I always talk about shopping at thrift stores in my style posts. That’s because I find a lot of my pieces in thrift stores! Today I wanted to share with you my top tips for shopping thrift stores, the best trending items to shop, and some great online thrifting websites (because yay for online shopping).
My Top Tips for Thrift Store Shopping:
1. Make a (Short) List
Know (in your head or on paper) what you’re going to look for. Whether it’s a shirt, pants, jacket, etc.. This will help you stay on track and not get sucked into the store. And trust me, it’s easy to get sucked in with so much “stuff” all around! Also, try not to have too long of a list. Finding a great item at a thirft store means you have to take the time to sort through all the junky pieces…if you’re looking for a lot you’re less likely to look thoroughly enough for each item, and you won’t find anything on your list.
2. Make a Route
If you’re planning on going to multiple stores I would suggest creating a game plan or route for your shopping day. That way you’ll save time by hitting stores in order vs. skipping some then back tracking to areas you’ve already been.
3. Make Time
You want to be sure you have alotted a full day to this adventure. Thrift stores are not known to be the most organized places. And yes, they do tend to carry a heavy junk to treasure ratio. So to find really great items you need time to sift through every single thing on a rack. Yes, you need to check everything! If you don’t you might miss a great deal/piece! So if you’re searching for jeans, you should be checking every pair of jeans on every rack of pants in the store. This is the only way to actually find something great.
4. Use Cash
Thrifting is kind of like Black Friday shopping. Everything is a great deal and a steal. This combined with the sheer amount of product thrift stores carry can easily cause you to get carried away. Bringing cash will keep you in a budget and make sure you don’t go wild from all the discounts!
5. Enjoy It
I know thrift stores can sometimes feel overwhelming for people because of the immense space and odds and ends packed into enormous warehouse-style rooms. Remember you’re shopping! It should be fun! Play around while in the thrift stores; laugh at some of the quirkier items they’ve housed.
Some people might feel a little bit “blehck” (that’s the expression that comes to mind) about rummaging through other people’s discarded items (and in some thrift stores you FEEL like you’re rummaging through other people’s discards). If that happens maybe that thrift store isn’t the right one for you. I have been there. Some stores are just yuck. But trust that someone has already checked all the donated items, and remember you will immediately go home and wash your items…So don’t be scared of second-hand stuff!!! Most thrifting adventures end with the discovery of treasure!
Top Trends to Shop at Thrift Stores:
1. Pajama Trend
Everyone has that one family member (probably your mom) that purchases special pajamas for you on holidays. You know the silky ones with a button up top and matching pants. Yes, those! And most people wear these one time, if that!
These trending items are great for thrift shopping because they tend to be gentley or never used. Something that is donated because it is no longer wanted or worn, not because it is out of style or too old. This means they are generally cleaner than some other items, newer, and in great condition!
2. Lingerie Inspired Pieces
I know I discussed this in Dust Yourself Off (article on the Duster Coat Trend). The lingerie trend is going strong and thrift stores are a great place to find key pieces! I think that when people donate lingerie pieces they are pickier with their items. These are clothing items that have been right against skin, not and overlayer. They have been worn intimately and thus are donated with an intimate thought.
That means they are less likely to donate something that is worn out or overused (because that’s honestly gross). Also, how often do you wear lingerie (teddy, nightgown etc.)? Exactly, rarely if at all. Again these items have less wear and tear. As I stated in that article, I am not saying to go get used, ratty old undies, but a great slip dress or silk cami would be perfect and easily obtained through thrifting!
Anything denim…levi’s, jean jacket, maxi skirt, cutoff shorts etc. Thrift stores are great for shopping denim pieces. True denim is hard to wear down and thus a great thrifting find. These pieces will usually be in tact and wearable condition.
Thrift stores often carry pieces that are out of style (trends come back around!). Which is the case with denim. Therefore, their great places to find original/classic levi’s to cutoff, distress, or recycle! As well as older denim pieces that are hot right now: denim trucker jackets, denim maxi skirts, overalls etc..
For Levi’s or any classic denim be sure to also check men’s jeans…they often carry more classic denim styles. If you can find a size that fits these can be worn as recycled vintage jeans. You just need to cut the bottom for a crop and distressed hem.
Who doesn’t use a jacket at least once in their life? Normally I would say it’s ok to splurge the extra money because you’re going to need it and it will last you awhile. But say you live in a warm climate and are going on a vacation to a colder area. Well why waste money on something you’re going to get barely any use out of? Perfect solution: find it at the thrift store.
Jackets are another awesome discounted find at a thrift store. Jackets are a hard item to beat up or wear down. On top of that, jackets only get worn a few months of the year (in most areas) and when they’re worn it’s usually for short periods of time (because who hangs out in the cold). Even better most jacket silhouettes carry on every year. This means that jackets in thrift stores are barely used (great condition) and in-style or current! (obviously give or take a few that are donated after years of use or from back in the 80s)
Sometimes the older silhouettes/styles they carry can end up being great vintage finds!
5. Rock Band Tees/Vintage Tees
Rocker tees are in right now! And they are one of my faves!!! I hate the notion of buying a distressed rock band tee for $40, something brand new that’s made to look old. Why not just get it first hand? You have to be careful with these, because some thrift/vintage stores will over price these because of their demand. To get a deal you want to make sure you are at a thrift store!
These pieces are also VERY rare and hard to find in a thrift store. You will be sifting through racks of shirts for what seems like FOREVER. But if you ever find one, wow what a score! Remember to shop every t-shirt rack, not just women’s. In fact, most t-shirts like this will be in the men’s section because of the silhouette and graphic. You’ll want to check EVERYTHING.
(no picture needed…any graphic tee you like you can find something at the thrift store)
My Thrift Stores:
Thrift stores obviously vary from region to region, but there are some that are pretty consistent:
- Goodwill – probably one of the cheapest (excluding any local places)
- Plato’s Closet – buys secondhand items (more on-trend pieces)
- Any Place Local – I find local stores usually have the best deals and inventory
Those are some basic places that will always hand out one or two gold nugget items!
Because thrift stores vary so much from place to place…here are some online thrift stores to shop! (although tip: it’s better to shop these places in person, items look better in person and you can test things out)