As some of you may have figured out by now, I love thrift shopping. In my opinion, it’s the best way to establish your own fashion identity as thrifting ensures that you get pieces nobody else will have. Don’t get me wrong, I love recommending people places to shop and helping others track down certain items, but I also love it when people ask me where I got something and I get to reply, “at a thrift store”. With fast fashion taking over the public’s interest, it’s just nice to be able to stand out from the rest of the crowd where every 4 out of 5 people will be wearing clothing from [insert fast fashion store here]. As someone who’s spent the past eight years shopping at various thrift and consignment shops, I’m here with an insider’s guide to finding trendy clothes that may not be new, but are new to you!
Tip #1: Take yourself out of your “comfort box”
Most of the time, when I step foot into Forever21 or some other clothing store, I’ll automatically go towards the women’s section and shop for clothes made specifically in my size. It’s easy, automatic, and comfortable. But when it comes to thrift shopping, don’t be afraid to step out of where you usually shop. If you’re a female, feel free to check out the men’s rack for a change. If you’re a male, don’t worry about people giving you weird looks and go into the women’s section– we also have t-shirts and jackets, I promise you. Also, don’t worry about sizing. If you’re usually a medium, don’t be shy about going into the larges for a baggier style or into the smalls for more fitted clothes. You’ll never know what you could be missing out on if you always stick to your “comfort box”.
Tip #2: Just add everything into your cart
You’ll never know what you have until it’s gone. That’s exactly how you’ll feel if you put something back on the rack, only to find that someone else snags it away before you realize that you want it after all. I can’t even tell you how many times that’s happened to me until I finally learned to just put everything into my cart. By doing so, it allows you to try everything on, figure out how you’ll style it, think about what clothes you have a home that could be worn with it, and really inspect the item for potential damages such as stains, rips, and holes.
Tip #3: Make the most out of this opportunity
Thrifting allows you to try new trends without having to fork out a lot of cash. At a thrift store, you can try bold prints, crazy colors, different textiles and eccentric cuts without having to spend an arm and a leg like you would at a traditional retail store. Take this opportunity to try new things. Reach for the faux fur, the vinyl dress, or even the MC Hammer parachute pants!
Tip #4: Come in with a budget in mind
Yes, thrift shopping can be a lot more affordable than shopping in the department stores, but it quickly adds up! Most of the time, I find too many items that I want to purchase only to realize that if I bought them all, it would be wayyyyy too expensive. My solution is to have a budget in mind and bringing everything into the fitting room again. Sometimes I’ll retry on the clothes, but I mostly just go in there to use the two separate racks in the fitting room to sort out my “I can’t live without having this” items from the “It’s cute and looks good on me but I could live without” items. I make it a rule that all of the items I do buy must add up to be at or under the budget that I came into the store with. After I sort them all, I take the clothes that I won’t be buying and hang them onto the return rack so the store employees can take them to their original places.
Tip #5: Take off all the hangers
While you’re waiting to get checked out at the registers, save yourself some time by removing the hangers before getting to the front of the line. This way, the clerks won’t have to struggle to take off the hangers, you can leave a lot quicker, and the next person in line can be helped right away. It’s just a considerate thing to do (yes, I used to work in retail).
Those are my 5 Tips for Thrifting! I hope that these tips will help you begin a life-long relationship with thrift shopping. This is the best way to establish your fashion identity while also saving money. Lastly, here’s a picture of me wearing a white off the shoulder top that I thrifted for $8 from The Annex by Opitz in Minneapolis! I paired this shirt with a tan hat from Forever21 and a pair of mom jeans from GAP.
Do you have any tips for thrift shopping? Let me know in the comments!