I will admit it I love shopping thrift stores. The thrill of the hunt, finding the perfect jacket for $3, spotting some CK jeans for $2 on a faraway rack, the fun of laughing with a friend over a nasty polyester jumpsuit!
I think that there is a fine art to thrift shopping and it takes a while to hone your skills. So to help out anyone new to thrifting I have compiled a list of a few rules I have learned over time.
Take a Carefully Chosen Friend–Now this might seem odd but it truly makes sense. You are there hunting for a great item and chances are there will be only one, so why take a friend who is the same exact size with the same style of dress as you??
Do take a friend along who will enjoy it as much as you and who knows your sense of style. That way if they see a goodie you might like they can grab it up and vice versa. Also bring a person who will say to you “Please don’t buy those pants they make you butt look huge” friends like that really come in handy in times like these.
Please Do not Bring Your Kids–I will leave this with one thought. I have never seen a happy kid in a thrift shop.
Take Your Time and Look Everywhere–(Now this rule goes along with the following two.) Go when you have plenty of time to spend there, your lunch hour just won’t cut it in most cases. Look in men’s, women’s and kids sections for clothes many times stuff is misplaced. It is time consuming to search the whole shop but usually it is worth it. (I found one of my favorite items this way. A light blue ‘Mary Tyler more’ style jacket in the nightgown section!)
Get a Shopping Basket and Fill it Up–If they have shopping carts take one and toss in Anything you think might be for you, you never know if it will be there later. Once you have combed the store move on the the next rule.
Try Stuff On–Two reasons for this. First I have found that when I try stuff on I notice little problems that might be in the garment: uneven hems, small holes, fading, little stains. This also saves the time of examining every item before you put it in the basket. Second you can see the fit. Often times there are worn or even no labels to show the size of an item so the workers in the shop just guess if they even bother to sort by size. Also if a piece is older or ‘vintage’ the sizing will run very differently.
Don’t Buy it Because it is Cheap–So you find a BCBG dress for $5 and it is in good condition (a dream of course but lets imagine), if it doesn’t fit you DON’T buy it. Most of us probably already have a closet full of stuff we won’t wear why add to it?
Don’t Expect to Find Something Every Time–Go in with no expectations of finding anything that way you are not discouraged if you don’t go home with any treasures. Also you won’t feel compelled to buy that ‘ok’ shirt just so you have something to show for your long shopping venture.
Return The Favor–Don’t just toss that old jacket that is feeling a bit tight, take it to a thrift shop. Most shops are there for charitable reasons and your donations really help out. Plus it’s always fun to go in there and see people looking at your stuff on the racks 🙂 Just watch out you don’t re-buy something you donated (It has been known to happen)
I hope you have enjoyed or at least learned something from this little tip sheet. Keep an eye out for future thrift store information here, but until then ‘thrift’ shop until you drop!