Fashion is such an important part of our culture. Runways and models tell us that if you’re not paying big bucks for the clothes you’re wearing, you can’t be fashionable. They’ve obviously never rummaged through a $5 bin at their local thrift store. These secondhand clothing stores give regular people the opportunity to find something unique and vintage for a fraction of the cost. Why pay $50 for one shirt when you can buy a whole new outfit? If you don’t know what to look for, it can be a bit hit or miss. Here are some tips to score the most on a day out thrift shopping.
1. Look at the brands.
Plenty of people give away clothes that are big brand names. People give away clothes like this all the time. It means nothing to them, but all the difference to an experienced thrift shopper. Items that are usually worth something are jackets and jeans, because they’re bigger items that can’t be stored. If you spend the time at each rack you’re bound to find a high value brand for a much smaller cost.
2. Don’t be put off by stains.
Too many people will cast aside an item if it’s not in tip top condition. Don’t be scared off by a little stain or rip. Most times, stains can be removed with a bit of work, and rips can be stitched back up. If an item of clothing is a bit worn for wear, but overall still in good condition, it’s worth buying and fixing back up. You get the added bonus of saying you did it yourself, earning you extra cool creds in the thrift shopper world.
3. Embrace worn shoes.
A lot of people are put off by the idea of owning an already worn pair of shoes. This is good news for you, because there will be more to choose from. Good shoes last almost a lifetime, but most people chuck them out regardless. This means that thrift stores are full of shoes just waiting to be picked up off the shelves, spruced up and worn again. They’ve got a huge collection of high heels and ballet flats, all at a ridiculously cheap price. You might even find a pair of Converse or two. You can spray them with an entire can of Glen Twenty if you need to, and people will never know the difference.
4. Adjustments can be made.
If you see something you like, but it’s not the right size, you ca always alter it. Don’t be intimidated by an oversized shirt or ankle length dress, with just a few alterations they’ll be a brand new piece of clothing. When thrift shopping you’re bound to find outdated clothes, taking them to a tailor and getting them pinned in at the waist or hemmed to a more appropriate length is hardly any effort at all, especially when the pay off is so great. A tip to remember is that oversized men’s shirts look super cute as a cropped tee.
5. Don’t limit yourself.
Thrift stores are massive. It’s not like shopping at the mall, where each choice has to be carefully pondered. Grab anything that catches your eye; don’t be fussy! The whole fun of thrift shopping is to try on as much as you can. Everything is so cheap that buying five pairs of jeans and a few shirts won’t set you back. If you see something you like, grab it, or it’ll be gone by the time you get back. You’ve got to work fast when thrift shopping.
6. Step out of your comfort zone.
Chances are you’re not going to find exactly what you wanted when you enter a second hand store. Instead, it opens you up to a whole new realm of fashion. This is the perfect opportunity to test fashion choices you wouldn’t normally make. It’s always good to mix it up a bit, and trying on clothes that aren’t the usual you is a good thing. If you see a pair of pants you wouldn’t dream of getting if you were at the mall, try them on anyway. I guarantee you’ll be surprised. Embrace your inner Macklemore and have fun, because at the end of the day, you can say “Shit, it was $0.99!”
Erin is still a student, who is about to complete her BA in English. She is passionate about animals, writing and lists. On a normal day, you would find her curled up somewhere with a good book, preferably Harry Potter. She hopes to one day write a novel herself, and live with at least four cats.