Thrift shopping is such a different experience than regular retail shopping, it can be intimidating at first. But many of the things that make up that difference are what make it so worth it.
Your chances of finding something really special and one-of-a-kind are very high, which is a perk you’d have to shell out big bucks for in a department store or online. Plus, we can guarantee you that one of your thrifty finds will end up being the item you get complimented on most by friends and coworkers.
So if you’re ready to dive in and give thrift shopping a try, we have put together some tips based on our experiences. We’ve done some of the trial and error for you, so you can concentrate on finding some seriously fashionable upcycled styles to add to your closet.
1. The ideal thrifting outfit
Comfort is key, but so is flexibility. We recommend jeans or leggings for bottoms because they’ll help you gauge the wearability of tops you try on. A tank or camisole allows you to try on tops outside of the fitting room, if needed. Flats or other slip-on shoes are convenient for trying on shoes and staying comfortable. A cross-body purse keeps your arms free for browsing the racks.
2. Give yourself plenty of time
This isn’t like running a quick errand to the grocery store, it’s and adventure! So make sure you have blocked enough time to enjoy the experience and visit all the racks and stores you hoped to. A minimum of half an hour is a good place to start for an average sized store, but budget more time for big thrift stores. You don’t want to miss something because you’re in a rush!
3. Patience and persistence
Thrifting is like hunting – you might feel like you’re burning a lot of time, but sticking with it can mean a big score. Sometimes when we’re looking for a specific item or trend, we will visit up to 10 thrift/vintage stores in one day! (Ok, so that’s our record, but it definitely paid off!) If you feel yourself fading, stop for a snack or coffee.
4. Search outside your size rack
Thrift stores are rarely as organized as they appear to be. Sizes are sometimes a matter of opinion of the clerks and constant browsing customers tend to mix things up. And clothing from different eras and different countries follow very different sizing standards, so don’t always disqualify something because of the tag size. It might be a European, British or Japanese size. If you’re striking out in your size section, venture on to the next bigger or smaller rack!
5. Don’t be afraid to play dress up
One thing we guarantee is you will find some ridiculous clothing. The kind that makes you exclaim “Who would ever wear this?!” But that’s part of the fun. And sometimes you’ll find a big fluffy pink 80’s vintage prom dress in your size that is just begging to tried on. Go for it! (We’re guessing you still won’t be the weirdest person there.) Just be careful, you might fall in love with something unexpected and have to take it home!