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Friday, April 19, 2024

Fifth Avenue Fashion: Korrie Francis is a Frugal Fashionista

<p>With the right amount of swag, Francis can teach you how to rock any budget.</p>

With the right amount of swag, Francis can teach you how to rock any budget.

Hanger by hanger, Korrie Francis takes her time sifting through the racks at the local Goodwill, first looking for a style that catches her eye, then feeling the fabric for quality and checking the label for a designer brand.

Francis, a UF journalism sophomore, takes as much time as she needs because, for her, time is money. Today she sorts carefully through thrift stores to find vintage clothing items and in-trend pieces to sell online. Her passion has turned to profit.

Unlike most fashionistas, who shop solely with the intent to find cute things, Francis, a self-proclaimed history buff, does her research ahead of time to nab the best items.

"I look up the history behind major patterns and styles of a decade," she said. "I can go into thrift stores and be like, ‘Oh, that's from the sixties because it has psychedelic patterns.'"

To her, vintage clothes speak, telling a part of history and giving the clothes a special meaning that should be treasured.

"It gives clothes a more personal feel when you know where they came from," she said. "Like a shirt that's 30 years old, it's not just fresh off the rack. It's been through time, and other people have had it."

Francis, 19, was introduced to this economical way of shopping by her mother, whose interest in interior decorating influenced her daughter's ability to find nice things for low prices by using thrift stores. The habit stuck with Francis.

"It's kind of like a secret, like a treasure hunt," Francis said. "You walk into a thrift store and there are so many racks and you wonder what good finds are in there. It's exhilarating."

About a year ago, out of necessity, an unemployed Francis decided to turn her collection of vintage pieces into dollar signs by setting up an eBay account and selling her finds under the seller name kfrancis25.

"I did a lot of research looking for similar products and figuring out how to write a good description and price things," she said. "There's just so much on eBay and it's important to know how to list things to make them stand out."

She admits to being an eBay-aholic — for research purposes. Simple searches on the site help her recognize brands and know what is selling for a lot of money.

Her boyfriend, Nick Barlow, 21, agreed that she's addicted to eBay, but he's happy her hobby has her making money as opposed to spending it.

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"Korrie uses eBay as a learning tool as to price things in the same way as if she had an actual store," Barlow said.

This is a starting point for Francis, who hopes to one day have her own website to display and sell her finds, both vintage and new.

As she looks through the dresses at Goodwill, her own outfit is reflective of the mix of old pieces and new labels available for purchase from her eBay account.

A delicate thrifted bangle sits on her wrist next to a similar bracelet that she purchased new. Through the belt loops of her store-bought Forever 21 pants is a black leather belt with a gold buckle purchased from a thrift store.

On her feet, a pair of Lord & Taylor vintage boots completes the sharp and stylish look.

"I like to be casual on a day-to-day basis but also polished and put together and a little quirky," she said.

Francis doesn't just shop for the finds.

Among her favorite places to hunt for vintage treasure are church and charity thrift stores, including the Alachua County Humane Society Thrift Store.

"I like shopping at charity thrift stores because the money goes back to a good cause," she said. "It's nice to find something great that benefits you and also benefits somebody else."

Her all-time favorite item that she ever sold on eBay was a Gucci purse, which she credits her mom for finding at a garage sale for about $3.

Francis sold it for $90.

"It was the best find," she said. "I should have kept it now that I think about it. I sold it pretty early on when I needed to make money."

Although it's one of her favorite hobbies, Francis realizes that thrifting is not for everyone.

"Everybody is entitled to their own style, I just think thrift stores are a good resource, especially for college students," she said.

"It's great to find something for such good quality for the price of pennies."

With the right amount of swag, Francis can teach you how to rock any budget.

Korrie Francis checks out some bargain racks, hoping to find a steal.

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