When I was younger I remember thinking that thrifting was a gross, not cool way to go shopping. I always wondered why people would ever want to wear used clothing from a smelly thrift store. My, my… how the tables have turned. Now, thrifting is how I purchase 90% of my clothes (with the exception of underwear obviously and shoes). But everything else, I buy at thrift stores!
Thrifting is definitely an art form and it’s not for everyone. The reason I’m writing this article is that I’ve had countless people ask me to take them thrifting and when I do, they seem to struggle to find cool stuff even when I’m here to help them! That’s because there’s a lot of things to consider when you are thrifting. So I decided to create a guide for all of you peeps who have ever asked me how to successfully thrift.
Additionally, thrifting is also a great way to shop sustainably! Read more about that here. And see below for how you can become a thrifting queen too!
This is hands down the most important tip I can give you while thrifting. Shop alone. Don’t bring any friends with you. I know it may seem like fun to go thrifting with your friends, but I find that it only makes me super distracted and I can’t fully focus on my mission to find some dope clothes.
One of my favorite parts of thrifting alone is popping in my AirPods and listening to a podcast while I escape into a world of used clothes that have the potential to be mine (*dramatic*). I find it to be such a great bonding experience with myself.
I highly recommend thrifting as a fun way to spend time with yourself where you don’t have to worry about anyone else while shopping. Spending time by yourself is extremely important, as I talked about in this article here. Check it out!
Set Aside Enough Time
I know some of us are busy bees and don’t have a ton of time in our day to set aside hours of shopping time. However, if you do have some spare time I suggest you use it to thrift! Thrifting is definitely not something you want to rush or you may miss out on finding the perfect item for you.
I recommend at least two hours for thrifting. I know it may seem like a lot of time but thrifting is not the same as shopping at the mall. You need time to sift through every section in order to discover the next best item for your closet. Believe it or not, the most time I’ve spent in a thrift store is about four hours. Yes…FOUR HOURS. The workers probably thought I was nuts but did I care? Nope. And in all seriousness, this specific thrift store had a great book section that I ended up spending the majority of my time in. This actually brings me to my next point which is…
Look Through Every Single Section
This is where I think people miss out on a lot of great stuff while thrifting. Don’t stick to just your “designated” section. So if you’re shopping in the women’s section, don’t forget to look in the men’s! And even the kid’s section honestly. You never know what you could find.
I personally love the men’s section for things like t-shirts, sweatpants, etc. Anything comfy basically. I like the kid’s sections for things like t-shirts as well because if you normally wear a small in women’s and you find an XL in the kid’s section, it’ll basically fits like a crop top which I love. I know that’s not everyone’s jam, but it’s just what I do. Do whatever floats your boat!
And also, don’t skip out on the home and book sections. You can definitely find some weird, quirky stuff in the home section! Hell, you might even find a whole collectors edition of 50 Shades Of Grey in the books section too! I saw this the other day and thought it was pretty funny.
Try Everything On
This sounds a little obvious, but seriously, try everything on. I know you may think you know your size or you think something will absolutely fit you because you’ve bought the brand before but that is not a good way to think when you’re thrifting.
Things can fit weirder than expected because previous owners may have stretched them out or the products were washed incorrectly. There’s been plenty of times where I was SURE a pair of pants or a top would fit me perfectly but then I go in the fitting room and it ends up looking horrible. So be sure to take the time to try everything on or you may regret it! Especially since most thrift stores don’t allow returns.
If you find something you love but it won’t work for one reason or another, try to think of different ways to incorporate it in your closet! Keep in mind that not everything is going to be perfect at the thrift store, but if you’re able to alter things in one way or another it might be worth it.
For example, if the waist is too big, is it worth getting it tailored? Can you cuff the pants if they’re too long? If there are some questionable stains, can you bleach tie-dye it? There are so many possibilities to explore. Open your mind, do your research, and don’t discount an item because of a minor flaw!
Let’s Wrap It Up
Whether you’re a seasoned thrifter or you’re just getting started, I suggest you consider all the things mentioned above before going on a haul. It’ll help frame your mindset tremendously and will allow you to have an awesome thrift! Clearly I take this all very seriously.
One thing I do want to mention before I leave you is about where you should actually go thrifting. Where exactly your shop will depend entirely on your location and what you’re looking for. I personally prefer Goodwill (specifically the one on the Upper East Side for my New Yorkers) but I also suggest searching for independently owned thrift stores to support during your thrifting journey.
I hope this post was able to help you become a little bit more confident with thrifting! I plan to do a post in the future featuring my favorite thrift store finds so be sure to subscribe here. Thanks so much, love you, see you next week for more shenanigans.