Thrifting is a gift and a discipline. It may not seem like it to the average chain store-frequenting shopper, but success (or how you view success) is made or broken based on a few important insights:
1. You can’t expect to walk in, pick up an article of clothing, and have it be your size, the right color and fit great. It’s very likely that you will find some awesome clothes that don’t fit you. Many people give up right here, because they can’t go back to the rack and grab the same shirt in a different size or color. Get over it.
2. You have to know where to shop based on what you’re looking to buy. It’s few and far between to find a thrift store that has a well-rounded shoe selection, and great reasonably priced furniture. Part of the purpose of this section of my blog is to help in this department. I’ll be adding store reviews (if you want a great pair of jeans, DON’T go to Goodwill, unless you have 5 hours to sort through everyone else’s size), as well as a comprehensive directory with straightforward tagging of specialties & pricing. (Looking for wearable / non-costume vintage? Bows & Arrows.)
3. Knowing what colors and fabrics are and are not good on you will cut your browsing time in half. Most stores have whatever similar items on a rack (blazers, tank tops etc.) at least sorted by color. Surprisingly, many places don’t sort by size, but will still sort by color. The stores that don’t sort by size frustrate me to no end, and I will probably not be recommending them.
4. Know WHEN to shop, and take advantage of deals. Just because they’re not big chain stores doesn’t mean they don’t have great sales. Chances are, if it’s a 3 day weekend, or if mattress places and car dealerships are having huge holiday sales, so are the thrift stores. A lot of times it’s as big as 50% off all clothes. Many stores also have colored tag of the day sales where anything with a blue tag will be 50% off. I’ll be highlighting anything significant here for all of you, but check out the links to the different stores. They advertise the big sales, as well as often offer discounts for being online members etc. Worth a minute online.
5. Talk to the people who work there. If you’re looking for something specific, sometimes they’ve seen something in the back that hasn’t been put out yet, or are at least willing to go look.
6. Go often! Some days you only find a few things, if anything. 3 days later, it can be the complete opposite.
7. Don’t shop by season! Shop with reason. If it’s summertime and you find an awesome cashmere sweater for a great price – GET IT! You’ll be happy you did when winter comes and you look fabulous!
8. One of the best reasons to shop at Thrift Stores: The money goes to charity and stays within the community. Thrift store shopping is a sustainable practice. Sustainable is a popular word these days and for good reason.
9. Be prepared to look at “regular” stores differently. Once you start finding great stuff & name brands you love at thrift store prices, it’s hard to justify $25 – 50 for one article of clothing.