After shopping mainly second-hand for many years now I can honestly say thrifting is a lifestyle and an art. Most of my all-time favorite items of clothing were bought used and there is nothing more rewarding than finding a diamond in the rough that is Goodwill. It can also spur development of personal style and outfit creativity that can’t be found by shopping at fast fashion retailers where clothing is purposely designed to meet current trends. A lot of times I will realize that my whole outfit is second-hand (including the accessories and shoes!), even some unexpected pieces. Walking into a department store sized second-hand store can be overwhelming and the prices at some vintage shops can be disheartening, but I promise there is a method to the madness. A few simple tips and tricks can help alleviate some of the stress of thrift shopping.
- Go in with an open mind. If you have an exact image of something, you should probably just buy it knew. Thrift shops are hit or miss in general so it’s best to scan through everything and try on the stuff that jumps out at you. You may find the strappy kitten heels or denim zip dress you never knew you needed.
- Look at tags. You will be surprised at the things people give away. One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure. Beautiful cashmere sweaters, 100% silk tank tops, designer pants… Second-hand stores are the perfect place to get quality items at affordable prices. Additionally, don’t be disheartened if you’ve never heard of the brand. Looking online is a good way to get a sense of the label and gauge the original price.
- Use your imagination. Things can be cut, sewn, altered and adjusted. The classic example is jeans to shorts, but the possibilities are endless. A long dress can be cut to an apt length or puffy sleeves removed to breathe new life. If you want to get really creative, iron on patches or sew on beads for a 90’s kid vibe.
- Know the tricks. It can be really hard to gauge if something will fit, especially considering how much sizes have changed over the years. To estimate before you try on, wrap the waist around your neck. If the ends touch it probably will! The tactic isn’t fail-safe but pretty damn close.
- Statement pieces. Think about those amazing retro shoes you couldn’t rationalizing spooning out 80 bucks for. Don’t fret! You may be able to find a close second for a fraction of the price at a thrift store. There is rapid circulation of statement items so condition and variety are usually pretty good.