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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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).
Share your favorite thrifting tips below!