How to Thrift

As you can tell from the pictures above (and if you haven’t experienced it for yourself), thrifting can be pretty overwhelming. There is a lot of junk to sort through, and if you don’t have the patience to do it, thrifting can be frustrating. Here are a few of my tips for successful thrifting:

Know what you want. If you’re not willing to spend hours and hours looking through every clothing rack, the best strategy is to know what you want. For example, you might be looking for a brown v-neck sweater and a pair of ballet flats. To make the most of your time, begin with a list of key items you’re looking for, and then look for those items only. Most thrift and secondhand stores have all of their items organized by type (dresses, pants, shoes, etc.), which will make it easier for you to look for your specific items without having to wade through useless items.

Be prepared to spend time. If you’re going to the thrift store just for fun, begin preparing yourself for a time-consuming experience. If you’re willing to spend a few hours just browsing the racks, go for it! Sometimes that’s when you find the best treasures. 

Be wary of stains, holes, and tears. This might sound obvious, but look over every garment carefully. Some holes and tears can be fixed, and some stains may come out. However, most cannot be fixed, so more times than not, don’t take a chance on the garment if you’re not completely sure. 

Look for items that can be tailored. Some vintage clothes are incredibly chic, but the size might not be “your” size. Don’t be afraid to try stuff on, and don’t be afraid to look for alterations a tailor might be able to make. You might just find a gem that would be well worth the few extra bucks to get it tailored to your body.

On this particular excursion, I found the above skirt; however, after trying it on, I put it back because the fit wasn’t quite right and the fabric couldn’t be tailored well. I did find a few gems, like some Bass penny loafers for $2.50, a navy, leather Buxton purse for $2.50, a pair of leather, cashmere-lined Coach gloves for $0.90 and an Oscar de la Renta vintage blazer for $3.00. All that time I spent looking through rack after rack of clothing turned out to be well worth the effort because of the items I found to add to my wardrobe.