Some of my best outfits cost R100 or less - Here's how I make the most of thrifting

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Bonolo Sekudu
Bonolo Sekudu
Photo: Bonolo Sekudu
  • I absolutely love fashion and always showing up in my own signature style, but I am frugal when it comes to shopping for clothes.
  • As a result, I am at my happiest when I am thrifting, and all the luxury brands I own are from my thrifting sprees.
  • I can express my style more with clothing from my thrifting trips than clothes bought in a retail store.

Although those close to me might dispute this, I believe I am pretty frugal when it comes to spending on clothes. Of course, I probably shop more than they usually do, but trust me, when I gather my coins, it is either for a bargain, sale or a spree at the thrifting market.

It can be frustrating to go into different stores and find that everything looks the same. I recently needed a formal dress. After going to over six stores, I knew thrifting would not leave me in despair.

Indeed, I got to the thrifting market and found a dress that looked glorious! And it was R20. I still chuckle at the thought.

style, fashion, trends


A H & M polka dot blouse and skirt paired with Zara kitten heels . All images supplied by Bonolo Sekudu.

Thrifting, my love! I didn't even know it was a hobby until I started looking forward to going to church because I had outfits lining up for an appearance. The thrill I get from hearing, "Where did you get that?" and "I also want it". Maybe vain, but it is a pure delight, I tell you.

READ MORE | Reselling luxe packaging: How an online business found incentive to sell Louis Vuitton, Gucci boxes

Here is why thrifting will always be my love – a hobby I will likely never abandon.

EXCLUSIVITY

I remember being in a journalism class back in the day (I think it was 2008), wearing my new T-shirt from Mr Price. If my memory serves me right, it was maroon with SpongeBob's ever-smiling face. No judgment please, at the time, this R39.99 T-shirt was it. The new stock had just arrived on the shelves, so I was quite a hit, until I saw now media personality Pearl Modiadie wearing the same T-shirt.

It was such an awkward moment - she was famous, and I was not. I remember feeling like I hated wearing the same thing as someone else. So, with thrifting, I am guaranteed exclusivity. I don't have to worry about running into someone wearing the same thing. 

trends, style, fashion, vintage
Before Covid-19, I spent the day in the office in a Kate Spade skirt and a Autograph blouse I found while thrifting some years ago.

LUXURY BRANDS

I have never gone into a luxury store for a purchase, but I own some expensive garments because I go thrifting. My favourite luxury find was a purple Valentino jersey I guard with my heart. I previously bought a Valentino grey coat too. I own two Escada vintage skirts, a Giorgio Armani coat, two Burberry coats, and a Versace jersey, and the list goes on.

style, fashion, luxury brands, trends, vintage
One of my best buys  a Valentino jersey I bought in 2021.

READ MORE | Why you should stop buying new clothes

TRENDSETTING

I follow fashion influencers overseas to keep up with trends. South African retailers often catch on too late, or they all focus on one trend for a long time and every shop you go to sells the same thing and limits expression.

Trends are good, but thrifting allows one to be diverse in style. You don't have to look like a mannequin, and you are at liberty to play around. I have Zara, Ralph Lauren, ASOS, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and French Connection clothing that either becomes available in the country later or never makes it for the season.

READ MORE | You don't need a million to look like a million: Top 10 thrifting hacks you need in your life

VINTAGE

I have been called an old soul, and I believe it. I love vintage clothing. Pleats, patterns, collars you only find in old clothing really excite me. And because there is an option to mix it up, I can wear a sixties pleated skirt with a Zara shirt to make it look young. I love vintage clothing. It is timeless.

 style, fashion, luxury brands, trends, vintage
A Burberry vintage skirt made at a time the London brand was referred to as Burberrys'. 


style, fashion, trends
My lucky shirt I got while thrifting. Whenever you see me wearing it, just know I am having a great day.

COINS SAVED

My best outfits have been as cheap as R100. When I share this, I get accused of lying, but it is the truth. I have made money from it too. Some years ago, I realised I was so good at thrifting that I started selling clothes. It was an immediate hit. Not all my clothes are from the thrifting escapades, but if I had the time and energy, I would choose thrifting, not for saving money but for the premium and exclusive style experience it offers me.


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