Thrifting is a mix of things, dedication and luck. My friends often get frustrated when my only answer to “Where did you get that?!” is, “A thrift store!” and I totally get it. When I hear that response from someone that I ask, I know it’s nearly impossible to get myself because this person bought the only one in existence. But that’s the beauty of thrifting- a sense of individuality. A lot of my thrifting could be attributed to luck and the abundance of options in my size, but I have also been thrifting regularly since 5th grade. Which leads us to some helpful strategies we’ve adopted to make us better thrifters:
1.You can’t expect to walk into a thrift store and find exactly what you’re looking for, like a perfect pair of vintage jeans. But don’t be discouraged either, that of course could happen but when it doesn’t, don’t give up! We often keep a running list of styles or ideal pieces we are looking for in the back of our minds (or written down if you’re organized like that). That way, every time you go to a thrift store, you might not find the ONE thing, but you could find something on your list, and you won’t forget what to look for next time.
2. The secret is fabric. Things often jump out to me based on the quality, color and pattern of the fabric. I find this strategy is most effective when looking through tops, but it applies to all sections of the store as well. When I walk into a thrift store, I head straight to the tops. Tops, I find, are the easiest to go through because sizes are the most liberal and I go through every single one at lightning speed. My arm is literally sore by the end, that’s how fast I go. Same thing goes for denim and other bottoms.
2a. If you can try things on, pull anything and everything you think might work. Sometimes magic happens when a piece comes off the rack and onto your body. And if it’s the opposite, at least now you know.
3. If you end up trying something on that you absolutely love but doesn’t fit right, consider tailoring! I have had several pieces adjusted by our favorite local tailor and it was totally worth it. The main thing to consider before frequently opting for tailoring is budget. It’s not always inexpensive to tailor something so consider how much the item costs plus how much the tailoring will be to decide if the item would be worth that price if it fit perfectly.
4. Bring your metaphorical magnifying glass to check for stains! This may seem obvious but some stains are not always visible when you’re looking on the rack. Pull everything out and change up the lighting to make sure there aren’t any permanent damages to the item like stains but also holes.
5. Another important tip is to check tags for the care instructions. If you’re low maintenance and don’t like to dry clean anything, that could help you decide if the piece is right for you. If there’s one thing we’re serious about it’s following the care instructions. It definitely adds to the lifetime of a piece, especially something that is pre-owned!
If you post if any of your thrifted finds, tag #frugalwench to show us what you’ve found!