I’ll be the first one to admit that the first few times you go thrift shopping it is incredibly overwhelming. The first two times I went I ended up with nothing because I simply didn’t know where to start. I shyly scurried around not really wanted to touch anything and eventually just left stressed. The third time I went, I went right before the gym so I knew I’d get all grimy anyway. I ended up finding a few dresses here and a few tops there. I even found a few cute belts to play around with. That’s the thing, learning how to thrift shop is a skill that you learn after repetitively doing it. However, there is one tip to tackle thrift shopping the right way.
Why Should You Thrift Shop When Online Shopping is SO Easy?
Before I explain my wonderful, exciting tip on how to thrift shop, let me explain why thrift shopping is so important. The scary truth is that less than 20% of the clothes donated to a thrift store actually get sold. After about 30 days, the clothes get transported to landfills or to get sold abroad. The problem is most of the clothes we wear now are made out of plastics instead of compostable materials. For example, the shirt I thrifted in this post is made out of 100% polyester. If it wasn’t “rescued” from the thrift store it would take more than 200 years to decompose.
But why should you thrift shop instead of shop? Shopping at second-hand stores give you an opportunity to try new styles instead of relying on what is currently in stores. You’ll find old, oversized blazers in crazy patterns, maxi dresses with a 20’s flair, and belts that take you back in time. With a good pair of scissors, a thin needle, and a creative mind you can create anything. For example, you can cut out the shoulder pads on an oversized blazer or switch up the buttons on a mini skirt. Whatever it is, you can make an old item completely new with just adjustments.
Thrift shopping is also the cheapest alternative to making a more sustainable closet. Although the most sustainable option is to not shop at all (trust me I’ve tried and failed miserably), this is a great way to still get an updated wardrobe without swearing off new clothes. Plus, if you grow tired of the clothes you can still sell your clothes on eBay and make money. That way the clothes still get a new home and you get money to buy more new clothes. (Check out my tips on selling on eBay here). If you still want to shop online eBay, ThreadUP, and Poshmark are all great sites for buying second hand.
So whats my big tip?
Look everywhere. Grab a cart, scurry around, take your time, and find those hidden gems. Most of the time you’ll find items you’re looking for in different sections. For example, I found this dress in a skirt section. The top I’m wearing in these pictures is actually two sizes too big and was in the XL section. When it comes to thrift shopping, you’ll find some gems in the oddest places. You just need to take the time to look in other places, including the men’s section. You’d be surprised by how many great graphic tees and boyfriend styled jeans are hiding in the men’s section. Also, go thrift shopping when you have time to actually look around. If you are in a rush it can be nearly impossible to find good pieces.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend going to the thrift store in junky gym clothes and your hair tied up. When you find an item check every corner of it twice to make sure there aren’t any stains, holes, or missing buttons. Some of these imperfections can be fixed with a simple patch or replacement button. Make sure you have hand sanitizer in the car just because you don’t know where the clothes have been. Lastly, immediately wash the clothes when you get home. If you have a sanitary button on your wash machine make sure you choose that when you wash the clothes.
Have you ever been thrift shopping? What are your favorite tips for finding the perfect gem? Let me know in the comments down below.
P.S. Friday is national thrift shopping day! Message me on Instagram if you go thrift shopping and find anything good!