3 Tips On How to Thrift Shop Like A Pro

So you make a New Year resolutions to be more sustainable with your fashion, but where do you start? Shopping secondhand is a great place to start! Thrift stores can be very intimidating, but they don’t have to be. All you need is a few tips and you’ll be mastering the art of shopping secondhand like a pro! Finding stylish pieces in a thrift store isn’t very difficult if you have an eye for style. I know, I know, style can be a loaded word. It may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Just remember, style is personal, so be yourself. Pieces you find stylish may differ greatly from pieces I find stylish. The key here is to be true to your character and pick what best suits your aesthetic. Here are my top three tips for finding stylish clothes in a thrift store. 

Thrifted sweater, leggings, and boots.
Thrifted this sweater, leggings, and boots from Poshmark.

Define Your Style

Knowing what your style is will be the greatest help when shopping. Decide what style of clothing you like to wear. Is your style minimalistic, bohemian, business, casual, business casual, trendy, masculine, feminine, etc. There are so many styles out there. Find what you like best and know what that looks like. If you don’t know what you like, you can find examples of outfits from magazines, social media influencers, or even celebrities.

Pay close attention to the outfits you like. Are there any distinct pieces that stand out? What are the commonalties of all the outfits you like? Are there any specific colors, patterns, or prints that stand out? Finding these patterns can help you really zero in on what your style is. Figure this out before hitting up your local thrift store and take your magazine cut-outs or pull up your Instagram saves for reference while shopping. This way, as soon as you walk into a store, you know what types of pieces to look for and you’ll stay on track.

Think Outside Your Size

The same size jean across five different brands can fit totally different. Size is simply a guideline to follow, it’s not a strict rule. Don’t be afraid to check out sizes below and above what you normally wear. For example, when shopping for drapey maxi dresses, I always check up to a size 1XL even though I wear a size medium. On some occasions, I’ve found strapless size 1XL dresses that give me that drapey look and appear to be exactly my size. Additionally, don’t be afraid to check the men’s section. It’s great for oversized sweaters you can wear as dresses, cute flannel shirts to layer, and other menswear that you can make your own by pairing with more feminine pieces.

If you find a piece you really love but it’s way too big or has a small nick in the fabric, call up your local tailor and see about repair costs. Most repair jobs like making fixing a zipper, adding missing buttons, adjusting a hemline, or repairing a broken strap cost only a few dollars. 

Know Your Fabrics

This is a skill that can take a little more time to acquire. Years of shopping in department stores and watching runway shows have given me the ability to recognize high-end brands and fabrics within fractions of a second. You may not have this knowledge but you can certainly develop it fairly quickly if you slow down and simply study the pieces in your closet. Consider what brands you currently shop for the most. What designs, fabrics, and prints does that brand use the most? Examine your closet closely and take a look at those things.

For example, Ralph Lauren uses a lot of cable knit fabrics in their designs. They also have a very specific logo of a polo player mounted on a horse. If you wear a lot of Ralph Lauren or are simply familiar with this brand, you’d most likely be able to spot their logo from across a thrift store aisle. Years back, while shopping at a local thrift store, I spotted a $1,500 Etro dress across the aisle simply because I recognized their signature paisley print. I paid $15 for it and still have it. While this skill may take a bit of time to acquire, once you have it down, it’ll pay off big time. This skill has allowed me to find dozens of high-end designer items all for under $20.

Love these tips but don’t have any good thrift stores near you?

No problem! Thrifting online is even easier than doing it in person thanks to size, color, and brand filters. Check out this post on my favorite places to thrift online.

Watch my IGTV video for the top 3 reasons to shop thrifted.

You may also like my Come Thrifting With Me video- Part One.

Click here for part two of Come Thrifting With Me.

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JP

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