Inspiration in Ordinary Things: Thrifting Edition

by April Hooper

I am a thrifting expert, just ask my friends. I NEVER leave Goodwill empty-handed. Part of the reason is that I love the hunt, and I’m willing to take my time to look through every color-coded rack. It’s also partly because I find thrifting relaxing, not overwhelming. But most importantly, I think thrifting is INSPIRING

Maybe you’re thinking: “But April, how can grandma’s old clothes and shelves full of creepy figurines be inspiring?” 

And it’s the simple reason that you’re never going to find these pieces anywhere else! When I go to a thrift shop (cue Macklemore’s song) I am confronted with hundreds of shirts, pants, dresses, and shoes that I NEVER would have glanced at before and may never see again. But now that they’re here in front of me (and at such a low price!), I try on anything that looks even remotely interesting. 

When I’m thrifting, I have no expectations or reservations. 

I never know what I’m going to find, so anything that catches my eye gets added to my pile of items to try! I don’t limit myself, but rather I keep an open mind so I don’t miss out on what could end up being my new favorite outfit.  

Thrifting also stretches my creativity. 

Considering my inability to use a sewing machine, I wouldn’t call myself a thrift flipper. However, I do LOVE to embroider, and so often I’ll buy a plain t-shirt or crewneck with big plans to embroider my own design. 

Every item of clothing has the potential to be altered in ANY way you want! For people who lack inspiration, try going to the nearest thrift store and find something simple, something plain. Look in the mirror and think: how could I make this better? You could crop it, paint it, style it in an interesting way, embroider it, or utilize whatever skills you have! Finding pieces that have potential can inspire you to DIY them and make them your own. 

And the good news? There’s no pressure! If you mess it up, at least you were inspired enough to try. 

I also believe that thrifting pushes me out of my style comfort zone. 

A couple years ago, I would have passed at the mere SIGHT of a bold pattern. My wardrobe consisted of ZERO colors other than black, gray, or blue. But after thrifting for a while and developing my style, I now RUN to pieces like that. Like I said, you’re not going to find these items anywhere else! Being surrounded by such unique (and sometimes weird) clothing gives me the freedom to try on things that I normally wouldn’t. When I find something that I like but I can’t really explain why, it pushes me to try and make it work in an outfit. This makes my style more bold and unique!

That’s how I found myself staring in the dressing room mirror trying on a pair of red flare pants and debating whether or not to buy a denim jacket with squirrels embroidered on the neckline.  (Don’t worry, I got both!

Rather than staying in your lane, let yourself try something new, something out of your comfort zone, and you never know — maybe it will become your new favorite outfit! 

Just like clothing, inspiration comes in ALL shapes and sizes. For me, it’s thrifting, and for you, maybe it’s something else! If you’re still searching for that “something else,” check out the Ditch the Clique COMMUNITY where you can get inspired to achieve YOUR dreams every day! 

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who is the author, April?

April Hooper is a public relations student at Messiah University, minoring in marketing and gender studies. She always has a coffee in hand and is rocking a thrifted outfit with handmade accessories. When she graduates, she dreams of living abroad, owning as many cats as possible, and writing for a living. 

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