Thursday, May 9, 2013

How I Thrift Shop - Part One

While I'm on my birthday vacation,  I wanted to share a couple posts on how I thrift.

I'm putting a disclaimer on this post. I don't know how you're supposed to shop at the thrift store. I've read many a post that I'm sure will be much more informative than mine about feeling for quality material, checking tags, etc. I love reading those posts and like to implement some of their suggestions in my own shopping. However, I don't sell clothes online (yet) or need everything I buy to be vintage. To be honest, I buy what I like. I have a technique that I feel would be good for someone just getting into thrift shopping or someone who wants to do it just for fun like I do. I love a good bargain and finding unique things so thrift shopping is perfect for me. It's not for everyone and not everyone shops the same way. That's why I wanted to call this post how I thrift shop, not how to thrift shop.

All that being said, I hope this post helps you and is somewhat informative :)

First things first. Shopping at the thrift store can be really intimidating. Some stores aren't organized at all and good things are everywhere. If you are new to thrifting, I suggest going to a store with some semblance of order. I like Saver's because they are sorted by size so it takes me a lot less time to find what I want. Goodwill I've found is only sorted by color which can get frustrating if you keep finding cute things that aren't in your size. Most stores are at least sorted by clothing type which is will help you to narrow your search (which I will talk about in a sec).  

1. I go to the store with a plan:  this may seem like a no brainer but bear with me. Thrift stores do not have fancy merchandising people that edit the collect down to the most desirable items and place them in aesthetically pleasing ways for you to browse at your leisure. This is a "throw all the skirts on a rack and call it a day" type store. I run out of steam after a couple of racks so I make sure to an idea in mind of what I'm looking for. If you don't want to think that hard, proceed to step 2.

2. I know where I usually find the best things and go to those racks first. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts and those tend to elicit the best finds when I'm thrifting so I make a beeline to those racks. I also like Saver's because they have a vintage rack. Most stores will have vintage items mixed in with everything else which makes my shopping harder. On my favorite racks, I will look through every item so I don't miss anything. I tend not to do this with the rest of the store...

3. I have developed a patent pending scanning technique. First, I go to my size and start from there. I also like to look the size above and the size below.  Then, I look for color and pattern.  I'm sure most of you have patterns and colors that you know look good on you or you are drawn to. I love blue and green, stripes, polka dots and plaid. I like to say that I've never met a plaid (or striped) shirt I didn't like.  Also, if I go in with a plan (i.e. I'm looking for a white button up shirt), I can scan the racks pretty easily by keeping these things in mind. It's sort of like speed reading but for clothes. Even by looking at just this picture, I know I would only look at that royal blue shirt and the black and white striped one. 

4. I only further examine the items that I have pre-selected in the scan.  Like I said earlier, I run out of steam fast. I get really excited to thrift shop, get to the store, look through my favorite racks and then start to get tired. This is why a plan works for me. If I want records or books, I make sure to use all of my "examine each item" juice on those areas first. If I go in with no plan, I usually start with this scanning method first.

5. I always check the size above and the size below my own size. You never know what will be stuck where. Plus, a vintage 10 is a lot smaller than a modern day 10 so be sure to look a couple sizes up to find something that will fit. I like to hold stuff up to myself (not the best technique mind you) to make sure it isn't crazy small or WAY too big. Plus, stuff can be mislabeled. See below! The takes me to my next point...

6. If I like the item, I always try it on. I'll get into this more in the next post but my philosophy always is, "It doesn't hurt to try it on"  I fall in love with things this way. Like I said before, you never know how something will fit based on the tag. If you are thrifting for the first time, look a lots of different sizes and try them all on. I know some brands I fit into an 8 and other brands a 12 is too small.  More importantly, I weed out stuff that doesn't fit or look flattering from a cart like this.

I'll be back next time with what I look for while in the dressing room and more specifics on how I pick items to buy. I hope you enjoyed this first post!

1 comment:

  1. All very good tips! I would say that this is more or less how I thrift too - which you know since we went together once! I hope your trip is going well!