Friday, February 5, 2016

Ukay Master Class

8:31 PM

Share it Please
A cheapskate's guide to all things thrift.

From left: F21 Leather Jacket (500php), Uniqlo Oxford Shirt (50 php), Zara Waistcoat (100 php), Blazer (70 php)
I started thrift shopping when I was in my last year of high school, which was fairly recent, because it took me some time before I could shake off the notion that the clothes from the ukay-ukay are possessed.

Going in, I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of clothes on the racks and a funky smell that discouraged me to rummage. Long story short, I went home empty-handed. I felt hopeless but little did I know that gaining more experience and adding a bit more patience would lead me to be so enthused that almost all of the clothes in my wardrobe would come from thrift shopping. Besides the fact that it’s cheap, I love the idea of helping the environment by lessening textile waste (see: The True Cost) and the thrill of potentially finding a hidden gem amidst all the clutter.

(Note: For beginners, I recommend thrift shopping at Harrison Plaza, a.k.a. my ride or die, for it is air-conditioned, well organized and fairly cheap. My fashion friends also recommend Makati Cinema Square for it is similar to the above mentioned. Ukays are everywhere though, so you're bound to find one no matter where you live.)

So if you don't want to be a flop and you want to up your thrift game, here’s a rundown of the tips and tricks in thrift shopping I’ve learned since I started:

Wear the proper attire.

Wear something that’s easy to take off or something you could try clothes on over. A great example of an ukay outfit would be a t-shirt and denim shorts. Remember: comfort is your key to success. Bring a tiny purse or perhaps a fanny pack that doesn’t take too much room or moving space so you could rummage through clothes easily.

Go with an open mind.

“Hope for the best, expect the worst”—more often than not, you’ll go through piles and piles of clothes and end up empty-handed. Thrift shopping takes time, patience, and a little bit of luck. Keep at it.

“Cost and worth are two different things.”

Cheap doesn’t mean it’s worth it. Trust me on this: it’s easy to be swayed to buy something because of it’s price. Remember to check if the zippers and linings are damaged and if there are stains on the fabric of the clothing you might buy. 

Ask yourself:
  • Is it my style?
  • Will the condition of the garment hold up?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Can I think of multiple outfits to incorporate this into?
If you said yes to all of these questions, GO FOR IT!

Go through EVERYTHING.

Leave no stone unturned. Check the men’s, women’s and even the children’s sections: you’ll never know what you’ll find. Rummage, rummage, rummage. There’s a piece of gold out there waiting for you.

Bring a friend or two.

Oh and yes, your friends can come too! It’s better if you know each other’s personal style so you can divide and conquer. Plus, it’s more fun and you can hang with your girls while you’re at it!


Remember, you can always alter a garment! Either cut and sew or just have it tailored. With that, the possibilities are endless.

Here's a  mini-lookbook of my favorite finds:

Comme de Garcons Trousers: DIY-ed into culottes (10 php)
Black Turtle Neck (20 php)
H&M Leather Vest (70% off)

UNIQLO Oxford Shirt (50 php)
Olive Oversized Trousers (30 php)

Article and photos by Jao
Jao is a 16-year-old aesthetically driven visual artist, fashion student, & french fry enthusiast from Manila. He started his visual folio in summer 2015 known as "Cool Girl (The Label)" ~ironic~. In his time of idle, he enjoys listening to alternative/indie music often psychedelic or acoustic & binge watching tv series such as "Girls", "HIMYM" and the like. View his label at & his tweets @jaosanpedro.


Post a Comment