Thrifting is one of my most favorite things to do because I love finding pieces that once belonged to someone else in one way or another. It is like carrying a story and never really knowing what it is, but knowing that it is important and that now I am part of it.
I am very attached to clothing in how it conveys someone’s identity and activities – everywhere from where they are going to their cultural influences.
Every time I step into a thrift store, it is always an experience. However, I understand that thrift stores can often times be overwhelming which leaves you walking out empty handed. Below I have racked up a few tips to make your thrifting experience come alive!
Tip #1: Go with time!
This is the most important tip. A thrift is very different from any other clothing store because there is only one piece of everything.
In your average store you find three to four piece on a single rack with 6 to 10 variety in sizes. However, a thrift store will have a rack filled on 40 pieces that are distinctly different. This just tripled the time you need to search.
Therefore, it is important to go with time so that you can look through each rack carefully. YOU DO NOT WANT TO SKIM AT A THRIFT because you may lose a perfect piece for an unbeatable price.
Tip #2: Go in with an open mind
My worst experiences at thrift stores have been when I go into them with a clothing piece in mind because the truth is, I never find it and am left disappointed. By going in with an open mind I am able to find pieces that I would normally not try at other stores. This is the perfect opportunity to try new things because the clothes are cheap or at least cheaper than they would be elsewhere.
So take advantage to really push yourself and try something on that you always wanted to try. You never know how it might fit. It may be the perfect piece that you never knew you were missing.
Tip #3: Know your style
At thrift shops, there are so many singular options that sometimes it is tiring. By going in knowing your style, you know what you are willing to try and what you are not willing to try.
This may seem like I am contradicting tip #2, but I am not.
The pieces you will not try are the pieces you have tried on before and didn’t like or bought just in case and never wore. Stay away from these pieces, there is no point in trying again when you already know they don’t work for you.
When I say, “try on what you are not willing to try” these are the pieces that you have always wanted to try and never went for it, particular styles from decades earlier, or a particular style you have never encountered before.
When you go into a thrift store knowing your style you are able to instantly rule out items that you do not want. Trust me, this will cut down the time to at least an hour and a half! You can differentiate between what looks better on you and what piece is most interesting to you within the pile you do want.
Tip #4: If you see something you like, TAKE IT
Even if it’s a maybe, take the item and hold it in your hand until you affirm that it is a no item. Pieces are rarely in double in thrift stores and the items are usually just one size, so it is best to take the piece before someone else. That way you guarantee that you have it just in case.
If later on you decide that you do not want it because you do not like the way it fits or you find something better, simply put it back. But at least now you know you did not miss the opportunity, it is just a choice you no longer want.
Tip #5: Go and shop early in the morning or in between 2 – 4pm
This ensures a smaller crowd at the store. With this smaller crowd, you are able to look clearer and calmly.
Like mentioned before, you need time to shop. I know I feel rushed when there are too many people shopping, especially at a thrift stores because I will convince myself to look for the most special piece before someone else finds it. And we already discussed the consequences of shopping at thrifts with a particular piece in mind.
With fewer people at the thrift store as possible you are able to see clearer and be able to pick out pieces that you may have missed with a larger crowd.
I recently went to Plato’s Closet in Albany, NY and they have a great selection for really great prices. I got a pair of pants, two shirts, a bracelet, and a dress for $42!
I encourage you to go to a thrift store, especially with this beautiful fall weather. I tend to find my favorite sweaters in thrift stores. Bring a friend and enjoy a good fall Saturday afternoon!