This new feature is an occasional series on personal style.
Julianna Gagne, 18, of Fairfield, learned the ways of fashion from her grandmother -- "a woman of style" -- who dressed her granddaughter in designer threads from consignment shops for as long as she can remember.
"I've been wearing second-hand clothes all my life," said Gagne, who shops at the Label Exchange in Fairfield, where she is also a part-time employee, and the Cure, a thrift store near Union Square in New York City.
Thrifting is in Gagne's DNA, and as you might expect, she's scooped up all sorts of amazing finds. Take the silver Helmut Lang tank top she bought for $1 (the suggested retail price, according to the original tag, is $128) or the full-length beaded dress by Lawrence Kazar she wore to her high school prom.
When she goes thrifting, Gagne keeps an eye out for "well-constructed garments, even if the brand isn't well-known."
Her style is hard to define, she said, because her wardrobe is "so all over the place."
"I look for things that can be worn a million different ways," Gagne said.
Those kinds of pieces can be hard to find at the mall. Although a lot of people her age shop there, Gagne has a lot more luck at second-hand stores. Not only can she find clothes that fit her budget, she can find clothes that fit her -- especially vintage pieces from the 1940s and '50s.
"H&M actually makes some beautiful dresses, but they are made for fit models," she said. "If you don't have that kind of figure, it can be hard to find clothes."
After many years of thrifting, Gagne has become a de facto fashion consultant to her friends, organizing trips to thrift stores and dishing out advice on everything from style to prices.
Her grandmother may have taught her the ways of second-hand fashion, but now, Gagne is is the guru.
"If I go to thrift stores with my friends, they'll ask me what I think -- if a garment is an appropriate price or a good investment," she said. "I don't mind helping them -- I'm in thrift stores a lot."
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