I personally find that being a good thrift shopper is an art. Usually with the volume of items in vintage or thrift stores, it’s easy to be distracted, feel overwhelmed and simply leave with nothing! While leaving with nothing happens to me often – I’ve created a few tips that help me find some great pieces. In the past, I’ve found amazing hats, purses, and even a pair of vintage Chanel shoes for $25! I know what you’re thinking…yes, they were totally authentic! Most recently, I even found a vintage Loewe bag that I was able to snag for $30. What a find! Without further ado, here are my top 5 tips for thrift shopping that consistently help me find success while thrifting.
1. Don’t go when you’re hungry or impatient- This seems pretty obvious, but thrifting or vintage shopping while hungry or short on time is a recipe for disaster. The process takes time and patience to flip through racks, and you need to take a look at items with a close eye. I know that when I’m hungry or in a rush, I get in a mood that doesn’t allow for the detail necessary to find something good. I recommend going when you’re in the mood to stroll, have an open mind and are up for a fashion adventure!
2. Go on a mission- The flip side to casually browsing is going thrifting on a mission! For instance, over the summer I stopped by vintage stores with the sole intent of finding the perfect vintage denim jacket. Often times, having a particular item in mind can help cut down on distractions and feeling overwhelmed by the wide variety of pieces. This way, you can try on what you’re looking for and keep your eye focused on the prize!
3. Look for staples- If you don’t have anything in particular in mind, but are looking for a good find (whatever that might be) a great tactic is to look for wardrobe staples. I always start thrifting by looking through jackets, because I find they are the first pieces that go when people clean out their wardrobes. Then, I move to shoes and bags, and then sweaters. While I’ve found jackets are the easiest place to start in terms of staples, I also like to look for pieces like little black dresses, and classic pieces that will fit seamlessly to my wardrobe! Doesn’t fit perfectly? No sweat – often times a little tailoring can make an older piece feel brand new and like it was made especially for you!
4. Keep an eye out on luxe fabrics/materials- One of the reasons I love going through sweaters is that it’s really easy to spot cashmere amongst the racks of cotton or wool. I think taking a close eye to items with luxe fabrics is a great way to find more expensive pieces at a discount. I love finding cashmere in good condition, silk jackets, and fine leather goods. Most recently I found my vintage Loewe bag (pictured) buried at the bottom of a suitcase, by simply seeing a flash of good leather amongst synthetic materials!
5. Lastly, think of what it’s worth to you- Thrifting can seem like a great opportunity to grab pieces on a discount. But things can add up! Make sure that you really take a look at the fabric of your piece, and pay close attention to the condition. Sometimes a little wear and tear is worth it because you know it’s not brand-new and you’re getting it at a deal. Other times, it just might not be worth it! I’ve seen pre-owned bags at sky high prices that I could get brand new if I put in a tiny bit more money. In my mind, that’s not worth it! So if you see something vintage or second-hand that’s on the pricier side, make you do your research and consider what the item is really worth to you!