Friday, July 5, 2013

A Beginner's Guide to Thrifting: Top 5 Tips + FAQ

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather as we make our way into summer. I am a thrifting fiend. I love thrifting--I find it so relaxing and rewarding. And although I haven't been posting a ton of outfit posts lately, I do wear quite a lot of thrifted clothing. But I have always recieved questions about thrifting whether it's on the internet or even from my friends. Thrifting is a frustrating and intimidating and wonderful and surprising hobby. Some of you may be intrigued by the whole experience and may want to start thrifting--or as my dad likes to call it, "vintage shopping"--but where do you start? And what do you look for? Well, I'm here to answer some of those questions and talk about my personal experience with thrift shops. 

Tip #1: Go in with an open mind
When you go into a thrift store you need to know that these are the clothes that people wanted to give away. They will NOT be last season's Chanel haute couture straight from the runway. They will be clothes that people no longer wear or can no longer fit into. Yes, 99% of the stuff in the store will be hideous but if you go in expecting to find a Alexander McQueen skull scarf you will be disappointed. Go in with items that you're looking for but know that you might not find them--you might find something better that you hadn't even thought of. Also, don't bring along a friend who doesn't have an open mind. I've gone thrifting with someone who thought the process was a little "ew" and they tend to hover and it's hard to enjoy the process with someone like that. I'm not saying "don't bring thrifting newbies!"--just know what you might be getting yourself into

Tip #2: Be patient
You aren't guaranteed to find something you love every time you go thrifting. And you probably won't find something right when you walk into Forever 21. Be patient. It will happened. It is really easy to get frustrated and give up. Perservere and you will find something that you love. After all, one woman's junk is your most worn winter coat.

Tip #3: Look everywhere
A lot of thrift stores don't have the man power to organize the entire store to perfection. Be sure to check out the men's section for cool band tees and warm flannel. If you're very pettite check out the children's section for some great stuff in your size. Things get mixed up and it can get confusing. Make sure to keep your eyes open for great bargains.

Tip #4: Take a chance
Thrift stores tend to be significantly cheaper than most stores you will find in your local mall. This means that you can take a chance on an emerging trend and not feel as guilty. If you have seen girls rocking a leather jackets but can't convince yourself to spend the money on something you aren't quite sure will work out, go to the thrift store and find a leather jacket for the fraction of the cost. If you love the look then great you saved a ton of money and still look great. If you end up not wearing it you won't be as mad at yourself.

Tip #5: Know when the sales are happening
If I can give you one tip, this would be it. There is nothing more important than knowing when the sales are happening. My favorite thrift store--Goodwill--has special tags sales every week. Like for instance this past weekend, al green tags were $1.29! That's insane! I can get so much great stuff. Sales are the best and if you can get it cheaper, why not?

Best Places to Thrift
Now onto the FAQ! I get a lot of questions about where I thrift. My favorite place to thrift is Goodwill. I am a sucker. I have about five locations within a ten minute drive from my house and I love spending half a day going around and shopping. They have the fantastic taag sales and I get so many things for $1.29! Steal! I also like the Salvation Army and a few local thrift shops in Seattle--but those tend to be on the pricer side.

Best Pieces to Buy at a Thrift Store
Another question I get a lot is what are my favorite things to thrift. I love getting really cool printed tees when I thrift. Those are always in the men's section. I highly recommend checking those out. I also love getting really feminine button-up blouses from Goodwill. They have so many colors and styles to choose from. But baggy, oversized cardigans are the best things I find at thrift stores. They always have these super cool cardigans that have these sweet buttons and they're so easy to slip on before heading to class. Gosh. I love them so much. 

Why Do You Thrift?
Because it's fun. I love the feeling of finding the four or fives great pieces in a room full of junk. Also, because I'm a college student and I have no money. Thrifting is a way to get quality pieces--and many of the pieces I've thrifted are great quality--for a low cost. You won't have to worry that you'll come to school dressed in the same thing as someone else--been there, don't want to do it again. These pieces are a reflextion of your hard work and savy shopping skills.

I hope this blog post helped! I really enjoyed writing it. If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments below and I might do another FAQ blog post like this one. 

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