I went to visit my family in Nashville last weekend, and while there, as usual, went to multiple thrift shops, tag sales, and even an estate sale! I have a theory that there’s two types of people- those that love thrift shops, and those that think they’re gross and would never step foot in them. I love them! You can actually find some great stuff, they satisfy shopping urges without spending a lot of money, it’s fun sorting through some of the ridiculously ugly stuff they have, and it’s one of my favourite ways to spend time with my mum and the rest of my family. I would say that probably at least 40-50% of my wardrobe is thrifted. Last weekend, the best thing I found was definitely a pair of Sam Edelman Felicia ballet flats for $4.99 (original retail price: $110). I also picked up a pair of black sandals, a maxi skirt, a plaid shirt, and some amazing pink cat eye sunglasses.
I’ve been thrifting forever and definitely consider myself a pro, so i thought I would put together some thrifting tips based on what I’ve learnt over the years! I mostly just clothes shop, so these tips are all based on thrifting for clothes.
1) Don’t just look in your size! Since thrift shops carry clothing from different brands and years, the sizing can be all other the place. I’ve purchased things in multiple sizes at thrift shops.
1) Don’t just look in the women’s section. Check the boy’s and men’s sections, especially for things like plaid shirts, t-shirts, and sweaters. The plaid shirt I picked up last weekend is a size large and from the boy’s section!
3) Don’t look for anything specific, or you’ll just be disappointed. But if you’re short on time or overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff some thrift shops have, it can help to have a general idea in mind of what you’re looking for e.g. dresses or new work clothes.
4) Find out what days the store puts out new stuff on the shelves, and when they have sales.
5) Check very carefully for rips, stains e.t.c., especially along seams and arm pit areas, and that the item isn’t stretched out or pilling. If there is something like missing buttons that is fixable, only get it if you will actually put the effort in to get it fixed, and ask for a discount at checkout.
6) Try things on that you wouldn’t usually pick out or might look kind of weird on the hanger – you never know, it might look really good! If you buy it and never end up wearing it, it only cost $2.
7) Most of the jeans are flared and too light washed, but they make great denim shorts! Follow the first few steps of my DIY ombre shorts tutorial for making jeans into jorts.
8) Look for trends that are coming back again, such as denim jackets, chambray shirts, and maxi and midi skirts. Also look for classic pieces that are always in style! In the same Goodwill trip last time I went home, I found a timeless Calvin Klein blue sheath dress and a trendy denim vest.
9) Check out the bags, shoes, and belts- sometimes you can find high quality leather pieces that are in great condition.
10) If you want to keep you thrift store visit quick, you really don’t need to sort through every item of clothing on the racks. Once you get a feel for thrifting, you can usually just eyeball sections of racks and look at the material, pattern, colour, and overall condition based on what you can see on the hanger on the rack, and just pull out pieces that look like they have potential.
11) Brand name isn’t everything- quality is. Even if you find something from a designer or store you like, make sure the quality and condition is good, and that it’s actually something that you want and would wear. And don’t pass on random brands because you’ve never heard of them!
12) Wear clothes that are easy to change in and out of, since you’re probably going to be trying on a lot of stuff!