The most common reason I hear friends say that they don’t enjoy thrifting is that it can be overwhelming, and difficult to find things they like. Well, I’m here to convert you to that thrift life! With a few tips and tricks, you may find yourself loving the thrift store as much as I do. 🙂
Tip #1: Have Patience
First and foremost, you have to have some patience. Thrifting does take a little bit of work, and honestly, it may take you a while to get the hang of it. But keep in mind – thrifting can be really zen! It’s all about the process, the journey, and the unexpected discoveries along the way. Sometimes you hit it big, and other times you may leave empty handed. It’s all part of the adventure!
Side-note: I don’t recommend thrifting for a specific item last minute. As a costumer I’ve had to do this and it sucks. Thrifting under pressure is no fun. (This goes for your last minute Halloween costume too!)
Know What You Want and Read the Rack
It definitely helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for. Looking for a red dress? No need to get lost in the sea of little black dresses. Looking for a long red dress? Stand back from the rack, and scan only the bottom of the items. It helps to identify what you’re looking for so you can then focus in on only the information that you need. Instead of going through an entire rack of tank tops, you can scan the rack, and only check out the items that fit what you’re interested in.
Takeaway: Don’t want to look at everything? Focus in on one or two details like color, length, or fabric type.
Use Your Sense of Touch
Not set on a specific style, and down to look through an entire rack of clothing? I highly recommend taking the time to touch the fabric of the items you’re going through. Touch can tell you a lot about a garment. Cheap clothes usually use fabrics that are flimsy, or synthetic. Better made clothing, and stand-out brands tend to use nicer, more substantial fabrics.
Your hands will know when they’ve hit velvet, silk, or 100% cotton. Sturdier fabrics also tend to be more flattering as they won’t cling. I can generally tell when I’ve hit a Calvin Klein before I look at the label just based on the fabric alone.
Dig for Hidden Gems
Here is where that patience comes in. If you really want to find hidden treasures you’ll have to hunt for them. Oftentimes racks are so full that you really can’t see everything. I’ll often run my hands along the rack and pull the clothes apart to get a better look. You may find that perfect dress sandwiched between two moo-moos.
Look Where You Least Expect
Shoppers often put unwanted items away incorrectly, and you may find your size where it doesn’t belong. This tends to be especially true at the end of racks (especially if they are near the register).
Also check out the returned-item racks, or really any rack near the dressing rooms. These areas also tend to be a hot spot. Most people are trying on interesting, newer, or more fashionable items. Let them do some of the work for ya!
Be Flexible on Size
If you find something that is perfect, except for the fact that it’s a little too big, or long considering purchasing it with the intent of having it tailored or altered. If you sew this is an especially great option!
Side-note: It’s considerably easier to take things in than to let them out in most cases, and not all pieces of clothing are easily altered. If you’re not super sure, I’d say leave it for the next lucky thrifter. 🙂
Shop Often & Utilize Sales
Thrift stores are always getting new stock, so it works in your favor to shop often. Even if you don’t walk away with much (or anything) it’s always an adventure! Also, many stores also offer sales on different items on different days of the week. If you really want a bargain, check out what their offers are, and get there early on sale day!
Go have fun! Try on some funky sweaters! Snag that vintage cowboy hat! Take a fashion risk! Thrifting is all about the joy of the search, the surprise of a one of a kind find, and a great bargain. Go forth my thrifting apprentices and shop with inexpensive abandon!