I am an avid thrifter. I live for shopping trips that involve finding amazing items for good prices This is why I LOVE thrifting. I mean genuine, real thrifting, not fancy consignment shops (I do shop at those too), but authentic, blue/green/yellow tag thrift stores. Fashion is constantly repeating itself. Many new designs are simply reinventions of old classics so a trip to the thrift store can result in finding beautiful and original pieces. Additionally, the fashion industry is one the biggest contributors to pollution, so thrifting is also better for our environment.

This is a jumpsuit I found at a thrift store back in 2014. I wear it at least once a year.

Back when I was a student at Howard University, my line sisters and I frequently visited thrift stores. Many find shopping at the thrift store an impossible and overwhelming endeavor, which it absolutely can be without the right approach. Here are few things that I have learned over the years to help me be focused and intentional when thrifting.

 

  1. Find an organized well-run thrift store.

 

All thrift stores are not equal and finding one that is organized and well-run is key. This might seem insignificant but finding items at a thrift store is hard enough. You do not need to be searching through clothing racks that are in a state of complete chaos. Well-run thrift stores will have staff that are regularly sorting and organizing items into its rightful place making the trip that much easier for you, which brings me to my next point.

 

Both of the sweaters above are from a favorite thrift store in Baltimore. Fall/winter shopping there was a breeze due to the organization of the store.

 

  1. Find out which days they put out new clothes.

 

One thing I have learned is that there are legit professional thrift store shoppers. Either for their own closet collections or for their etsy boutiques, people compete to get the best finds in the good thrift stores. Knowing what day they put out new merchandise can increase your chances of finding the good stuff.

This plaid cape, blanket scarf, and free people sweater (underneath) were all snagged from the thrift store the same day were they priced and put out on the sales floor.

 

  1. Go looking for specific things, not everything.

 

When heading to the thrift store have a trend in mind you want to find like, floral dresses, or straw bags. When I do this I tend to have better results, spend less money (just because everything is cheap does not mean you won’t get an unpleasant surprise when you see the final bill at check out), and feel less overwhelmed. Narrowing your focus can help you blur out distractions and find that perfect piece you “need” for a great price.

 

This dress and bag are both thrift store finds. All three of the above dress are floral thrift store finds I grabbed while specifically looking for summer dresses.

 

  1. Do not go during peak hours.

 

This is a sure way to never want to enter a thrift store again. People can actually get pushy and competitive (I know it sounds crazy but it’s real). It will ruin your experience and make you feel like you’re on a shopping game show. I like to thrift when I have random days off in the middle of the week, or right when they open.

 

I was able to find this sheer black top on a day when the thrift store was just about vacant. This allowed me to look at things more carefully and find items that I may have otherwise glanced over.

  1. Find a great tailor, or tailor things yourself.

 

Here is some advice that has been a game changer in my thrifting life. A good tailor is a lot less money than you may think, and fit is imperative to completing a look, especially with thrift store items. I also play around with “tailoring” items myself because the items are inexpensive. I’ve cut shirts into crop tops, taken out the lining of sheer dresses, and even removed sleeves.

 

This floral crop top was a thrift store find that originally had long sleeves. The sleeves made it look dated so I quite literally cut them off. The ruffle shoulders prevent it from being the least bit noticeable.

This shirt is one of my favorite thrift store finds ever. That may seem strange but it really is one of my “go to” wardrobe staples. Below you can see the multiple ways I have worn this shirt.

Here is that same shirt again, this time I used it to mixed prints, something I LOVE to do.

 

Yep, same shirt. This time I knotted it at the waist and lowered the shoulder to create an off the shoulder button up.

  1. Remember, it’s not that serious.

I was going to make this last point about the importance of trying items on before you buy, but I try not to give advice I don’t even follow (lol). I rarely try things on when I am thrifting because to me, it’s not that serious. If something doesn’t fit I either have it tailored, or add it to my clothing donations.

My boyfriend actually picked out this skirt for me from Georgia Ave thrift store in Washington DC  before my niece’s second birthday party. Even though I was not there to try it on, I wear it all the time.

7.   Wash before wearing.

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you should always wash your thrift store finds before wearing them. The thrift store rarely does this and there is no sure way to know where the clothing came from. Stay on the safe side and give things a good wash before you debut them.

Below are a few more of my favorite thrift store finds from the years, my closet is filled with them. Thrifting is an affordable way to be fashionable, express yourself, find current trends from their original time, and even find cool clothes that transcend trendiness (I just made that up but it sounds good).

This circular straw bag I found at a thrift store in 2009! I found it buried in my closet when I moved to NYC in 2016 and fell in love with it all over again.

 

Share your favorite thrifting tips below!

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Darnice
    May 4, 2018 / 2:22 am

    Ughhhhhh ! I need you in my life. My patience in thrift store is like a no go. I need to find a good one where I am. In June I’m going to start thrifting and get outside of my comfort zone because cousin your fashion is fly.

    • kimberlyc
      May 7, 2018 / 3:00 pm

      Awww thanks Darnice! Definitely find a good way, thrifting is an amazing way to save money and still be fly!

  2. Nadine
    May 4, 2018 / 4:01 am

    I loveeeeee this post! I used to love thrifting in college! You make me want to look for some places near me! xo

  3. kimberlyc
    May 7, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    Same! I do not thrift as much as I did in college, but some of my absolutely favorite pieces of clothing are from the thrift store, we should go next time I am in DC!

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