I used to work at a “Buy, Sell, or Trade” clothing store and I would buy clothes from the public. I loved this job and I learned a lot about people in the process but I also learned how to be careful and very particular when evaluating a particular item for resale. Thrifting and shopping at a consignment store are different and one usually needs to be more attentive to condition when thrifting but these same rules apply no matter where you shop and I am going to share the basics with you here.
- Hold the piece up in natural light. Look for spots, rips, tears, and holes. Sometimes hold items up to the light and see if you can see-thru it.
- Check the zippers. Do they work, are they snagging on the fabric?
- Check the armpits. Are they discolored? These stains will not wash out-ever.
- Smell the item (I know, this is the hardest part for the squeemish) but do it. If it smells a little B.O. ish. Put it back. It doesn’t matter if you wash it. It will smell again when your own body heat warms it up. If you are going to smell it might as well be your own.
- Pants/jeans? Check the crotch. I will not elaborate on this one but trust me. Open up the pants and take a look.
- Think about how the piece will hold up to multiple washings.
- Sweater? These can be tricky. Is it pilling? Have the moths gotten to it at any time? Look at the sleeves, are they hanging low? Have they been on the hanger for too long and have stretched? Did someone wash it incorrectly and has it shrunk or felted?