If there’s one thing I love its talking about natural hair AND one of my fav things to do…shop! Not just any type of shopping but thrifting. I’ve had tons of requests to share some of my secrets and information on how I pick up amazing pieces for fractions of the cost.
Check out my Top Ten Tips below to help you become an awesome thrifter and be sure to check out my Youtube video by clicking HERE.
1. To begin one must formulate a plan. Do your research to find all Thrift Stores in your area as you may find yourself traveling to more than just one to find what you may be looking for. Check out to see if there are any Goodwill’s in your area by clicking HERE and also try the Salvation Army by clicking HERE. You can also try googling vintage/thrift stores in your area. Sometimes its okay to go outside of your neighborhood or community to see what may be available if your transportation means allows. I’ve found amazing finds both in my neighborhood and traveling outside as well. Mix things up and see what you like best.
2. One important factor that many may overlook in your quest for finding hidden treasures is your actual choice of clothing the day you choose to shop. True…this does not have to turn into a fashion show but in my personal experiences I am a much more successful shopper when I am not bogged down by huge purses, large uncomfy jackets/coats, and when I have to continue to pull off and put back on intricate layered outfits when going in and out of dressing rooms. My advice here would be to dress as comfortable and loosely as possible. Try stretch pants or jeggings with a loose t-shirt or tank layered with a billowy cardigan or scarf. Let’s not mention wearing comfortable shoes…preferably flats seeing that you’ll do lots of walking while ravaging through sales racks. A comfortable dresser is a happy shopper.
3. Go in with a mission and budget. Grab inspiration from the runways, street fashion and look out for style trends. Some trends are simply reoccurring themes that were somehow inspired by the past and recycled from generation to generation. Thrift stores are awesome places to look for those type of items but one must be knowledgeable in what to get. Also know the trends of the season, the colors…textures, and patterns that you can purchase at a fraction of the cost and still look fab.
4. Be patient Dolls and prepare for a day filled with carefully searching through each rack to find your perfect piece. This may seem tedious to some but for a true thrifter this is the thrill of a great find on the horizon. Many thrift stores that I’ve visited are all different with some being insanely organized by sizes and even colors while others are cluttered and scattered. With this mentioned, go in with an open mind and be prepared to carefully look through the sections that interest you most. Take it one step at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed and miss out on finding an awesome vintage piece. Thrift stores can boast great finds…through serious hunting and patience.
5. While shopping try to look for quality pieces that will last and be worth the money. Keep an eye out for brands that you are familiar with and are known for their high quality materials, craftsmanship, and has a great reputation. Some of my favorite brands to search for are Kenneth Cole, Levis, Ann Taylor, Free People, Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen, Banana Republic, Armani Exchange, Express and the list goes on.
6. Examine your items carefully and look out for any stains, rips, holes, missing buttons, dysfunctional zippers, or any other defects. Be sure you are aware of any additional costs that you could incur if the item has any of the listed issues. How you are looking to re-purpose the piece depends on whether or not the item would be a good choice. Examples: You found missing buttons on the sleeves of a blue jean jacket. Well, if you were planning to make it into a vest the buttons on the sleeves wouldn’t be an issue.
***BONUS TIP – If your don’t fancy the buttons an item may come with know that this can be an easy fix. You can go out and purchase different buttons at a craft shop or go the cheap route and take buttons from an old shirt or sweater you were looking to get rid of anyway***
7. Try on your selections to see how they fit. Keep in mind items can be altered and tailored to be taken in if too big but an item that is too small is a complete waste of money. Think creatively since articles of clothing can be layered and turned into totally different pieces if one is creative.
8. Don’t forget accessories and gently worn shoes! Some of my best finds have been unsuspecting necklaces and earrings and purses for just pennies compared to what they originally cost. Leather purses in any store can be expensive but finding a leather bag at a thrift store can be extremely rewarding and you now have a quality piece to last you for a long time. Before leaving out be sure to stroll through and see what other pieces could be added for a complete look.
9.Go often…and don’t expect to find the perfect item on your first trip. Just like traditional stores inventory is moving in and out and each week can be a bit different. Frequent your fav stores often and you’ll begin to collect a large array of pieces to add to your wardrobe.
10. Keep your closets clean and relevant to your personal style by donating and purchasing from second hand shops. Purge those items that are taking up space by donating them and feel good knowing that someone may see your trash as treasure and you are helping in supporting awesome programs like the Goodwill. Out with the old and in with the new…well sort of.
Some of my fav thrifts stores in Chicago are…
Goodwill (Washington Location)
Any tips that you’ve found helpful while thrift shopping? Please feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading Dolls.