Thrifting Lessons from a Pro

Thrift shopping tips from a pro

You’ve probably noticed that nearly all of my outfits include at least one thrifted item. I’ve written a whole bunch of posts about various aspects of thrifting, but thought it might be helpful to cull some highlights. Especially since spring and autumn are high shopping times for most of us, and present fabulous opportunities to hit the charity shops and score some fabulous, affordable, environmentally-friendly new duds!

  1. Make time to thrift: Very few people can duck in and out of a thrift store in 15 minutes. Since you’ll be sifting through rack upon rack of poorly organized goods, allot yourself a chunk of time so that you can truly explore the bounty.
  2. Try stuff on: Eyeballing it can be incredibly risky at a thrift store, so try everything on. My method is to wear leggings and a tunic or dress whenever I thrift. That way, even if the store doesn’t offer fitting rooms, I can throw things on in the aisles and make sure they aren’t horrifying on me. Try it all on, friends, including belts and scarves.
  3. Keep an open mind: Take a wish list of items to keep yourself on track, but always allow the Thrift Muses to throw a surprise your way.
  4. Experiment: Does something grab your eye because of color or texture, but scare you off because of how it’s cut? Try it on anyway. Are you drawn to that zebra print skirt, but have no idea if it’ll work in your wardrobe? Try it on anyway. Don’t buy stuff that makes you feel uncomfortable or is wildly impractical, of course, but thrifting is the best possible place to encourage your style to expand. Clothing is affordable, relatively sustainable, and the variety of offerings is VAST. Branch out a little. I mean, why not?
  5. Don’t buy it just because it’s designer and a bargain: Oh man, have I ever been tempted to snap up undervalued duds simply because I knew their true worth. But here’s the thing: Unless you’re going to resell on eBay, you should only thrift items that you love and that work for your figure. A $5 Max Mara dress is a waste of $5 if it makes you feel like 15 hot dogs shoved into a tube sock. Use your common sense, and don’t be tempted by something just because it’s designer.

Image courtesy Lance McCord. READ MORE

Originally posted 2010-05-21 05:56:00.

Thrifting for Coats

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As the weather turns from cool to cold to downright FREEZING, you may be reconsidering the coats in your closet. Are they warm enough? Do they cover all of your bits? Are they in good shape? Styles that work with your figure and wardrobe? If your current coat options are somewhat lacking, consider hitting the thrift shops before shelling out for something new.

The best types of clothing to thrift are durable. While flimsy tees and diaphanous blouses are lovely to wear, they just don’t hold up to lots of use and laundering so by the time they hit the thrift racks they may only have a year or so of wearable life left. Garments like blazers, jeans, handbags, and coats, on the other hand, are made from sturdier fabrics, constructed using heavier thread and stitching, and are created with use and abuse in mind. Even if they were made decades ago and worn relatively frequently, these items can still be in good shape when you find them at your local thrift store. READ MORE

Originally posted 2013-12-05 06:08:04.

Reader Request: Utilitarian Pant-based Ensembles

Tiffany said:

I have to wear pants to work (engineering/construction inspector). Unfortunately it’s a field of men, so I don’t have a lot of examples to look to, hehe. I would love to see a piece on how to make a utilitarian pants outfit more interesting (and no, I can’t do it with shoes…steel-toed boots are a must)! I just feel like I wear the same outfit in different colors all the time.

Ahhh, there are so many fun things that we women can do to jazz up pants-based ensembles. Here are just a few suggestions: READ MORE

Originally posted 2011-02-17 06:23:08.