Thrift shop till you drop
I’m a Taobao addict and the reason that got me hooked was how I could buy ANYTHING in the world at ridiculously cheap prices. Just check out this $2.61 denim jacket. But sometimes, nothing beats knowing the true quality of the clothes you’re paying for.
If you're the haptic type who likes to feel the material of clothes before purchase, but buying from brick-and-mortar stores is too expensive, start visiting thrift stores instead. I haven’t been to one since I was 10, so I located the top 5 thrift-stores in Singapore and I challenged myself to score the best buys within a $30 budget.
1. New2U Thrift Shop
Some of you might have already heard about New2U when Qiuqiu featured them in 2014 in a Budget Barbie episode. Only open from 10.30 am - 2.30 pm on weekdays, this was the first thrift store we stopped at.
Clothes colour-coded as much as possible and hung neatly on racks
Nestled within the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation at Waterloo Street, New2U is managed entirely by volunteers since they first started in 2000. Their storefront looks old-fashioned but don’t let that stop you from looking within their racks of gems.
Our first find left me pretty awestruck. This elegant baby-blue evening dress was in such pristine condition that I wondered why it was even donated.
Now imagine my surprise to know where this gem hailed from: FOREVER NEW. The Melbourne-founded fashion brand is one of Australia's fastest growing labels and scoring a dress from them under a hundred bucks is akin to catching a rare pokemon.
Thriftstore suaku learns the art of thrift shopping
I would have believed you if you said you found this chiffon top from New Look hanging among brand new $49.90 pieces in store, except for its $6 price tag. Be prepared to sieve through the older pieces in the racks to make sure you don't miss out on better deals.
For $4, these shoes are a steal.
It was difficult to find a good pair of shoes among the small variety but this pair of basic black heels stood out. A lint roller and a good wipe will put some life back into them.
Bonus find before we left: a red side sling for just $6!
New2U isn't huge enough for a full-fledged GSS-esque shopping spree but it’s worth checking out if you have a tight budget. There are books to look out for too!
- FOREVER NEW Baby Blue Dress: $8
- New Look White Top - $6
- Zara Basic Black Heels - $4
- Brand New Red Side Sling - $6
Total Damage: $23
New2U Thrift Shop, by Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation
Address: 96 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187967
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday , 10.30 am - 2.30 pm
2. PraiseHaven Thrift Shop by the Salvation Army
We’ve all heard of The Salvation Army, but few of us know they have a mega thrift store selling everything donated to them. And by MEGA, we mean a warehouse-like heaven with everything you’ll ever need. Think BIG BOX but with pre-loved items with their prices slashed.
Under this one roof, there are fashion buys, electronics and furniture - you'll even find a section of wedding dresses and baby clothes here! These rarely-worn outfits and infant clothes that toddlers quickly outgrow are a godsend for others with a tighter budget.
The facility is air conditioned and makes shopping pleasant compared to the stifling heat at Bugis Street. They even have fitting rooms to make sure your picks fit you perfectly.
Prices are handwritten onto all their items and you’ll find them on tags of clothes, the underside of shoes and more. We were really spoilt for choice here! I gravitate towards florals and prints and this $15 casual dress was spot on.
I don’t own any pieces from the brand but from my friends camping on ASOS when they have ongoing sales, I know items can get pricey.
But the fashion buys I loved most from here are in this #ootd:
The Closet Lover pink lace dress ($15) & Esprit brown buckle bag ($10)
When their dresses are typically $30 and above, the $15 price tag was to die for.
Earrings for $5
Their shoe collection was impressive and some of them were brand new from Lazada! We were limited by our budget but if you’re up for a good pair of heels, sneakers or platforms, get ready to spend a few hours here.
- BNWT The Closet Lover Pink Lace Dress - $15
- Esprit Brown Bag - $10
- Love Bonito Floral Dress - $15
- ASOS Dress - $15
Damage done: $25++
Praisehaven Family MEGA Thrift Store by The Salvation Army
Address: 500 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678106
- Monday - Thursday, 10am - 6pm
- Friday - Saturday, 10am - 9pm
Other Locations: Click here.
REFASH looks more like a hipster boutique than a thrift store!
REFASH is a thrift store that's revolutionized how preloved items are sold in Singapore. You might have read about how they’re the best reason to visit City Plaza but we're back to see how they stack up with the same $30 budget.
What thrift st - WELCOME TO MY DREAM CLOSET. It’s almost 2,000 sq ft.
A visual feast for anyone obsessed with colours, thrift shopping is best when your choices aren’t strewn haphazardly on the racks. Their City Plaza outlet is almost twice of Having them arranged by colour - and some even sectioned by the type of clothing - makes browsing a breeze.
Now here’s the amazing part: they frequently drop sales and that also means CRAZY BULK DISCOUNTS! As REFASH is more legit than the rest, I expected the prices here to be higher than the $3 pieces we snatched from other locations so we attempt to put together a full #ootd below $30.
ALL PRICES ARE 30% OFF IF YOU GET 5 ITEMS, so hang in there while we do the math:
#OOTD 1: We picked a white lace shift dress for more feminine look, perfect for a casual day out with your friends.
Hell yeah, took 30% off and got TOPSHOP quality for just $12.60!
I can’t walk out of TOPSHOP on a normal day without spending a minimum of $50. Y'know how sometimes your wallet says yes to that super chio dress but your wallet says no. No such problems here!
#OOTD 2: $16.80 for this outfit!
Not forgetting outstanding pieces that could speak for themselves alone, these easy mix-and-match top and bottom will be good additions to your stylish wardrobe.
Basic White Top from fabFAD is now $7 after 30% off.
This blue fauna skirt was ours at $9.80
#OOTD 3: $9.10 per top and bottom!
If you find yourself scrolling through pages of work-neutrals on blogshops, WE CAN BE BESTIES. Here’s a pretty simple outfit we put together, bumping up your office wear collection.
The average price of a Runway Bandits top: $30. What we’ll be paying after discount: $9.10!
This versatile nude skirt is $9.10 after discount and it pairs great with any top!
The sole The Closet Lover piece from our stash thus far was the pink lace dress from PraiseHaven ($15). Such labels are difficult in most thrift stores but our experience at REFASH is completely different.
Racks full of printed pieces
What makes REFASH distinctively unique are the condition of their pieces and the variety on offer. They house pieces from high-street fashion labels such as ZARA, Topshop and many more so be prepared to go a little crazy here. These brands can rarely be found at other thrift stores!
Buys (after 30% off):
- Topshop White Lace Dress - $12.60
- Fabfad Basic White Cropped Top - $7
- MDS Blue Fauna Skirt - $9.80
- Runway Bandits Nautical Top - $9.10
- The Closet Lover Nude Buckle Skirt - $9.10
Total Damage: $25.20++
4. Something Old Something New (SOSN)
Founded in 1997 by the Singapore Anglican Community Services, Something Old Something New (SOSN) is a budget thrift store that provides training and development opportunities for people recovering from mental health conditions.
We headed to the East to their Simei Care Centre branch to see what we could get.
The biggest plus point of SOSN: all prices are fixed. Whether it’s a high-end branded sweater, or an expensive-looking dress, nothing changes! This makes it even more worthwhile if you find that rare high-end piece.
$4 Knitted Floral Pullover
Apart from typical racks of clothing, they also have a clearance section for your hauls - that’s about $3.30 a top or blouse!
I used to spend a lot on DVD sets but after a few rounds of binge-watching, they end up collecting dust on my shelf. Venture deeper into the shop and you can find preloved CDs and movies.
I didn’t manage to find any high-end brands within the clothing range but there were plenty in the shoes section. From nude sandals to Adidas sneakers and sports shoes, the range isn’t crazy extensive, but still worth trying your luck for.
Something Old Something New (SOSN), by Singapore Anglican Community Services
Locations: Click here.
Simei Care Centre: 9am - 5pm
5. MINDS Shop
MINDS, which stands for the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore, runs 5 flagship thrift stores around the island that are opened to public. Each store carries a range of handpicked items that deserve a new lease of life.
With whitewashed walls and what seemed like a pretty Scandinavian interior, the cosy store almost makes you feel at home. They’ve even named their sections so you are literally taking a peek into “The Closet” for clothes or browsing through knick-knacks in “The Living Room”.
The Boho trend remains a huge hit so this off shoulder top in the clearance pile won me over. It’s not any day you get to score Esprit tops at $4!
I can’t even buy a Subway meal with $4
Super preppy mustard pants that’s perfect for colour-blocking
This mustard pants looks almost-new and is of superb quality! I own two skorts from this label and paid $20 for each.
Another $4 piece in great condition
Given some luck, you might even find office or formal wear without having to pay a hefty sums at G2000 or MDS.
This $4 brown skirt could have been worth $40.
We also added a ZARA petal-printed skirt to our cart for merely $3
We ALMOST left without this! Lesson learnt: ALWAYS BE ALERT, even when browsing through bulky jackets.
Before The Editor’s Market stocked up on their monochromatic designs, florals were the IN thing. This floral beauty was ours at only $4!
Hunting down potential buys were slowly becoming second nature.
MINDS was exceptionally memorable because I came into contact with some of their clients in the store who were helping manage the outlet. It turns out that their thrift store locations are pre-vocational training grounds for their clients to gain experience for the working world!
Thrift shopping isn’t only for those tight on budget, it helps do good too. Given time, I see myself being a thriftstore convert.
- Esprit EDC Bohemian Off Shoulder Top - $4
- DAISY Korea Mustard Pants - $4
- ZARA White Skirt -
- ZARA Floral Top - $4
- G2000 Women’s Skirt - $4
- The Editor's Market Floral Skirt - $4
Total Damage done: $23
MINDS Shop Plus @ NTUC Healthcare
Address : Blk 71 Redhill Road, #01-29, Singapore 150071
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am - 6pm
Other Locations and Contact Numbers: Click here.
Reinventing your typical thrift store
I might have started my journey a thrift store noob but after a trip to Singapore’s top-5, I’ve picked up a skill or two. Previously daunted by the idea of having to ransack piles of donated clothes gone stale, I now realise that some thrift shops are as organised as H&M.
Thrift stores are fashion havens for those who love vintage styles, and their price points help shopaholics change up their wardrobes without emptying their savings. REFASH is a leader in the thrift store business - if you're planning to take a shopping trip down, you'll also be able to drop your pre-loved clothes off for them to sell!
By making use of this service, you'll never run out of "new" clothes to wear, "recycling" your old clothes into new ones, at almost negligible cost. Spare yourself the "nego?"s and "discount?"s when you sell your items through second hand marketplaces - REFASH handles all of that for you, and all you have to do is drop your clothes off there!
Find out how to start selling here.
Get FREE Membership at REFASH and have further 10% off everything
Now even if you’ve already saved up to 70% off your items' original retail price, discounts don’t end there. Spending $50 at REFASH makes you a Member and you get 10% off ON TOP of all your purchases each time.
Address: City Plaza, 810 Geylang Road, #03-130, Singapore 409286
- The Cathay #04-18
- Suntec City Mall #02-377/378 (West Atrium)
This post was brought to you by REFASH.