Those of you that are frequent readers of my blog know that I am a HUGE fan of combining high and low, new and old and that I score some of my best finds in consignment and thrift shops.
My thrifting obsession began in High School. Vintage pieces have always made my heart skip a beat and after scouring everything my grandmother’s closet had to offer as a teenager I became a dedicated thrifter.
Fast forward to, ahem, decades later.. and although I don’t get out to thrift as often as I would like it’s still one of my favorite pastimes.
Not only is thrifting great for the environment (reduce, reuse, recycle) and your wallet, but it’s the best way to have a personality packed wardrobe full of unique pieces that no one else has. Nothing feels as good as unearthing an amazing designer piece buried in a rack at a thrift shop! I once scored an authentic 1970’s Gucci Vintage tote for $20 at a thrift shop in Palm Springs. My heart was beating a mile a minute, palms were sweating and I think I had an out of body experience lol…. I swear this is how an archaeologist must feel on a dig.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I get at least 60% of my clothes and handbags from second-hand shops!
I know that thrift shopping can be overwhelming even to experienced thrifters so I though that in honor of National Thrift Shop Day (August 17th) I would share some of my best tips for shopping thrift shops.
RULE #1 Visit Often. Thrift stores get new donations weekly and sometime daily. What’s available depends on what has been brought in most recently. The inventory is constantly changing so, while you may strike out one week, the next could be a treasure trove. Going often ups the chances of getting the score of a lifetime. Charity thrift shops run on donations, so you have to keep in mind that you never know when an AMAZING estate is going to be donated.
RULE #2 Check the “Go-Back” Racks by the Dressing Rooms. These items have already been hunted and gathered and deemed valuable enough to try on. Just because they weren’t a good fit for the person who originally found them doesn’t mean they won’t work for you.
RULE #3 Try EVERYTHING On: This is a shopping rule in general, but definitely follow this while secondhand shopping. It’s too easy to grab a million things you think are cute and then feel too lazy to try them on, but you CANNOT return these pieces if they don’t fit and then they will just eventually end up taking up valuable space in your closet.
RULE #4 Keep an Open Mind: I’ve heard a ton of people say they don’t like thrifting because you are just wearing people’s old clothes, and they think it’s dirty. It’s not dirty! Wash them and that problem is solved. Stop being weird. Designers are constantly inspired by past decades and current trends often look totally vintage (hello the past 3 seasons of Gucci)! When you thrift you can be on-trend at a fraction of the price with a piece that is completely unique! Also, keep that open mind in check when picking out clothing- an open mind is good but too open isn’t. You don’t want to buy something you’ll never wear, make sure the piece fits in with your personal style.
RULE #5 Check Clothes Carefully. Check clothes for stains, rips, tears, missing buttons and other potential problems. Be sure to turn items inside out, too, for a full assessment. You may need to find a big window for good natural light to do this.
RULE #6 Bring Cash. Many thrift shops are “cash only” or run weekly sales/bonus’s for shopping with cash so make sure to have some on hand.
RULE #7 Make Sure You Give Yourself Time. It takes time to go through racks to score a great piece. Like anything else in life, you have to be patient and look carefully. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to look through EVERYTHING you can’t be in a rush. A quick 5 minute scan isn’t going to unearth a work of art buried deep within the thrift shop.
RULE #8 Buy Only What You Love. It’s oh so easy to get caught up in the rush of the treasure hunt. Focus on only purchasing pieces that you are super excited about! When you find a piece of clothing you love, ask yourself “Does it fit and flatter my body? Where would I wear this? Is it my style?”
Friday August 17th is National Thrift Shop Day so I partnered with SAVERS to shop this look (the only thing not thrifted is the boots).
*Savers provided me with a gift card for the purpose of styling this post.