Today’s post is all about thrifting tips! Thrift store shopping has quickly become one of my favorite ways to buy clothing, both to develop more of a unique style, and more importantly to be more environmentally friendly. Clothing and fast fashion are one of the fastest-growing waste streams. The fashion industry has played a critical role in the negative effects of climate change, with fabrics and single-use wear items being dumped into landfills.
One of the best ways to help offset this is to avoid fast fashion, be mindful of the materials you are purchasing (just say no to polyester (aka plastic) and mixed fabrics that aren’t able to be recycled (example 50% rayon 50% polyester etc), and to purchase pre-loved items versus brand new.
Here I’ve outlined my best thrift shop tips to set you up for success in finding the best pieces for you and your wardrobe.
Thrifting Tip #1: Budget some time
Thrift shopping should never be done when you are in a rush. The racks are stuffed to the brim, with new items being jammed into them every single hour. This is amazing as it gives you a plethora of options, but it can be difficult to file through the items. My advice is to take an afternoon and spend time quickly filing through each piece on the racks with your hands by sliding the hangers over. You can examine each piece fairly quickly doing this. This method has led me to find my most favorite vintage pieces that I would have missed had I just glanced at the rack.
Thrifting Tip #2: Don’t Just Look at Your Size Section
Thrift stores are not as neat and tidy as the pristine retail stores that have everything organized by style and size. It’s a free-for-all. I’ve often found gorgeous small and medium pieces in the XL section. Shoppers often grab stuff and then put it back in the wrong spot, and the staff has so much merchandise that it isn’t always placed according to size. I also love oversized looks, so exploring outside my exact size has led to some great purchases. You can find stunning, unique pieces that may not fit perfectly.
Doesn’t fit perfectly but see potential? Buy it and have it tailored to you
The beauty of thrift shopping is that it is so cheap, you can find a piece you love that doesn’t fit quite right and get it tailored and it would still be cheaper than buying new! I often do this with coats or trousers.
Thrifting Tip #3: Go through the men’s section
Make sure you peek at the men’s section while thrifting. The things I love to look for in the men’s section are oversized graphic tee’s, pullovers, Hawaiian shirts for easy beach coverups and large flannels. I’ve found some amazing vintage jackets that fit me perfectly in the men’s section.
Thrifting Tip #4: Don’t skip over home decor or jewelry
I love looking at the vintage glassware including glass vases for fresh flowers, and woven baskets for storage or decor. I always glance at the jewelry section too. A lot of it is cheesy costume jewelry, but you can sometimes find a hidden gem or some finer gold/stainless silver pieces, depending on the thrift store.
Thrifting Tip #5: Wear clothing that you can try stuff on over
When Value Village has its monthly sale, the changerooms can be a gong-show. Sometimes you’ll want to just try on a sweater or pants over your clothing to see how it fits. I usually wear a tight tank top, sweater and lululemons so I can just slip things on overtop if the wait is outrageous.
Thrifting Tip #6: Go in with some vintage inspiration
I have a board on Pinterest for thrift store style. I look at this before I go thrift shopping, to remind myself of some staple pieces to be on the lookout for. Things like blazers, high waisted jeans, oversized coats, blouses, belts, graphic tees are always on my radar. It also gives you ideas for how to style these new pieces.
Always go in with an open mind, because with thrift stores you never know what you are going to get, and you don’t want to miss out on an epic vintage jacket if you are sticking to a strict list.
More thrifting tips: Things to bring with you
It goes without saying that thrift stores can be a little germy. Avoid touching your face and bring hand sanitizer with you to use when you are done shopping. When you get home, wash all your finds in hot water before you wear them.
Your own tote bag
Bring a tote to avoid plastic bags 🙂
I hope these thrifting tips inspire you to hit your local vintage and secondhand shops before purchasing anything new. There is nothing better than finding a unique vintage piece that you can wear over and over again. All of my thrift store items are by far the most complimented items in my wardrobe, and I think you’ll notice the same. Happy shopping!