Tips For Successful Thrifting

It has been a while since the last time I wrote on a fashion related topic. But, again, it is the area that resonates with my interests, although I am no longer working in the industry. What became a trigger to contemplate and then share tips for successful thrifting is a new wool camel blazer I recently purchased at a second-hand store. 
Overall, I have been a devoted thrifter since my college years, when all salary of a barista went to pay for the apartment and tuition. I, like most other young people involved in fashion education, or interested in it, craved extravagant, unique, expressive outfits, for an affordable price. Well, to be honest, boutiques were the ground of inspiration, while second-hand, thrift stores and vintage markets were where I spent my time and any available finances after paying off rent. 


Why do I say that? It could be to convince you that I have the right to teach you how to thrift shop. It also could be because I feel nostalgic about times I was saving for a Burberry scarf, and squalled from joy after finding another cashmere sweater at Value Village. Either way, I believe I gained quite an experience of filling up my shopping cart with treasures, often designer pieces. Thus, I am about to share that knowledge with you. Thrift shopping has its perks besides a lower price, and one of them is notorious eco-friendly, sustainable, re-wearing, re-styling, and re-using way of living. More, you can, if you are lucky, and know what you are doing, find truly unique, high-end pieces. 

I no longer shop as much as I used to, which applies to thrift shopping as well. After all, I work from home and the decision to limit my wardrobe was based on my current lifestyle. However, shopping, especially vintage, still gives me a thrill of a, (goodness, I will be so cheesy now, yet it is true) hunter. There are a few steps you want to consider whether you are shopping at an antique flea market or a local GoodWill.

 

First, know current trends. 
Yes, yes, I know. Thrift shopping and current trends might sound contradicting. Hear me out on this. If you head to a ladies' blazers section at Value Village most pieces would appear short, tight and outdated. It would be a rare find to spot an oversized, or a well-structured wool blazer, that looks modern, (Insta worthy), and complimentary to your body. In that case, if current trends and silhouettes are stuck in your mind, and your vision is set on what-is-in-fashion-nowadays, you would do the following: head to the men’s section! That is it. The main tip for successful thrift shopping is right there in front of you. Frankly, I find men’s shirts, hoodies and sweaters much higher quality, even if they come from mass-market brands, longer-lasting and up to date. 
To make a quick remark, you do not have to be dressed head to toe in oversized. Most people do not even look good in such attire. Yet, modern fashion is all about balancing: masculine with feminine (a man’s sweater-mini skirt, straight jeans-oversized blazer, etc.), short and long, leather and silk, the list goes on. To add to this point, have a list, an inspirational board, collection of Hailey Bieber/Leia Sfez outfits (guilty!) to guide you in an overwhelming world of donated goods. 

 

Second, look out for quality and double check the condition.
To be honest, the majority of garments are unwearable. People buy a t-shirt at H&M, wear it two times, wash it, it loses the previous shape, they donate it. The cycle is vicious. However, if you take your time, and start swiping hangers on the rail, while touching, looking and reading labels you might be surprised. Keep eyes open for pieces made out of natural fibres like cotton, cashmere, wool, and silk. They last longer than their synthetic analogs, and much more pleasurable to wear. Look out for pilling, unwashable spots, pulling threads and broken zippers. If possible, give each garment a try, and imagine how it fits into your style and wardrobe. Finally, read labels. Some of my favourite pieces from Prada, Club Monaco and Cole Haan were found at thrift stores. 

 

Third, have fun. 
Seriously, I do not plan thrift shopping on busy days. It must be a fun activity in which if you found an ideal wool camel blazer, you celebrate it. If you left with empty hands, you would not be disappointed. Most of the time if you go to such places to shop, your mind and eyes must be open to treating it as an exploration first, and a possible purchase, second. I’d say successful thrift shopping combines luck, knowledge and patience. 

 

With hugs, 
Marie K.