Shopping at thrift and vintage stores can be cheap, fun and rewarding. It takes a little more effort than your average shopping trip, but when you find something amazing, it’s almost guaranteed you won’t see it on anyone else. If you are intrigued by this foreign method of shopping, then read on for some tips on how to succeed at second-hand shopping.
Where to go? Thrift stores receive donations and the clothes are sold at an inexpensive price, while vintage stores purchase quality items so the price is higher. Some stores are better than others, so try as many as you can. If you are looking for a specific item, you may have to go to a few different stores before you find it.
What to buy? Sometimes you have a specific item in mind that you are looking for, but it’s good to keep your eyes open for anything captivating. Don’t limit yourself to just finding that one specific thing, because thrift stores are chocked full of hidden gems for you to discover.
Try it on. In the words of the owner of one of Toronto’s most famous vintage stores (69 Vintage), You have to put it on to pull it off. You never know how something will look on you, unless you actually put it on. If you like something, but think that you could never pull it off, try it on! You’ll never know unless you try.
Take your time. If you’re thinking about popping into the local thrift store on your way to lunch, don’t bother. The most important thing to understand is that thrift shopping is like a fine art. It takes time to sift through hundreds of wrong things, just to find one right thing. So give yourself ample time, be patient, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t find something right away.
Will you wear it? Some pieces will jump out at you and you’ll know they are perfect, and some you will be on the fence about. Thrift stores are fairly inexpensive so it’s easy to justify buying clothes that you don’t 100% love. But stop and think, What does this go with? Will I wear this? Or will it just take up space in my closet?
Find a tailor. At a thrift or vintage store, you don’t always get to choose your perfect fit; everything comes in one size. If you love a shirt, but don’t love the shoulder pads, or you love the skirt, but not the hemline, then either learn to sew, or make friends with a tailor. The ability to alter clothes that don’t fit opens up many more possibilities to find hidden gems.
Give back. Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. So when you are done with clothes, instead of throwing them out, take the time to drop them off at your local thrift store. It’s a give and take relationship.