fashion . Styling Tips

Style Savvy: Thrifting Tips From YouTuber Chelsea Valencia

On frugal fashion finds

Style is not always about the price tag. From thrifting to clothing rentals, this month, we’ll be exploring popular money-saving tips and practices that will help us look good for less.

Whoever said that fashion has to break the bank must have not heard of thrifting. Now, we live in an age where the stigma on thrifted or second-hand clothing has passed, replaced by influencers donning their frugal yet awe-inspiring finds proudly on their socials. Due to this, thrifting has earned the interest of a wider audience, even becoming its own fashion phenomenon. But for those who are trying their hand at it for the first time or wanting to venture into it but are not sure how, it can be a major shopping dilemma. This is where our Style Savvy series comes in handy. 

This month, we're focusing on making a statement with your style, sans blowing a hole in your budget, by sharing top tips from experienced fashionistas who spill the secrets to their traffic-stopping yet money-saving looks. First up on our list is YouTuber Chelsea Valencia who has currently amassed more than 26,000 subscribers on her channel and almost 10,000 followers on Instagram as she shares her secrets to scoring great thrifted finds. Scroll on as she spilt the deets on her favourite thrifted pieces, her favourite thrifting hubs, and of course, her best thrifting tips. 

When did you start thrifting and why did you like it?

I started thrifting at a very young age. My mom and my grandpa would take me to Quiapo to hear mass and after that, we would thrift — I think I was eight years old back then. I like thrifting because it's very budget-friendly and you get to find pieces that are very unique and vintage/vintage-looking. When you purchase in stores, one fashion piece might cost you thousands already, but when it comes to thrifting, you pay the same amount but you get more than 12+ pieces.

Where are your usual hubs when looking for thrifted finds? Where's your favourite?

My go-to thrifting spots are in Quiapo, Recto, Morayta and Libertad. I’d say my favourite would be Quiapo and Libertad because it’s a long strip full of ukay stores. You definitely have a lot to choose from.

How much is your usual budget when thrifting? How about budget per outfit?

My usual budget is PHP500 to 800 (~USD10 to 15) for casual shopping. But if I plan on going to an event and thrifting for a whole outfit, I stick to only around PHP300 (~USD5).

What's your favourite thrifted fashion piece and do you still remember how much you got it for?

My favourite thrifted piece is a brown blazer that I got at a thrift store near Loreto Church. They were having a sale that time and I wasn’t really expecting much because I feel like all the good ones were already sold. But when I was about to leave, I randomly took the blazer out of the jackets rack because I liked the colour and was surprised that it actually looked nice and vintage-y. It's very 'me'! I got more attracted to it when I tried it on. Perfect fit, lightweight, and the colour is beautiful. It's now my go-to blazer. I got it for Php35 (~USD0.67)!

What are common misconceptions about thrifting that you'd like to debunk?

Some people think that clothes from ukay stores are of poor quality and just had to be thrown out. What they don’t know is that ukay stores are the perfect place for you to find vintage pieces. You can find Levi’s, Calvin Kleins, Wranglers, Versaces and more branded clothes at a thrift store for a very low price in a condition that can still pass as brand new.

What are your top 5 tips for those who want to up their thrifting game?  

Be patient. You’ll be overwhelmed with the all the hangers and racks but trust me when I say that eventually, you’ll find that piece you’re looking for — OR SOMETHING BETTER!

Set a budget. Thrifting is fun and affordable but as I said, you’ll be overwhelmed with the cheap prices so there’s a tendency that you might overspend! Better to limit yourself because you don’t want to end up buying tons of clothes you won’t really wear.

Visualize outfits. Thrift stores are where you can find pieces that look one-of-a-kind and vintage. If you find a piece that you like but is not really your style, try to visualize it with some of your staples. 

Go to all the sections. If you’re a girl, try going to the kids' section or the men’s section. There might be some hidden gems there, too! You can find tops at the kids' section that you can wear as crop tops and you can find band tees and better-looking sweaters and jackets in the men’s section.

Have fun. I feel like thrifting is much better if you go there with an open mind and you don’t have a list of pieces that you want to find. Just feel free to go through all the racks — no pressure! As they say, sometimes amazing things pop up when you least expect it. Gems will come to you! 

(Cover photo from: @clovalencia)

Check out where else you can score thrifted goodies with our list of amazing thrifting hubs in Asia