22 including shoes. The breakdown: $5.99 each for the shirt and like-new shoes, $2.99 for the tie and $6.99 for the pants.

Chan was on fire for his second bargain look (4). He found his red shirt ($2.99) and cords ($6.99), Greek fisherman’s hat ($4.99) and tie ($2.99) at Value Village, and picked up an amazing bag for $3 at the Goodwill. Total cost for the look, $21.

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