Fashion is constantly changing. It can be a little hard to keep up with constantly evolving trends, but that’s where thrift stores come in handy! Not only is thrifting a great economic choice –it’s good for the environment. Thrift shopping, however, can be a little difficult to master. You have a lot of stuff to sift through and a lot of things to consider before purchasing items. It’s not as simple as one might think. So to avoid making those newbie thrifting mistakes, read through some helpful tips we’ve put together.
1. Location, location, location.
Some of my favorite Goodwills are in more affluent neighborhoods. They are packed with name-brands like J. Crew, Madewell, and Lucky Brand. If you’re hoping to strike gold, do some research and find thrift stores in more affluent parts of your town or area. Not only will these locations typically house more name-brand products, they’re also likely in really good condition. These stores also tend to have a lot of items that are brand new with tags. I’ve found that these goodwills and consignment stores will also house a lot of high-end designer bags and shoes that are incredibly valuable and considerably cheap.
2. Evaluate your style and closet before you go.
When you look in your closet do you notice a certain type of material or fabric you like to wear? What stitching do you typically prefer? Do you wear a lot of skirts and dresses or do you favor jeans? These are really important questions that need answers. No one knows your style better than you. If there is a certain brand that you love, make sure you’re also noting that.
I, for example, know and love Levis and Gap jeans. Those are the ones I tend to pick when I’m thrifting because I know they are quality products and I truly love the way they fit. They are brands that I know, love and trust.
This is where your list will come in handy. You know exactly what you are looking for because you made sure to evaluate what it is you tend to wear, why you wear it and what you will wear it with. You need to make note of the things you currently have and a list of the things you are in search of or in need of. This is an excellent way to avoid being overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in a store. You can zone in on what you’re looking for specifically.
For example, if you’re getting ready to go shopping for the winter, create a list of what your ideal winter wardrobe consists of. Check off the items you already have. Now you have a clear list of the items you will need to look for.
3. Set a budget.
Just like grocery shopping or shopping at a regular clothing retailer, set a reasonable budget for yourself. When you’re at a great thrift store, it can be easy to try and justify overspending. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between need and want. Setting a budget isn’t just good for your wallet, it also going to help you make clear decisions about items in your cart. This will help you figure out what items you really want as well as need, as opposed to the items that just seem cool.
4. Know the days they’re having sales or deals.
Some Salvation Army stores have “half-off Wednesdays” deals and other stores will have annual discounts like fifty percent off your entire purchase. It’s always a great idea to call or do some online research to find what stores have sales and when those sales are offered. Goodwills, for example, now offers weekly discounts based on the color of clothing tags.
5. Stick to quality brands and fabrics.
Don’t fill up your cart full of items simply because they are affordable. Treat your trip to a thrift store the same way you would treat a trip at a regular retailer. Stick to good quality items. In the long run, fabrics and materials like cotton, linen, and leather will hold up much better over time as opposed to fabrics like polyester, nylon, and pleather.
A good way to guarantee your purchases are great quality is to pay attention to labels and brands. If you’re looking for a handful of great workwear pieces, then look for trustworthy brands like Banana Republic, Gap or Old Navy.