Guide To Thrift Shopping
If you know me... you know that 75 percent of my closet is second hand. I hate to play the hipster wannabe “Ive been thrifting since before it was cool” card, BUT……. I HAVE been thrifting since before it was cool. I am not saying that thrifting made me cool…I am just saying I’ve been doing this for a minute. I put together this guide to encourage people to thrift and to give some pointers on how to succeed with second hand.
Fast Fashion is destroying our planet. (Amongst many other things.) I could write an entire blogpost on fast fashion but that is for another day. You can educate yourself more on the problems of fast fashion through these documentaries. (Highly recommended).
The True Cost
Slowing Down Fast Fashion
Thrifting is a great place to start to bring some mindfulness into your clothing purchases. It is also a great way to save money, support local businesses, and have a unique and expressive wardrobe.
The difference between Vintage and Thrift.
It is important to understand the difference between these two things. Vintage shops are guaranteed to have cool pieces, but you are definitely going to be paining 3 or 4 times more for an article of clothing. I think it is worth investing in cool unique pieces (While supporting cool vintage shops). You are paying for the store owners expert eye, time, and probably the cleaning and repairing of that item. Shopping Vintage is still a win, but know its going to be a little more buck for your bang. Thrifting requires much more patience and determination. It can be hit or miss… but when you find something dope for a few dollars. It’s worth it.
Creating a sustainable wardrobe.
In anything wellness or mindfulness related, it is easy to create shame or judgement around others and our own choices. As much as I would love to have a closet that is 100 percent sustainable… it just isn’t feasible for me at this point in my life. My wardrobe is a combination of vintage, thrift, more expensive high quality pieces from sustainable companies, and a sprinkling from the occasional Target or Nordstrom Rack binge. I do my best to live sustainably, but there are many areas I am far from perfect. We often pride ourselves on being vegan, wearing organic linens, or having all the best supplements… often creating superiority complexes around these choices. My goal is simply to encourage people to make small changes. If you purchase one new outfit at a thrift store this year… cool. If you watch one documentary…awesome. If you shop at the mall 50 percent less… amazing. If you just start to think about where your clothes are coming from…. You Rock.
Ok friends… thanks for reading this far. Here are my best tips and tricks to thriving via thrift.
1. Do some research.
Look up “thrift store” and or “vintage stores” in your area and map out a route that covers several of them. Try to find ones that are close together so you can conserve your commuting energy.
2. Bring a friend.
Thrifting is 100 percent more friend with a buddy. Sometimes it is hard to make a decision, so a second opinion will help the process. (Just make sure your friend doesn’t have the same style as you or you might be fighting over the same items and no-one wants a thrift store brawl.)
3. Be patient.
Thrifting requires a lot of patience and perseverance. Take your time… try things on…get creative… and know that it may take a bit more time than you think to find something. Also being ok with walking away empty handed. Ya win some ya loose some.
4. Shop off season.
This can be difficult because we normally want to sport our new threads ASAP. Shopping off season usually guaranties way more options. Making sure it is something you will still be excited about come summer or winter will also encourage you to purchase classic pieces that aren’t going to go out of style in a month, or committing to a unique piece you can't wait to rock in a few months. Your future self will thank you when the season changes and you have a cute new sun dress or cardigan to rock.
5. Avoid trends.
This is HARDDDDD. Trends can be soooo seductive when we are purchasing new clothes. It hard to fight the urge to purchase the flashy cute new thing bombarding you through your instagram adds. Bold trends come and go so quickly…it is easy to feel out of style after they pass through. Look for pieces that are classic and timeless, or unique enough to stay cool for decades to come. Vintage looks from the 60’s -90’s are always a safe bet. If you can’t be ahead of the fashion curve… be behind it….like DECADES behind it.
6. Shop unisex.
I have found SO many cool pieces from the mens section. I have also found cool pieces from the children’s section. Don’t be afraid to dive into the unknown regions beyond where you normally shop. Treasure can be hidden anywhere!
7. Fuel yourself.
This may sound silly but make sure you feed yourself ahead of time and bring along water or snacks. Sometimes a day of thrift shopping can take hours or half a day. Think of it as more of an endurance sport. No-one wants to be a hangry shopper.
8. Don’t buy things just because they are cheap.
When I first started thrifting I would end up with a closet full of unworn clothes because I would buy things just because they were cheap. If you wouldn’t buy it full price… don’t buy it at a discount. Sometimes we use the “oh it’s only 10 dollars I guess I will just buy it” permission slip. Before you know it you will end up with ten items at ten dollars each that you never wear, when you could have had one really nice item for $100 that you absolutely love.
9. Find a good Taylor
Having a good seamstress is a game changer. Not only will you look like a million bucks sporting clothes that fit your body to perfection… but you will also be able to shop any size. Knowing you can get things altered to fit you, opens up the possibilities so much more. Also, taking the length off of a dress, fixing a broken strap, or altering a neckline, can save pieces that most would have given up on.
10. Ask yourself these questions.
Do I love this?
Will I wear this regularly?
Does this fit me properly/ is it worth it to get this altered?
Will this still be in style in a year?
If you have answered no to any of these questions, then you might want to rethink your purchase.
Lastly, HAVE FUN!
Thrifting is FUN. You never know what treasure you might stumble upon. Set an intention to find one amazing thing and enjoy the hunt. It is such a great feeling to find something special and to give it a second life. It adds so much value to a piece to have a story behind it as well.
Here is a list of all my go to thrift and vintage shops in Phoenix. If you don’t live in AZ then a quick google search should give you a good place to start.
More Expensive thrift:
Name Brand Exchange
My Sister’s Closet
Poor Little Rich Girl
Vintage/ Antique :
Twigs and Twine
The Bees Knees
Ramp Rodeo Vintage
Sonoran Ranch Vintage
These are just a few but a good place to start. Don’t forget farmers markets, flea markets, stores that sell via instagram, local frock swaps, and even shopping via Facebook marketplace.