When I was in high school, my parents had a modest situation. I couldn’t afford the latest fashion, and thrift stores were the main places I got clothes from. I never found the experience demeaning though; for me, it was always an exciting adventure. Rather than looking exactly like 80% of the girls at my school, I quickly developed my personal style. The most rewarding part though? Finding vintage designer items for ridiculous prices. It didn’t take me long to become familiar with big fashion houses, and it was always exciting to spot a label in a big pile of randomness. It’s the main reason I enjoy going thrifting even now when I can afford the latest trends.
* Thrifted blazer, Primark skirt, vest and tights
I believe that one of the reasons thrifting gets a dodgy reputation is because people don’t know what to expect. When you think of charity or consignment stores, you instantly think of junk. And yes, there are piles and piles of old things that nobody wants anymore. The shops are full of basics and old-fashioned clothes from H&M or Zara. But like a true pirate, you must dig deeper. Let’s be honest, you’re not going to get Chanel blazers every time you go thrifting. But if you know where and how to look, you’ll definitely find a treasure or two.
Thrifting is an art. And sometimes a lot of rubbish. I normally like to allocate somewhere between 30 to 45 minutes per store, depending on the size. I like to look at every piece, study it. Like I said, once you’re more experienced, it will be easier to spot things you like. But I also like to be creative, and sometimes pick unexpected items.
From experience, I can tell you that sales assistants are not that well paid if you take into consideration the amount of crap they need to take from rude customers. We appreciate when someone is nice to us, and we do our best to make them happy in return. So if you already have a couple of thrift stores you like to go to, be nice to the staff. In return, I can guarantee they’ll let you know about any new arrivals or promotions, or they might even save stuff for you.
DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY
You might want to buy half the store once you see the small price. But no matter how cheap something is, it’s a bad purchase if you’re not going to use it. Never go for something that is not in your size, or is already damaged. At the end of the day, a thrift store is still a store. You went there with a purpose, and you should only get the items you wanted to buy.
I always like to inspect my goods carefully. I turn them inside out, make sure there aren’t any holes or stains. I am particularly harsh with modern items. Vintage, however, it’s a different situation. If something is old, there will/might be some damage. And I am OK with that, cause most problems can be fixed. And sometimes you might stumble upon a little piece of history, whose sentimental value outshines the state it’s in.
Treat charity shops like any other shops. You buy summer stuff during Winter and the other way around. Not only are the clothes cheaper, but it will also save you the trouble of constantly following the trends. Go for classic pieces, that will look good year after year.
This is not technically a tip, but I believe in karma. If you do good, it will come back to you, one way or another. You have to remember that when you say that you’re throwing something away, you’re not really doing that. You’re just making rubbish, and the Planet is oversaturated with our junk. So give your old stuff to family, friends or charity shops. You might not use something anymore, but someone else will give it a different purpose.
Have you ever shopped at a thrift store before? What are some of your tips?