Ins & Outs of Thrifting Like a Pro
Spending a Saturday searching for the next hidden-gem outfit at a thrift store is not only a fun method to find unique and stylish clothing, but also a budget-friendly and sustainable way to stay fashionable. And today, thrifting is more popular than ever. In fact, a report from Poshmark found that secondhand clothes now make up the largest percentage of Gen Z-ers' closets by category! Although the process can be a bit overwhelming, here’s everything you need to know to thrift like a professional.
Finding A Thrift Store
Thrift stores are physical stores that receive donations from the community. If you’re located in the United States, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Value Village are some common nation-wide stores that have low prices. A simple Google search will pull up the location of these types of stores in your area.
To find stores with more high-value items, target thrift stores in areas with a higher median home price. You can use realtor tools, like Zillow, to filter and find these zip codes. Then, proceed to search for thrift stores in that geographic pocket.
For more trendy clothes, try visiting thrift stores that are outside of major cities, as these could be less frequented by people who are more aware of the current trends (take mom jeans, for example), increasing your chance that they are not already picked over.
To find the best deal, you can call the store ahead of time and see if there are any special days where they have further discounts. Goodwill, for example, has certain 50% off days. While on the phone, you can also ask the employees when they plan on restocking. Visiting the store just after a restock will increase your chances of finding trendy items.
Now that you have your store(s) selected, prepare for your trip by dressing in layers. Not all thrift stores will have changing rooms, so wearing a pair of leggings and a tank top can help you quickly try on jackets and other layers.
Although thrift stores can seem a bit vast and overwhelming, almost all are organized in some fashion, either by gender, clothing type, and/or color. When you enter, have a plan on what items you are looking for and what colors you are drawn to. This can help you find your hot spot among the aisles.
Next, when you’re sorting through the hangers, pay special attention to the quality of the item. Secondhand clothing can have minor imperfections, such as small stains, loose threads, or missing pieces - so do a quick scan to ensure that the item is a strong, quality material. Note that natural fibers are often a better choice than synthetic: some materials to typically avoid include polyester or acrylic knits. Checking the tag often tells you what the clothing is made of.
Finally, take note of the item’s brand because certain brands are known to hold up longer than others. For example, brands like J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Madewell hold up longer than brands like Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe.
Don’t forget to check the racks by the changing rooms, where other thrifting pros may have deposited the items that don’t fit after trying them on.
Don’t be afraid of scooping up a special piece of clothing that you love, even if it requires a bit of customization. Many thrifting pros use a simple needle and thread to make items more fitted or shorter. If you’re not comfortable learning how to sew, you can always pay a visit to a local tailor.
Brick-and-mortar thrift stores are no longer the only option for thrift-addicts. There are a variety of solid online “thrift stores,” including:
The trick for most of these websites is to spend plenty of time filtering. You can often filter by quality, brand, price, and more.
And that’s it - you now have the tools to thrift your next outfit with confidence and skill. Tag us on Instagram at @toat.co with your thrifted outfits!