Thrift Shopping Tips
1. Have an Open Mind
A big reason I started my blog was to change people’s mentality towards secondhand clothing. Thrift shops have a connotation of being full of dirty, outdated, unwanted pieces. This is quite untrue. I think there is a value in things that are old, well-made, and secondhand. In Europe I saw firsthand how people would save up to spend money on expensive, well-made designer shoes and bags rather than splurge on a few lower-quality pieces a year. In the US when our shoes break we’ll throw them away and buy a new pair. Usually, we’ll buy a few pairs. Often we’ll buy a pair of cheap white sneakers and know that they’ll be wrecked in a few months, but buy it anyway. How come we never think to just fix these items? Why is our first instinct to throw it away? Advertisers coax us to be the consumer; a subconscious belief that we deserve the best available.
In many cultures when your shoe breaks you take it to a cobbler and fix it. There’s a value and coolness in owning something that’s used and well taken care of. If you’re the first of your friends and family to shift towards secondhand shopping habits they may raise their eyebrows at you like… huh? Just recognize that you’re not crazy, it’s a cultural mentality, and that vintage thrift shops are a budgeting fashionista’s best kept secret.
2. Know What You’re Looking For
Thrift shopping can be a little overwhelming at first because clothes are not always organized in pretty rows like department stores. Clothing is held in more general heaps – winter wear, shorts, pants, tops, dresses, accessories, etc. Since things are more mixed up and there are no sales associates to help you articulate exactly what you’re looking for, walk in with a general idea of what you’d like to find. Have a positive attitude, yield low expectations, and float along with it.
3. Be Creative
You’d be amazed what a waist belt can do to a boxy dress, what a resown button can do to a pair of pants, and how a lifted hem can change a skirt. Alternations are easier than you think! I’m not a seamstress (I don’t even have a sewing machine), but if you utilize these quick alteration tricks you can made almost anything work.
4. Check for Weekly Discounts
- Goodwill has color of the week sales where clothing with a certain color tag will be discounted throughout the store. Salvation Army also has weekly sales and frequent 50% off days.
- Check out vintage stores on Etsy. Shops like Spring Creature have really cute, high quality vintage clothing.
- At Savers secondhand store you can sign up for a free Club Card where you can receive 50% off select items one day a week, every week.
- Jetrag is an amazing vintage clothing store that has $1 Sundays, where they bring a huge heap of clothes you can look through. It’s a fun place to explore, I would definitely recommend it!
- If you sell clothes to the Buffalo Exchange you can receive 50% store credit off the price they’ll mark your clothing piece for. If you bring in your student ID, you can receive an additional 10% off your purchase.
5. Have Fun!
Thrifting is funny. You’re rummaging around in essentially the biggest collective garage sale in your neighborhood, finding singular unique pieces, mixing and matching, grabbing hella cute clothes from $2 bins with 5 other people reaching over and under you. You’re in this loophole of extremely cheap fashion with crazed treasure seekers who’ve learned this truth, or with people who just want to pick up a t-shirt for a buck. It cracks me up sometimes. There are so many quality, name brand pieces that people donate that’re marked just a dollar or two! The search for these treasures is like a little scavenger hunt. Shopping doesn’t have to be tiresome or a chore. Thrifting is silly, so make sure you enjoy it. ✿