Do you typically shy away from thrift stores because you see so much junk and hate the smell, but love the idea of finding designer items at bargain prices?
Maybe you don’t know what brands are good outside of those you find at the mall and want tips on learning what brands to look out for?
To celebrate National Thrift Shop Day, I want to share my die-hard, 20 years plus expert thrift store tips with you so you can find the best deals and most unique items to revive your style and keep to your budget.
The difference between thrift and second hand
Just because something is used and affordable doesn’t make it a thrift find. Thrift stores are very specifically, shops that are affiliated with a ministry or charity.
Consignment shops are also second-hand and can be really affordable, but that is not always the case. Consignment is also more specific to clothing and accessories, whereas thrift stores offer a wide range of products from clothes, to home goods, to children’s toys, and appliances, and more.
Why shop thrift
There are so many benefits to shopping second-hand I may not be able to cover them all but the key points are that:
- You can find unique items to make your personal style more unique and stand out from the crowd
- You can find designer clothes for a 10th or even less of the retail price in near new or brand new condition
- It’s an amazing way to round out the gaps in your wardrobe without having to spend an arm and a leg
- Shopping thrift supports local and national ministries and charities making the community and world a better place
- Buying used clothing is more environmentally friendly and helps reduce waste and the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill each year
- You look better and more unique
Tips to make the shopping experience more enjoyable
First of all, before I dive into how to find the most unique and high-quality things at the thrift store I want to give you some pre-game tips to help make the overall experience more enjoyable. I always bring my headphones for listening to my favorite podcast or audiobook! I usually wear a skirt and flats to easily try on other bottoms and shoes.
Have a specific item in mind
You might be totally overwhelmed if you’re new to shopping at a thrift store. And rightly so. A lot of thrift stores are located in out of date shopping centers or grocery stores. I’ve even been to a thrift store that was in a disused Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool!
You need to go with specifics in mind to narrow down the playing field. Are you looking for that perfect pair of Levi’s 501’s, some new sunglasses, maybe a couple new silk or linen blouses, or perhaps just a nice wool sweater for fall?
Knowing exactly what you want will help you zero in and ignore all the other hidden gems calling out your name.
Finding and understanding designer brands
Always bring your smartphone with you to do research when you come across a brand that you’ve never heard of before.
I’ve scored boots, blazers, and more that were $10 bucks but retailed for over $100. Brands are personal, and because you may like certain brands, you’ll want to keep a look out for those. I love Levi’s for example so I’m always looking out for those no matter when I go or what I’m looking for.
You really want to look for the quality of construction, materials, and then research the brand with your phone. Because it is thrift, you literally never know what you’ll find there. You could find designer clothing like Chanel, Dior, etc.
You can also look at ThredUp.com they only accept things that will sell again, so you can check what kind of brands are decent quality. That said, they have may not have lesser known, foreign, or high-end brands that you’ve never heard of.
Look at the details of the garment
That’s why I always recommend to access the garment itself to decide whether or not it’s worth your time. Where was it made, what are materials, does it have a label to indicate the brand, date of manufacture?
I like to look for silk blouses, wool sweaters, authentic vintage blue jeans, and leather jackets, and more. Basically, the material can tell you a lot about an item even without the brand tag. There are usually two or more tags in every garment. One for the brand and place of manufacture and one to give materials and care instructions.
Look for 100% natural materials and high-quality fabrics like 100% cotton, cashmere, wool, leather, linen, silk, etc.
Want to dive deeper? Let’s go shopping together!
If you’ve ever wanted to work with a personal stylist or have some personal shopping done for you, now is your unique chance to get in on something really special. I’ll be leading a group shopping trip to my favorite thrift store on Saturday, August 25th from 9:30 am – 11:30 pm.
I’ll help you find pieces just for you, pick things I think you’ll like, and help you create a few fun outfits!
You can get my personal attention to find the best items and unique gems at the thrift store. The group is limited to 5 people so you better act fast! Tickets are only $29.00 and you’ll also be given a coupon for 25% off your purchase at select stores.
You must be located in Knoxville or the surrounding areas to join. 18 years or older.