August 17, 2015

Ten Tips For Shopping Thrift

Thrift shopping requires a certain mindset. It's not like walking into a Neimans or a Nordstrom and seeing that perfect look all put together for you. But that's the beauty of it. Of course thrift shopping is not for everyone. Not everyone wants to take the time to hunt for the perfect shirt, skirt, pants, dress or blazer. And thrift shopping does take time. I believe that thrift shopping is an art form. Because chances are you are going to be putting pieces together yourself, which to me, in itself, is art.

{Photo via POLISH, which is one of my favorite thrift shops in Bangor, Maine! Shop their two locations on 1205 Broadway and the other on 548 Hammond Street)

Today I thought I would just fill you in on a few of the things that I look for when thrift shopping. See my ten tips below:

  • First of all, be willing to get dirty. Thrift shopping is not a task for a germaphobe. Bring some Purell with you and just take a shower when you get home if you feel really gross. Believe me, it's not that bad. The person that previously wore the clothes that you are looking at is/was human, just like you. You are no better than that. Unless you truly are an extraterrestrial visiting us from another world. And even then, you are no better Ms. Alien.
  • Personally, I never spend more than $8.00 on a piece unless I feel that is in MINT condition or that it is a BIG TIME designer brand like Chanel, Gucci, Versace, etc. You get the idea. I do not consider names like Banana Republic, J. Crew and Ann Taylor designer brands, although they are really nice brands to scope out. 
  • I usually wear a size small in a shirt or jacket, but I look through the medium and large sizes too. If an item has been worn and washed, it tends to shrink. And more than likely if you are shopping thrift, it has been worn and washed before so it might be a size smaller than what the tag says.
  • You have to be careful of defects when shopping thrift and pay attention to details. A garment might look fantastic at first glance, but have you done a 360 degree look at it? Hold it up and look at it from all angles. Look for any stains or holes. Look for missing buttons too, but keep in mind, those are easy enough to replace if you love the garment and are willing to put a little work into it.
  • Do the inside out test. I mean, literally turn the garment inside out. Inspect the lining of jackets and pants. I pay close attention to the arm pits making sure that there are no stains.
  • Check all zippers to make sure they have all their teeth and are working smoothly. Zippers can be replaced, but again, it requires some extra effort and zippers can be expensive. Possibly more than the thrifted garment itself.
  • I always look for tags that say that a garment was made in the USA when I am shopping for vintage pieces. I just feel that to own something that was actually crafted in this country before clothing became mass produced overseas is just really cool! 
  • There is no harm in asking for a lower price on a garment if you feel that it has a defect. So, swallow your pride and just ask a sales person for a better deal. The worst they can say is no.
  • It is easy to buy random pieces when thrift shopping so make sure that you have an idea of what you would pair it with in your wardrobe. Just because it's a good deal doesn't mean that it will do you any good just hanging in your closet. You want a working closet. Meaning a closet full of things that you actually wear.
  • Bring a friend with you when thrift shopping. There could be a chance that you could miss something great that your friend would not! When thrift shopping, two is better than one. Trust me, thrift shopping can be fun!
If you have any more thrift shopping tips, please leave me a comment!

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