Finding a nice garment in a traditional thrift store can seem overwhelming.
While the racks of clothing seem endless it can be frustrating not finding any pieces after browsing through rows of clothes. And if you’re new to thrift shopping you may not know where to start.
Luckily there are certain ways to navigate the thrift stores to make your shopping experience better and allowing you to take home some quality pieces.
Before I share some “Thrifting 101” advice we have to acknowledge that thrift shopping has evolved and there are different secondhand shopping experiences.
Different types of “thrift stores”
If you’re a digital person, apps such as Depop and Poshmark serve as an online thrift store where users sell anything from shoes to pants or purses.
For the person into luxury items Vestiaire Collective or The Real Real are great places for second hand designer items.
Like the concept of thrift shopping but would rather buy curated pieces? Then shopping from independent secondhand or vintage sellers is the option for you. These pieces will have a slightly higher price tag, but it saves you time from sifting through clothes racks and most of the pieces are in season.
Another option for physical stores with second hand “trendy” pieces are stores such as Buffalo Exchange.
Here are 5 tips to help you step up your thrifting game
- Navigating the thrift store. When shopping at a physical thrift store, roam the perimeter areas of the store. Most of the time items such as shoes, accessories, purses, jewelry and even home decor are located on the perimeter of the store. After searching in those areas, look at clothing racks with the pieces you’re searching for. Holiday season is coming up, so you could start looking at the dresses or coat section.
- Inspect pieces! I recently started doing this and I wish I had done this sooner. Inspect pieces you plan to bring home because bringing an item that tears apart easily is counterproductive. Really look at the seams, zippers, stains, buttons, look inside the garment to make sure you are taking a quality piece. Touch the fabric, start familiarizing yourself with the different textures. Familiarizing fabrics also makes shopping second hand online easier since you’ll remember what certain fabrics feel like.
- Read care label. This trick can really expand the life of your garments. Care labels will tell you if an item needs to be dry cleaned, what water temperature to use and if they need to be air dried. I typically wash everything in cold water, and just follow the drying instructions or air dry. The care label will also say if an item needs to be dry cleaned, if you know you won’t take it to a dry cleaner then you should put it back to save you the hassle and closet clutter.
- Look for outfit inspiration. Looking for outfit inspiration makes thrift shopping easier because you have an idea of the pieces you need for your closet. Outfit inspiration can come from color combinations you may want to try or looking for pieces to match what’s already in your closet. You can have as much fun with this, create a mood or outfit board on Pinterest or jot down outfit inspiration ideas.
- Extra savings. if you really want to save money and thrift like a pro, then sign up for rewards programs at the thrift store of your choice. You can also familiarize yourself with their color tag sales so you know what’s the best day to shop.
If you have any other thrift shopping tips share them in the comments or let me know on Instagram @minadeltex.
Watch my “Thirfting 101” presentation here: