Because I have an obsession with thrift shopping (I’m on a budget“ let me have this), I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say into only one post. Luckily, the 29Secrets powers that be understand that, so instead of leaving you to wing it, I’ve got a few more tips for a successful Salvation Army venture. I’ve got your back, guys!
1. Prioritize fabric types
This sounds super technical and boring, but I had no other way to phrase it, and also, it’s not. Odds are if you’re into a particular decade, they’ll be certain types of fabrics and prints you’ll gravitate towards. For instance, I like to dress like somebody’s great aunt in 1962, so I look for polyester, silk, and floral prints. If you like the 1940s, you’ll look for lace. If you’re into the ˜80s, you’ll want sequins, spandex, and neon. The thing is, if you know what type of fabrics to look out for, you’ll cut your time in half. Why? Because you’re not rifling through ribbed henleys and cotton button-ups trying to find a blouse from D’Allairds. And then you’ll have more time to focus on your favourite sections, or hit up another store completely.
2. Know labels
I promise I don’t mean actual designers, because other than Simpson’s (Sears), and D’Allairds (RIP), I don’t know who or what was hip or trendy circa 1966. But, like with fabric, if you thrift enough, you’ll eventually know what type of label print to look for. Handmade pieces tend to lack labels completely (therefore making them 100% unique, which is awesome), while brands from the ˜50s and ˜60s are smaller with fancy writing” (aka “cursive,” that thing we used to know how to do).
Knowing what to look for here will ensure that the pieces are legitimate. When I first started thrifting, I picked up a lot of stuff that looked ˜60s, but was actually from a few months back. This not only makes a difference if you like cheap vintage stuff, but because older pieces legitimately last longer. I mean, they’ve lasted this long — what’s a few more years?
This tip is actually provided by one of my best friends, who told me to try this the last time we hit up Value Village. And guess what: she was right, and it rules. When I found an Irving Posluns faux fur coat.
I had no idea who or what Irving Posluns was, whether the coat was actually faux fur, and if it was really made in Canada. But lo and behold, smart phones and Google exist, and I learned the truth: not only was this particular coat from the early-to-mid 1960s, it was made in Canada by a company that sold to Eaton’s, and eventually other Canadian chains. It’s gone out of business, but their faux fur pieces were pretty sought-after for a few decades, and were reasonably hip. Now, I have a winter coat my Nana would be proud of, and for only $25 (seriously).
4. Try antique shops
Feeling bold? No? Well that’s okay, I’m tired too. But when you are feeling bold, mosey over to an antique market if you really want to score pieces that are bona fide vintage. True, you’ll probably pay more for the novelty of not having to rifle through racks of clothes to find a few wearable pieces, but you’ll find collections honed by people who really know and understand various eras. On the flipside, some antique collectors care less about clothes than they do other memorabilia, so you might find a hat or a dress for a fraction of what you’d even find at a thrift store. Just be prepared to search. Which, admittedly, is sometimes the best part.