How to thrift shop like the best of ’em
Macklemore said it best…and I’m not just talking about green gator shoes and your grandpa’s style. Thrift shopping can be the best way to buy great clothing at dirt cheap prices. The key is to understand the ins and outs of the secondhand market. Listed below is some advice from one of the worlds most notorious and addicted thrift shoppers: me.
Look out for Deals. Most thrift stores will have some sort of deal system, especially at the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Savers. Independent thrift stores might not but it is still worth an ask. The most common deals I have seen are 50% off colored tags on certain days, holiday sales (such as Labor Day), or punch cards. The Salvation Army where I live makes the whole store 50% on Wednesdays, because they bring out new clothes on Thursdays. Some stores may even give you perks for donating your old clothes, such as tax breaks or dollars off a certain amount.
Prepare. It is important to have the proper equipment and determined mindset before entering the thrift scene. Many people become overwhelmed if they are not properly prepared. I always bring a small backpack so that my hands are free. In the backpack I make sure to have water and cash. I plan out my time frame and tell myself that I have to leave the store at a certain time (this might only be applicable to me, because I could thrift all day long). I choose a starting point (usually the dresses), ease my mind into the atmosphere and get to work.
Look in the most Unexpected Places. I have found that some of my greatest purchases were found in the most unlikely of places. For beautiful silk dresses and camis, try looking in the lingerie or PJ aisle. For high-waisted Levi jeans or denim cutoffs try starting in the boy’s section. For sweater dresses, check the men’s large sweater rack. Cute crop tops? Try the children’s area. It is important too look everywhere, open your mind, and be creative.
Accessories are a Must. I have found some of my favorite purses, shoes, and belts at the Salvation Army for less than $3.00. A few years ago my friend found a real Dolce and Gabbana leather satchel for ten bucks. I was jealous to say the least. Also make sure to look at the scarfs, backpacks, and jewelry. These extra embellishments can make or break an outfit and you never know what you will find.
Don’t skip the Dressing Room. Trying on the clothing is one of the most integral parts of the thrift shopping experience. Aside from seeing if the item fits or looks good on you, it is a great place to start thinking about when and how you will wear the clothes. Plan outfits, try the clothes on in different ways, create yes, maybe, and no piles. I also use this time to make sure that the clothing does not have any unwanted stains, fraying, or holes.