When I first stumbled upon fashion bloggers a little over a year ago, my favorite bloggers would always say their favorite pieces were found at a vintage or thrift store. I was in total disbelief and could not imagine all of the fabulous one of a kind pieces were from a vintage or thrift store! So after this revelation I soon began thrifting and now I can't imagine my life without it. I've found so many amazing pieces I never want to part with. Of course I had to get over my apprehension of buying second hand items and seeing all walks of life at the thrift store but trust me you will get over that very quickly once you see the amazing finds you will come away with. All the negative thoughts will be diminished because you'll be consumed with an exuberant amount of extraordinary pieces. So here are my top 5 guides to thrifting.
1. Have a Purpose or an Idea of What You Want
For the beginner, the confused, the apprehensive, I suggest you take a moment and think of an idea of what you would like to shop for. Take a printout from a magazine of an amazing look (dress, coat, pant). This will be your inspiration. You may not find the exact replica, but I'm sure you'll find something close to it and at a bargain price.
It is always best to dress in the most comfortable clothes you own that fit slim to your body. Most thrift stores have at the most 1 changing room so having a tee and leggings on is easy when you need to try an item on right there on the spot. For your personal items (keys, phone, ID) I suggest carrying the smallest handbag or better yet a pocket that can stash away all these items. You'll need both hands to be free to look through the racks and racks of clothes, shoes, and handbags. The last thing you want to have is one hand holding your personal belongings, the second hand holding your amazing finds, and needing an extra hand to continue the search of the racks.
Thrift shopping is something that takes up a lot of time. It should not be rushed and the more time you give yourself the more you will find. Your time needs to be allocated to the search, the try on, and the waiting in line to cash out. There have been numerous times I've shopped on my lunch hour and always regretted it because I was rushing and didn't have enough time to truly give a good search. Note most thrift stores have a designated day where all items are 50% off. Just give yourself enough time and patience because the volume of people increase (understandably) and more hands are there to pick at items you may like.
Some may agree or disagree with me on this, but I prefer to shop alone. Thrift stores have guaranteed one of a kind items. No two items are alike, so when I find a piece of item that I must have I do not want to hear my friends say "OMG I want that too!". I know sometimes you need a friend around to give you a second opinion, but the mirror can be your friend and if you are second guessing you can always ask the perfect stranger next to you.
4. Explore Explore Explore
The thrift store is such a vast area of opportunity. It is filled with endless ideas and looks for yourself. Dare to explore. If your favorite piece of clothing is a dark pant, step out of your comfort zone and try a bold colored pant or a mixed print pant. If you're not an accessories person, start small with slim belt or a broach to wear as a pendant on a necklace. Try the men's section for different looks as well. I cant begin to tell you how many amazing blazers, tees, button down shirts, and boyfriend jeans I have found in the men's section.
5. Try On Everything and Only Buy What You Love
Sizing typically varies for each brand so its best to try everything on. What may be a size 8 could fit like a size 2 or a size 12. Hanger appeal may not always transcend well on a person so take the time to try every item on. You will save yourself all the hassle in the long run. Thrift stores do not offer refunds or returns so be smart and get a feel of the fit.
Buy what you love. I'll say it again! Buy what you love! Sometimes you'll find pieces that you love and can't bare to leave and other times you'll buy something you just like or the price was just right so why not. From personal experience, these items can accumulate in your closet. So my suggestion is save your money and closet space, buy only what you really can't live without. Even if its a dress that has a fabulous print but it cant fit you because its too small or too big, expand your mind and think outside of the box and wear it as a scarf or cut it to make a shirt, opportunities for ideas can be endless.
-There you have it, my best guides for thrifting. I hope it helps you in your venture. Be sure to just enjoy the moment and take it for what its worth!
I'd love to hear about your experiences and more tips to include if you have any.