We’ve always been huge fans of heading out to find those diamonds in the rough and have compiled a list of our ten most tried and true tips for thrifting like a total pro.
Going thrifting for clothes can be an intimidating shopping experience for some— and we so get it. From the over-stuffed racks, questionable smells and lack of fitting rooms, it often seems like the low price tag isn’t worth the high stress quotient. Until now, that is. We’ve always been huge fans of heading out to find those diamonds in the rough and have compiled a list of our ten most tried and true tips for thrifting like a total pro.
Go It Alone
If you’re truly trying to find the hidden gems in thrift stores (and duh, of course you are!), it’s probably going to take awhile (thrift store racks are packed!). Block off an afternoon and head out treasure hunting solo; there’s nothing worse than feeling rushed by a friend waiting at the door, no matter how patient they are.
Skip the Sales
Sure, the promise of an additional 50% off the already-sweet prices can be difficult to resist, but thrift store sale days are often chaotic, picked-through stress events that can leave you feeling exhausted rather than energized. Stop by after work on a weekday or a quiet Saturday afternoon instead.
Let’s Hear it For the Boys
Comb all the racks. Rad worn-in vintage t-shirts and oversized plaid button-downs abound in the men’s section while shrunken, fitted blazers are an easy score in the little kid’s section. Same goes for the lingerie and work-out sections: sometimes the coolest 70s caftans are hiding between the piled nightshirts and polyester slips.
Keep a List…
In this (one) case, Tim Gunn is wrong: don’t try to make it work! It’s so easy to over-buy at the thrift store; dresses that aren’t your style and too-big leather jackets suddenly seem like a necessity when you’re staring at a $4 price tag. To avoid these temptations, bring a list of wants with you. Scroll through your Pinterest boards; are you suddenly obsessed with stripes? Currently coveting the new Chloe collection? Use these points as guidelines to your thrifting trips, it’ll keep you organized rather than overwhelmed.
…..and an open mind
With that said, if you don’t have a 1960s floral mini dress on your wants list but there’s one in your size hanging prettily by itself on the rack, by all means- scoop it up! Thrifting is unpredictable (that’s part of the fun!), so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone if you’re really drawn to something.
Try It On
This tip is two-fold. First, be sure to wear light layers you can try things on over while you’re shopping; oftentimes thrift stores don’t have fitting rooms and you’ll need to disrobe discreetly. Second, rips and holes, weird hemlines and wonky shoulders can hide on the hanger. Trying everything leaves little room for surprises once you get home.
This tip is torture for the impatient among us but: shopping out of season can score you some major style steals. Coats and sweaters aren’t too appealing to the masses in the middle of July, so not only will you find the coolest stuff in the warmest months, there’s no premium so prices are low.
Don’t pay attention to sizes while you’re scanning the racks. If you like the print, cut or shape of something – try it on. Hems can be altered, shoulder seams can moved and waists can taken in by a tailor. So not only can you add a unique, cheap piece to your wardrobe – it’ll be custom too!
Don’t Get Discouraged…
Thrifting is more often about the journey than the destination; you’ve got to enjoy the thrill of the hunt just as much as you like shopping for deals. There will be plenty of trips where you don’t find a single thing to take home and that’s okay!
…And Get into the Habit
So be sure to make thrifting a habit. Is there a Goodwill on your way home from work? Pop by once a week to see what’s new. Thrift stores put new items out hourly so the inventory is constantly changing.
With these tips in your arsenal, you’ll be ready for hours of fun thrifting! Just be sure to make some room in your closet for all of the great clothes you’re going to find.
Originally posted on December 4, 2015 @ 5:00 PM