A five-step guide to thrift shopping
Do you want to know more about the joys of thrifting?
Yes?....Awesome! Thrifting is back baby and sooo 'in' these days!
I mean, it was even featured in a Macklemore song!
Well...actually...it never left ;)
Take it from me, I've been at it since my late teens, up until now....ahem...so that's like 20 yrs or so! Woah! Yup, I've witnessed the trendy 90's style in it's 1st AND 2nd incarnation...if you know what I mean???? But I digress. So that's why I would call myself a seasoned thrifter.
I've spent countless upon countless hours as a youth, combing the aisles for treasure at Value Village, Salvation Army and random second-hand shops, any chance I could.
In college, I used to spend whole evenings digging around, with my besty at the local V V.
We would fill our baskets up to the brim and shopped till we dropped. Literally.
Well, actually until we were famished! We'd then cap off the evening at the local Mexican joint and fill our tummies with a football-sized burrito, that we'd split (of course) and skip back to our apartment (or waddle back, due to large burrito, as mentioned) with our fab and random finds in hand, excited to go through them all piece by piece.
At that time we were on a such a tight budget, that it was a rush to buy bags of stuff for next to nothing.
BUT listen, I know that ain't everyone's bag! I know some peeps don't enjoy thrifting one bit. To some, it can be overwhelming, boring and maybe even a wee yucky. Perhaps some of you are just starting out and not too sure how to approach it?
No worries, I got you covered!
First off, there are many benefits to shopping à -la thrift...here are a few according to moi;
Retail therapy - it's a thing
I highly recommend, taking yourself on a date and see what you can discover at a thrift store. Let your imagination run wild & have fun! I must admit, it kinda puts me in a trance...I would go even further to say it can be a form of meditation for me - especially if the shop has a sweet playlist of tunes = good vibes. With all the varieties of stuff that you can find, your creativity can be set free to find unique items that you won't see in the streets or typical retail chains.
Stretch the dolla bill$
Don't we all like to save that cash???? Yes, You Can, achieve staying within your wardrobe budget, when you shop thrift. Let's be real, clothes can be overpriced, especially fun and unique styles. This is why I literally get giddy when I find that great piece or pieces at an affordable price! I'm one of those people who beam with delight when someone compliments me on an outfit that I acquired for next to nothing. To me, It invokes a sense of accomplishment, resourcefulness and vision. Yaaas!
It contributes to saving the world!
Last but certainly NOT least!
Our participation in the 'Fast Fashion' industry adds up to filling landfills, with millions & millions of tonnes of textile waste each year. This way, we can feel better about consuming goods that are reduced, reused & recycled, or as they say 'pre-loved'.
I mean, c'mon this is forward thinking! What's not to love?
Hopefully, now you're convinced, thrift shopping is the next best thing...
Let's begin, shall we?
Here are my 5 tips to getting the most out of the thrift shopping experience...
Step 1: Do Tha Research
Before adding pieces to my wardrobe, I like to
be aware & abreast of the latest trends of the season. I take a bit of time (like 20 mins or so) to scan the fashion mags (can be done @ the dentist or Dr's office) Instagram grids, blogs, etc. for inspiration. This way, it will be more rewarding & exciting when you find items that are relevant to what's 'in'. Not to say that you need to be overly trendy to be stylish. Au contraire, classic pieces are fundamental. They never go out of style, are super handy and carry you through from season to season. They are rare unicorns, so keep an eye out for them!
Step 2: Have An Open Mind
Although it's great to have a clear plan of attack & shopping list, in this case, you never know what you're going to find or not find. There shouldn't be any expectations. When you begin your search, go into the shop with an open mind & open heart and try to entertain the idea of trying something new or a bit out of the box. You may be drawn to certain pieces by default that are 'safe', but I would suggest to think back to your 'research phase in Step 1 and try to find things to add to your wardrobe that make a bit of a statement.
Don't be such a 'Basic Bijjjj'! Although, practically speaking, when you're deciding on whether to purchase an article, you might want to think of how or what you would pair it with, in your current wardrobe, so that you can make the pieces work for your lifestyle and they won't end up at the back of the closet, collecting dust. Yes, it's true, you can dress bold & practical at the same time.
(Stay tuned for my follow-up post; How to make a thrifty find look bougie)
Another thing; you may notice a strange smell emanating from the shop...(that's part of the yucky factor I mentioned in brief). Disregard that and keep moving. Once you buy your clothes, be sure to launder them before wearing. No sweat ('cause it'll be washed away!)
Step 3: Chill & Go Slo
Riffing off of Step 2, this goes part and parcel with having an open mind. Make sure you
look through each piece rack by rack & take yo time, so you don't miss something cool & interesting. When you spot an item that catches your eye, pick it up & get a feel for it, literally feeeeel the fabric in your hands. Let it be a tactile experience. Also, check to see if there are any imperfections such as; rips, holes or stains. Determine whether it can be an easy/quick repair or if it will be more of an investment of time & money.
Step 4: Try Try Baby
DO NOT trust the sizing label! Every piece has a vastly different cut. Some run small and some large, depending on where and in which era they were manufactured.
(Just like dating)...It's a numbers game, so try on as many pieces as you can and you'll be sure to find some fresh and fly winners.
*Don't forget if you find a really great article that doesn't fit, it can always be altered to fit. It's usually best to go up in size and tailor down. Meaning, taking away material vs adding material is much simpler to do.
Step 5: Mix It & Rock It
Yay, you did it! You purchased some cute, interesting pieces, shlepped them home and cleaned them up. So now what?
When you're ready and feeling energized, go through your closet
(or closets) and pair your pieces together. If you bought separates, chose a few options to combine them with. For example, a blouse or button up shirt can be paired in multiple combinations such as; with slacks, jeans, shorts, skirts, under a suit blazer or even under a dress. Try the different options on and don't be afraid to mix & match, experiment with color combinations, mix prints, textures, etc. Don't limit your choices, use your intuition and go with the flow... When you have a clear idea on how to integrate your new threads into your current wardrobe, you'll save on time and in the future maximize their potential use for many seasons to come.
Alight, I think I've covered the main principles to thrifting...
I hope this helps! Now, go forth & have some fun!
*Btw, if you prefer a more curated collection of second hand selections and you're in the Vancouver, BC area, be sure to check out ARCHIVE ; "Vancouver’s first Consignment Warehouse Sale housing thousands of pre-loved items from apparel, accessories & shoes". Or follow them on Instagram for updates on their upcoming dates @heyarchive
And stay to tuned for my follow-up post; How to make a thrifty find look bougie, aka expensive
Please feel free to comment & share YOUR thrifting experiences.
What unique pieces have you found?
How are you rocking them in YOUR unique way?
With love & bisous