My 18th birthday just passed, and I thank you all for the supportive feedback on my blog this past year.
Today’s post will be about my favorite type of shopping: thrifting. I embrace thrift shopping for the environmental, political, and economic reasons, in addition, it brings a fun, unique adventure. You can truly find pieces that no one else will have at high school, for a low price, that prevents clothes from ending up in a landfill. Items at thrift stores aren’t made off-of egregiously cheap labor like H&M or Forever 21, typically manufactured years before the wave of fast-fashion, and are at a much higher quality than similarly priced clothing at the mall.
I’ve compiled all of my tips, which have helped me find hidden gems, in hopes that your eyes will open to the idea of donating and buying clothes at your local thrift store.
First, here’s a quick OOTD.
Faux Fur Jacket / Thrifted
Striped Tee / Comme Des Garcons
Flare Pants / Thrifted
Boots / Sam Edelman
Ribbon Choker / Thrifted
Now let’s get to my tips!
Go with a friend. Friends can always help steer you away from silly purchases that you’ll never wear as well as push you to get bold pieces you aren’t sure of. They also will advise you in regards to what you should spend on and what you should hold off on, which is difficult when thrifting. I usually tell my friends a couple of items that they should hold me back from. For me, I shouldn’t even look through the coat section. Having someone over your shoulder helps you only buy clothes that you are 100% sure of.
Never wear a dress/jumpsuit/lace-up shoes to go shopping. In case you only find a shirt to try-on, for example, you’ll want to be wearing bottoms to look at it with. If you’re wearing a dress, it’s difficult to truly get a sense of what this shirt looks like on you. Also, nothing is worse than having to lace up sneakers 5 times throughout a shopping day. Make smart choices before you go shopping. I’ve even tried to plan my outfit to wear that one item that I can never find anything to match with it.
Have an idea of pieces you’re looking for. I normally go shopping with three to four piece in mind, such as vintage post earrings, a black long-sleeve lace blouse, a striped skirt, or XL dusty pink T Shirt. It’s less overwhelming to look through each rack based on details such as color, material, collar type, pant length, etc. than to browse the whole store. This way you will save time while shopping so you can hit up more stores!
Look through every size rack. I’ve found so many mediums in the XL section and smalls in the XS section that I ended up purchasing. Thrift stores are well organized, but one or two pieces occasionally get misplaced on long days. You never know what killer pair of pants could be hanging up that you might’ve previously walked past!
Always try on. Even if it seems like the most basic piece, you should try on everything you find. For example, I found an oversized, grey pocket tee that was perfect. I tried it on, and somehow, it completely transformed on my body. Spend time pairing pieces together as well as glossing through the accessories section for unique finds.
Be open to pieces outside of your comfort zone. Risk-taking and thrifting go hand-in-hand. You will find some brands you’ve never heard of, in silhouettes that you aren’t currently seeing on the runway, and you should shop with an open mind.
Have a set price range for that day. Understand what you’re willing to spend on a T Shirt, pair of jeans, etc. based on the necessity and quality of each item. I’d be willing to drop more money on a vintage pair of Levis than a corduroy skirt because of what’s already in my closet. I get very attached whenever clothing works well on my body, even if I have 10 similar white T shirts in my closet. Knowing your personal parameters will alleviate any stressful decisions about clothing, especially keeping in mind to how much you want to spend.
Donate and become a rewards member. You should go through your closet about every 6 months, more frequently if you like refining your style, and donate to thrift stores. Giving back not only declutters your wardrobe, but helps local stores continue to operate. I’ve become a rewards member at some of my favorite shops, where I get discounts, points for donating, and information about upcoming sales. Getting to know workers and developing a connection with your favorite shops makes the experience worthwhile!
Hope you enjoyed these tips and photos from my latest trip to thrift stores with my best friend Ellen. Thank you for reading and please go donate your clothes to pursue such a great environmental, ethical, and sustainable cause.