Shopping On A Budget? Thrift Flipping 101
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Shopping On A Budget? Thrift Flipping 101

Beauty & Style

July 12, 2020

Whether you love vintage, searching for a deal, or just looking out for the planet, thrifting is the answer. The secret to making the most of your thrifts? Thrift flipping. Here are some easy thrift flip tips that can guide you in personalizing your clothes!


First things first –– what to look for at a thrift store. Watch this video by bestdressed for an in-depth explanation of the basics:

Main takeaways of the video:

  • Filter through the thrift stores around you by what you're searching for (vintage, contemporary, etc.)
    • Online thrifting is a good choice too!
    • If you're looking for a seriously good deal, check out thirft store outlets (bring gloves!)
    • Don't forget about yard sales and estate sales
  • If you're a beginner, take the time to look throught every single item and all sections
  • Narrow your choices down by color and material
    • Create a mental note of your preferred color palette
    • Materials that age well in thrift stores: silk, cashmere, denim (100% cotton), jersey, cotton
    • Avoid: fast-fashion polyester, acrylic knits, suede that needs cleaning
  • Make use of the fitting rooms!


The following are some easy-to-alter items:

Quarter-zips, Hoodies, Sweaters

An easy flip is to just crop these. All you need is a pair of scissors and a marker to mark the point and cut across. You can either leave it at that, or hem it for a neater finish.

Even more, you can attach an elastic at the bottom for an additional look. If it's plain, you can also try tie-dying it!

Midi and Pencil Skirts

Pretty straight-forward: cut the skirt to your preferred length and sew on buttons, attach a zipper or chain, or do some embroidery for customization.

Vintage Patterned Dresses

With a cool pattern, all you need are a few alterations. You can change the sleeves (e.g long-sleeved to short-sleeved to sleeveless), bring in the waist more, or cut a leg slit. Depending on the dress, you can also turn them into blouses, skirts, or both!

High-Waisted Jeans

If you're looking for the perfect pair of mom jeans, the men's section is where it's at. To guarantee a high waist, try bringing a tape measure to measure the inseam (around 11" is ideal). Look for high-quality denim that's thick and sturdy.

High-waisted jeans are also great for making a pair of shorts. Whether it's shorts or pants, you can try distressing, bleaching, embriodering, adding holes, painting (with fabric paint!), adding patches, and more!


You can literally do anything to a thrifted tee! Take some of the ideas listed above and try them on a shirt. You can crop, adjust sleeves, distress, bleach, tie-dye, embroider, slit, iron on a print, sew in elastic, add zipper or chain, etc.

For more ideas and inspo, check out these vids:

There you go, thrift flipping 101. Have fun and get creative!

Sophia Zhang
20k+ pageviews

Writer since Jun, 2020 · 11 published articles

Sophia Zhang is currently a student residing in Chicago, IL. She says a lot of words, and if she's lucky, they sometimes make sense.