How to Thrift: Part Two

In the Store

Grab a cart and check for sales

Save your arms, get a cart. While you pick up your cart see if you should pay special attention to blue tags, green tags etc. as you shop. Thrift stores, already inexpensive, have a lot of inventory and need to make room for more. They want it gone and will frequently have half-price sales on certain tags.

Become familiar with the layout the store and develop a game plan

How is the store sectioned off and which sections do you want to check out? This general game plan will ensure that you do not become overwhelmed and won’t miss out on anything.

Go through the store section by section

  • Stick to your game plan. Visit women’s shirts, then dresses, then jeans etc. whatever you planned. One section at a time. Don’t dabble and don’t get distracted!
  • Be thorough. I like to look at everything in each section I visit so that I don’t have a panic attack about missing out on something I didn’t see-but that’s me and I’m semi-pro.
  • Take chances. You never know how something will look until you try it on. Can’t decide if that sweater is cute or ugly? Is that dress so bad it’s good? You won’t know unless you try it on. Some of the very best things I wear were guesses at the racks and winners in the dressing room.
  • Don’t pay attention to the sizes assigned to racks. You will probably find things that will fit you in both the “small” and “large” section on a rack of shirts, dresses, or jeans. Why? For two reasons: items will be put back incorrectly by customers and store personnel alike. A particular item’s size is also closely linked to when that piece was created. When I thrift I can wear anything from a size 16+ vintage  to a size 4 in something from the 1990’s (my modern size, if you must know, is a 6 or 8). Vintage clothes were sized differently (along with women’s bodies) and if we were to talk about vanity sizing, this post would get way too long.
  • Do not rely on the racks that say “Better Brands” or “Brand Names”. These “better brands” are determined by whomever is sorting the clothes when they come in. Sometimes those sorters are really savvy about brand names, quality, and history and others remember their favorite brands from 1991 and have not progressed past it. Clothes on these racks can be priced higher than they should be just because the label was great 10 years ago. I will find these same brands mixed in with all the other clothes too.  Don’t let store volunteers or employees be your taste makers!

If you’ve followed these tips you have filled your cart and are excited to hit the dressing room! In the next post we’ll talk about dressing room stuff and making decisions.

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One comment on “How to Thrift: Part Two

  1. Lorelei says:

    Very helpful tips, I especially like the reminder about checking every size on the rack.

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