Every now and then, I go to a thrift store and have a ‘Eureka!’ moment. My Eureka moment happened a few days ago when I spotted these 70’s inspired pants from a local Vinnie’s store. But before I begin sharing with you my tips on how to make the best out of your thrift shopping experience, I want to unleash my inner high-school debater side of me- I want to refute some of the reasons why people are against thrift shopping:
“The items they sell aren’t very sanitary.”
It’s true that some of the clothes there aren’t in the best condition. And I definitely wouldn’t buy second-hand bikinis and underwear. But that isn’t to say that ALL the clothes aren’t clean. In fact, there are many clothes there are basically brand new and still have the original price tag dangling. Just wash the clothes before you wear them.
“I can never find anything good at thrift stores.”
It can be hard finding things at thrift stores, and I don’t find something every time I go. But patience, grasshopper. Just go to a thrift store every few weeks or so with an opened mind, and you’ll never know what you’ll find on the racks and shelves.
Now finally, my personal tips to help you thrift shop:
1. Before you go shopping, look through your wardrobe.
A question you should be asking yourself whilst you’re looking through your wardrobe is- ‘What haven’t I worn in the past year?’ After asking yourself this, you have two options in your choose-your-adventure:
A) Donate the clothes you haven’t worn in ages
B) Buy clothes from the thrift store which will match the items you haven’t worn in ages.
2. Don’t impulse buy.
Whilst thrift shopping, I’m often tempted to buy items immediately because I think to myself “Oh gosh if I don’t buy it right now somebody else will and I will continue to regret this in my after life.” But hold up! Before you walk to the counter, ask yourself- Will I use / wear this? Does it match with anything that I already have? Remember, just because it is cheap doesn’t mean you must buy it.
3. Check for original price tags.
Some businesses actually donate some of their clothes or items to thrift stores. Also, some people donate clothes that they bought or were gifted with the original price tag still attached. You can spot these new items by quickly going through the racks and checking if they still have the original price tag dangling.
4. Learn to sew
This is an extremely useful skill for thrift shoppers. Like the dress but it doesn’t fit? Fix it. Like the pleated lower half of the dress but hate the beaded torso section? Turn it into a skirt.
5. Buy clothes and use them as template
Perhaps you really like the design of this cotton dress but you hate its Hawaiian print. Simple solution: unpick the dress and use it as a template for dresses you can create with different fabrics.
6. Notice the fabric
Maybe there’s a dress you hate, but you love the lace it is made out of. You can buy it and use the fabric to create something else. For inspiration, you can check out this gown this blogger named Esther made out of a lace dress she bought at Goodwill. click here to see Esther’s beaded leaf gown
Check for stains, holes, rips, etc etc before you buy it, and determine whether they’re fixable or not.
Hope this helps!
Maroon crop-top (self-made)
Thrifted Table Eight flare pants
ASOS black sunhat
Photographer: Jennifer Aleksandroff, @giftoftwentyfour