Thrifting is one of my favorite things, however it wasn’t always fun for me. I used to get frustrated at my lack of success and didn’t like the idea of buying other peoples’ old clothing. (I know I’m not the only germaphobe out there…) So what changed and made me realize how much fun thrifting could be? I kept trying and slowly learned what worked for me and what didn’t. Hopefully these tips help you and you get to try them! If not, that’s fine – more thrifted treasures for me :)
1. Timing is everything.
Most thrift stores or buy-sell-trade consignment stores are still like your average retail stores so clothing is cycled through based on the season. So if you’re looking for a winter coat, go when it’s in season. If you don’t need it but you’d like to find one for as cheap as possible, go towards the end of the season when stores are marking down winter clothing and featuring spring clothing. Additionally, many stores have special deals for certain days of the week. The Goodwill that I like to frequent has $1.29 deal days or 50% off certain items on weekends.
2. Keep in mind what you need.
If you’re on the hunt for specific items, try to hit those sections of the store first so you don’t get burnt out or be like me and get sucked into buying things that I don’t need. I already have too many pairs of colored pants…do I really need another pair? (Okay but really I am still hunting for a good pair of burgundy cords or skinnies.)
3. Ignore size.
While thrift shopping you won’t have the luxury of finding the same item in multiple sizes for obvious reasons. Very rarely have I found multiples of the same item and even more rarely is it an item that I want. I’ve learned that instead of looking primarily in the size section in which you usually buy from, it can be rewarding to look beyond that. There are certain things that you’ll probably need to stay true to size, such as jeans, unless you’re going for a ridiculous saggy look. (I’m sorry..but pants that fit will never go out of style so just wear pants that fit.) However, items like tops and sweaters can certainly be sized down or up. Lastly some stores may not have any organization so just take a deep breath and start digging!
4. If you love it, buy it.
It might not be there again. You’ll have major regret if you return and it’s gone! If you’re really on the fence, I would say that’s probably a good indicator that you should not buy it. You can always check the store’s return/exchange policy because many stores are still willing to give you your money back within a time period or give you store credit. This way you can buy it, think about it, and then decide whether you’ll keep it.
If you find something you love but it also has something you hate about it, yet it’s a good deal…what should you do? There are some pieces that can totally be repurposed to your liking. For instance, I bought a pair of designer jeans from Crossroads that fit me perfectly except they were a bit too long and I didn’t like how dark they were at the bottom anyway. So it worked out perfectly when I took them to Nordstrom and got them hemmed. I asked that they not use the original hem so that got rid of the color part that I didn’t like.
6. Pay attention to brands.
Depending on the store, you may find a variety of high and low end brands but the prices may not range as much. If you have a good idea of what an item of a brand was worth originally, that will help you make a decision whether or not an item was a good deal or not. Is it really worth it to buy a used Forever 21 shirt for $8 if for the same price you can buy a top from J.Crew? Think beyond the price tag – think about the percentage discount.
7. Check the garment.
I don’t like trying clothes on, even if they’re new. (If you think about it, new clothes have been touched plenty of times too.) It’s just a hassle and again, with the germaphobe thing..I would rather just eyeball the size. The good thing about not having grown since about the 7th grade is I know what will fit me generally from looking at it or holding it up to myself. However, you should still carefully check the item to make sure there are no irreversible stains, holes, or snags.
8. Check often.
If you’re really serious about finding bargains, the key is to check these stores often. Inventory is always changing and markdowns are always happening.
Look up brands you’re unsure of to see the general price point to help you see how much you’re saving. You can also research other helpful things such as how the item should be cleaned. If an item can only be dry cleaned and you don’t want to deal with the cost and upkeep of it, then maybe it’s not the right buy. I’ve used my phone to look up quickly the original price of items many times. It has become a game to me to see how much of a saving I can get. (See next tip)
10. Have fun!
If it’s not fun and thrifting isn’t your thing, then don’t! But I really encourage everyone to try it and see what treasures you can find!
Today’s OOTD features one of my favorite pieces that I thrifted. When I worked at Nordstrom in the Individualist department, I always admired the Joie pieces but the price tags…not so much. This is 100% silk, called the Kila top and it retails for $188. I found it for $20 except it also had a 50% off sticker on it – so I paid $10. I was ecstatic needless to say.
Top: Joie Kila top in ‘Cyan’ – from Crossroads Trading Co.
Jeans: ZARA – thrifted from Crossroads Trading Co. (Retail $79.90, bought for $13.50)
Sandals: Unknown – Nordstrom Rack
Some outfit details: this ring is from Nordstrom BP. While it wasn’t thrifted, I bought it for around $5 because it was on sale and I used my employee discount.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you love thrifting too – or if you get to try some of these tips out. Have a great week everyone!