It's the second installment of my series with Denver Style Magazine, Secondhand Saavy, and today I am sharing my absolute MUST-DO's when thrifting.
TIP #1--PICK YOUR STARTING POINT
Because a lot of people get overwhelmed when they step into a thrift store, I find that having a game plan will help tremendously. For me, I always start with the dresses, which are usually on the outer racks of the clothing, and work my way in. I keep my eye out for patterns, colors or fabrics that catch my eye and only pull out the ones that truly get my attention for inspection.
TIP #2--SPEAKING OF INSPECTION . . . INSPECT EVERYTHING!
Most thrift stores have an "all sales final" policy. So make sure that what you're buying is clear of stains, holes or other unfixable circumstances. On that same note, if you find something that you LOVE but it just needs hemmed or patched, make sure that you are committed to doing so right away. Otherwise, you will end up with this piece that is just taking up space in your closet/life. Don't get carried away with the cheap prices. It's great to find a deal. It's fantastic when you walk away with a bunch of pieces you love for a good price. But, trust me on this one, you can end up in hoarder status if you are not careful. Take only what you love, what fits, and what doesn't need alterations (or ones that do but you are willing and able to make them right away) and leave the rest.
TIP #3--TRY ON EVERYTHING!
Because one of the great things about thrift stores is that they hold equal parts current pieces and vintage pieces AND because they carry all kinds of designers from all over the world and through the decades, your typical size does NOT matter at the thrift store. Typically, my comfortable sizes are 4/6 or small. But I have walked away with clothing from a 0 to a 14 that fit perfectly. Remember that vintage pieces are going to run smaller than current ones. Bottom line--you never know unless you try . . . it on.
TIP #4--KNOW YOUR SALES
Every Saturday at ARC is half off. Every other Saturday at Goodwill is half off. There are lots of "tag colors" that are discounted on certain days. Further, there are some items that go on sale at certain times--ARC just had a 99 cent sweater day and Goodwill often has 99 cent jean sales. Some locally owned thrift stores have "bag days" where you can fill a bag for a small amount of money (like $10). Know when your sales days are. Another great idea is to ask your thrift store on what days they put out new merch. Early bird gets the super discounted vintage leather Penny Lane coat!
TIP #5--LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Some of the most fruitful thrift stores that I visited were strategically located. For example, the Goodwill in Boulder by the college is full of name brand clothes that college girls drop off when they can't take everything back home with them or fit them all in their dorm. Us Coloradoans know Cherry Creek = $. So all the thrift stores in that area are usually pretty good. And if you can't find any thrift stores in your area that works for you (or to avoid the ever present "thrift store smell") there are a lot of ways that you can now thrift online--like with ThredUp and NiftyThrifty.
Chambray Button Down-Lee
Red Pencil Skirt-Pendleton, vintage
Leopard Print Bag-thrifted