thrift shopping in singapore

Thrift shopping is something I’ve always admired. You see so many other bloggers talking about how they managed to find these amazing clothes, or accessories, or items from thrift shops, and talk about how some pre-loved goodness is some of the best things you can find at phenomenal prices.

Singapore hasn’t always had a thrifting culture, I think. Might have to do with the fact that many Asians are a bit hesitant to use things that have been used by others, for various reasons. However, with materialism and consumerism raging within the majority of us all, there are items that we buy and hardly ever wear, or we buy and never wear, and selling it is the best option available.

I visited two thrift shops last Saturday,new2U (run by the SCWO, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations) and What The Flea? (at the *Scape Playspace). They’re both quite different thrift shops, with new2u having a much more varied range of items, and catering to a slightly older age group than What the Flea. What the Flea has over a hundred stalls selling pretty much the same things, targeted at the 15-25 age group.

I’d always wanted to visit new2U, considering it is just down the road from my college, but somehow the timing wasn’t right. I managed to walk right by it on a day they were having their Saturday Market bazaar. It gets crowded early, and I’m guessing some of the best items were taken by the time I got there. I snagged two dresses from here, costing me about $10 in total. I liked some of the skirts that they had here, being quite old school and vintagey, but the lack of enough trial rooms left me feeling not too confident that they would actually fit me. Dresses were safer bet.

What the Flea is one of those places where you’ll end up buying something even if you don’t want to, just because it’s so cheap. You’ll find tops and dressing being sold from $2 and $3, and it’s not even poor quality items, as they have labels of brands known to most people, like Forever21, for example. Here is a group of people just trying to get rid of their stuff, and as a result, things are incredibly cheap and if you’re willing to brave the heat and crowds, you’ll definitely find something that you really really like, and pay something that will make you very happy over the purchase. With prices like these, it almost feels alright to take a chance and buy the item. If it doesn’t fit, it’s only a $3 loss.

Again, not everything is less than $5. There were a few stalls selling branded goods from brands like Desigual, Zara, and even Calvin Klein, and these items were priced between $30 and $50, which is still quite a steal if that’s what you want.

I pick price, quality, and cut over brand anyday. In total,I spent about $25 on all these items

Let’s check out my loot.

thrifting - loot

thrifting - bag

I wanted to get a bag on this outing. I found this at a stall at What the flea, being sold for $8. It was perfect in that I actually had a bag this shape and size in mind, and this was a nice mixture of a sober colour with a splash of brightness. No idea if this has any brand, but as far as I can tell, it’s brandless. While inspecting this bag, the little tassel thing on it fell apart, and I managed to bargain with the owner to bring the price down as a result. She sold me this bag for a grand total of $5, which I believe is an absolute steal. I like this bag very much. I’ve been taking it to work for the past week, and it’s served me perfectly.

Even if it doesn’t last me too long, I paid five dollars for it. It’s okay. That’s the great thing about thrift shopping. You don’t feel as bad when things fall apart because you know you haven’t invested as much money into it.

thrifting - topshop top

Found a Topshop tank blouse being sold for $3. Tops like these are versatile. As my sister pointed out, I have too many of them, but I’m not over this trend yet. It’s flattering, light, comfortable, and works great both for semi-formal, and informal outfits. You can tuck it into high-waisted bottoms, and you can leave it hanging out over denim shorts on a casual outfit. Somehow, I’ve never been much of a Topshop person. The cuts never fit me well, and the price never really matches what I have in mind. However, even though this was in a size smaller than what I usually wear, it fits me. That’s pretty awesome (and makes me feel good too!)

thrifting - office dress

This sack-like looking dress (and the next one) were the dresses I got from New2U. This is a formal office dress, in a colour that’s in fashion now, oxblood. When I saw this dress, I wondered whether it would be baggy, but I tried it over my t-shirt and shorts (shamelessly, as were several others who couldn’t bother waiting for the trial room lines) and it actually fit perfectly. That’s the miracle! And for $5! The way my body is built is that clothes that look shapeless find some shape once I wear them. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but it’s something I’ve noticed. I guess now I have one more dress that office friendly (on days I have to attend client meetings) and for formal presentations as well at college. Simple, comfy, and elegant.

thrifting - blue dress

Mind you, this isn’t a blanket or a nightie. It’s actually a dress that has got that lovely print, and it is basically a giant rectangle. Again, straight lines normally, finds shape on myself. This dress stood out to me on the rack. As someone who adores wearing prints, I was just naturally attracted to the pattern, and then to the cut. The material is this fantastic light cotton, and it’s incredibly lovely for the warm weather here. I wondered what my mother would say seeing this dress, but turns out she likes it! And I just wore it out today on a day where I went to a heartland mall, and then to changi beach park to watch the sunset and planes and eat ice cream, followed by dinner at thomson. It was a wonderfully comfortable outfit for a casual day out, and I guess I will be wearing this out more over summer!

Again, stitching and material beat brand anyday. First thing I did was wash these items, and I was worried this dress might leak some colour, but nope, it was perfect.
thrifting - hm sweater thrifting - hm sweater 2


This was an impulsive buy at $5. This is a brand-new H&M knit sweater, an oversized sweater, and it was being sold for $5. This is a poofy, soft, pristine-white, KNIT sweater. I have always been a little bit infatuated with this particular type of knit (the name of which I do not know, but I know I love it). It feels like a strong knit, something that won’t fall apart easily. Of course, this piece isn’t practical in Singapore’s heat, but my workplace, and college seminar rooms have this tendency to utterly freeze people sitting in one place for three hours, so proper sweaters do come in handy. Of course, why would I buy a PRISTINE PURE WHITE knit sweater, when I am someone who touches all kinds of things all the time? I don’t really know. White items are beautiful and have their own kind of beauty, I admit. I keep telling myself that if I do get some stain on it, I can try very hard with stain removers, or in the worst case….dye the whole sweater a different colour. (That’s something that I’ve learn from some of the blogs I follow. When white items aren’t as white as they used to be, or there’s some odd stain on it, dye the whole thing a colour to blend away the stain, and you’ve revitalised a piece of clothing that may have ended up in the trash.)

I also got a watch from a stall that was being run by a friend of mine (which was my reason for going over to the market). The watch was a men’s automatic watch, and while it’s on the large side, it is a beautiful watch and I am so intrigued by automatic watches that need to be reset daily and you can see the gears moving. The strap is a little loose for me so I might need to fix that a little, but otherwise, I just found myself another beautiful watch to add to my collection. I am incorrigible when it comes to watches.

All in all, I’d say this was a good start on thrifting. I just cleared out my wardrobe a few weeks ago, and it’s been about six months since I really bought any new clothes, which for me is…rare, considering I usually just get stuff as and when I walk into great sales. Thrift shopping provides a good middle ground for possibly finding decent clothes for everyday wear, while not breaking your wallet too much.  This outing felt satisfying.

One Response to “thrift shopping in singapore”
  1. very nice blog for aware about begs , Knit sweater,. unik ideas of Thrift shopping……This is an extremely Interesting post! Thank you for your details!

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