In my new city, thrift shops run rampant. Thrifting is an art here and is not taken lightly. This is good news to me since my budget is precisely $3 and I have copious amounts of time to do things like rummaging through piles of used goods. I’ve always enjoyed shopping in vintage joints but have never taken the time to truly hone the craft until recently. Here are some great tips I have learned!
Explore – You know that vintage shop in the bad part of town that has spooky mannequins sporting Muumuus? Go there. Chances are it is not as picked over as the popular vintage shops, and you have a better chance of finding some gems. If you are serious about thrifting, you should go into every single shop you see. Every..single…one. Even if it is just to browse quickly. That way you can determine which shops are worth your time and which are not.
Discern – Some things are just unsalvageable. Check everything closely for rips, stains, burns or busted seams. If the garment you desire is ripped or burned in a place that cannot possibly be fixed, just let it go. If it smells funny, it can always be washed. Ripped seams can easily be fixed up. And, of course, make sure your selections are free of leather, silk, wool and other animal products.
Get crafty – If something is not your size – can it be altered to fit you? Almost everything can be made smaller (unfortunately not many things can be made bigger!) depending on your skill level. If you really like the fabric of a piece but not the style, consider turning it into something else. If you are creative enough, a thrift shop can be an upcycler’s dream.
Get schooled – Try to be familiar with all brands and where they come from. (I recently found a pair of used Forever 21 shoes for $60! You’re not fooling me trendy vintage shop!!) You might get duped into buying a $15 Target shirt for $40 but you could also get some designer gear for super cheap. Knowledge will get you far, my friends.
Try it on – Sizes have changed drastically through the decades. If your potential purchase is from another generation, make sure to try it on. Some clothes might look cute on the hanger but fit like a burlap sack. Wear leggings and tanks so you don’t get arrested if a dressing room is not available.
Bargain – You can totally haggle with shop owners, and if you are paying in cash you can usually get things for a bit cheaper. However, don’t bargain at charity stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army) that’s just bad manners.
Become a stalker – Find out when your favorite shops get new clothes in. Usually, if you ask the shop owner they will happily tell you the best days and times to come.
header image via L’excessive