Second-hand fashion is sustainable and chic. More and more people are giving pre-loved clothing a second chance and for a good reason. I love thrifting, it is so interesting and so much fun. The excitement of the unknown and untapped potential of the store, the story behind the clothing's past life is so interesting. Another thing is that it can be a social outing. I love inviting my friends to go thrifting with me and make a day out of it. Also, it is a more sustainable option than going to the mall and buying all brand-new clothing items. With all those positives is the reality that sometimes thrifting can be a challenge. Trying to find something specific or a good bargain can be difficult. But fear not, here are my top 6 tips that will have you thrifting like a pro in no time.
1. Plan your adventure on a day when you have plenty of time.
This is super important! Having lots of time and a semi-outlined plan of what/where you are going to do, will save a lot of stress on the day. It also avoids rushed purchasing items that you don't really love. If you go by yourself, I would recommend doing it on a day when you have nothing else scheduled, so you can focus on thrifting as an experience. If you are going with friends, being able to discuss how long you want to spend at a place and then reevaluating after you've been there means more thoughtful and synced thrifting.
Note: I cannot stress this enough!!! TRY EVERYTHING ON, so you don't water your money and also spend time on something that doesn't fit or doesn't compliment your body. On your shopping expedition, you also allow time for this. You'll thank me in the long run.
2. Donate some items first, so you have room for your new purchases.
I love having heaps of different pieces of clothing, so I can build the perfect outfit. But it often means my closet is too full for anything new. If you know you have a big day of thrifting coming up, and you are busting to get a new piece, then my tip is to donate some clothes that you haven't worn in a while or ones that don't fit anymore. Because this means you are also giving back to the store and continuing the cycle of thrifting for other savvy shoppers. Also, donating clothes is way better for the environment than just throwing them out.
Note: I would check out the shops' guidelines for what condition the clothes are in and what stock they take if you are donating other objects other than clothes.
3. Save time by scanning through the racks.
Big time saver! As well as prevents you from looking over clothing you know you won't buy or like. Scanning the racks means instead of flicking through every piece of clothing you look at based on:
1. Color, based on your aesthetic or if you are after a specific look, e.g. pastels.
2. Texture/fabric, if it looks like good quality or if something you know you will like wearing. Also, useful if you are looking for a specific thing like a silk slip dress or cotton button-up shirt.
3. Sizing. If you know you only fit into a particular size, saving time by scanning the racks and looking at pieces that are your size, and if you're not sure of what size you are looking at, specific clothing also helps.
Scanning racks also means that you already have an idea of what you are looking for and want.
4. Be friendly and connect with the staff.
I cannot stress this enough. Being nice to the staff is super important. As well as if you have a favorite thrift store and go there regularly, get to know the staff and build up a friendship so that later on you can get to know them (shout out to Karen at the slavos.) Like when do they restock? What day are the sales tags put on? And what days do they accept donations? Many of the thrift stores in Australia are run by volunteers. I think it's good to brighten up someone else's day and the best way to do that is to just have a chat. Connecting with the staff also means you have someone on the inside who is able to tell you if there are good items that have just come in or not. They can give you an honest opinion if it looks good or is worth the purchase.
5. Keep an eye out for sales or discounted tags.
Who doesn't love a good bargain? It's even better when it is discounted further! Looking at these tags means you get more bang for your buck as well as, most likely, last-chance items. It feels so good coming home with 5 items for $50 which are better for the environment rather than 1 from the mall. These discounts also mean you can get last season's clothing cheaper, especially big jumpers and jackets when going into summer. It's also important to check the quality of ALL thrifted products to make sure they don't have any unremovable stains, rips, or if they are just outworn.
6. Look at all sections.
Believe it or not, the men's section actually does have some bangin' items. Looking in the men's section for button-up shirts, you can crop or groovy patterned tee's is actually a surprisingly untapped world. I love looking at the leather jackets and jumpers for more of an industrial vibe. Also, the kids' section. For cute little baby tee-styled tops and also in the boys-section, some well-fitting jeans for once. It also gives you the chance to explore clothing outside your comfort zone and provides chances for a new D.I.Y project. Also, you never know what you might find.
Other useful tips:
— Use cash to avoid impulse buying. Also, some places may only take cash, but it's good to be prepared.
— Research the location/area, check out if there are any garage sales or flea markets within your area. They usually have such good finds.
— Look at thrift shops online. They are awesome and also have lots of good products that you might not be able to find are categorized a lot better if looking for specific items or brands.
— Go to multiple stores in one area. Makes the day go smoother and also more opportunities to find interesting pieces.
— Look for the quality rather than the brand name. Meaning you will get more wear out of your new item.
— If you are creative, think about refurbishing/repurposing an item or 'flipping' it into something you love.
Overall, thrifting is meant to be a fun experience, so don't get too disheartened if you don't find something every trip. The other plus side is a lot more ethical and sustainable than buying from Shein or other fast fashion websites. If you have a thrifting tip or favorite store that you love. Let me know on my Instagram!