In 2013, as a budding fashion blogger finding my way, I wrote a novice thrifting guide. It is comical, full of gifs, and it does provide some helpful thrifting tips that I still abide by. It has been nearly 3 years since I published that post, and I feel like I’ve grown as a writer/blogger, fashionista and thrifter. Thus, it is time for a more mature version of helping you all thrift like a pro.
What is thrifting like a pro? It means taking full advantage of second hand clothing in your wardrobe and daily outfits to achieve maximum style based on your own aesthetic. This is why I say thrifting is for everyone – you never know what you can find at a thrift store to merge with your style until you go thrifting! There are so many pieces that can be incorporated into your looks that you would never think of just by looking at what is trendy in retail stores this week.
Shopping at thrift stores also allows for you to build a timeless wardrobe, if done correctly. To own timeless pieces that can be worn throughout the year and over several years is definitely a Pro level move. I have created so many outfits by following these steps over the years, and I’m so glad to share them with you now. Let’s dive in to these tips so that you, too, can thrift like a pro!
Step 1: Understand your wardrobe and aesthetic before you go thrift shopping
What is your style? Take the time to look through your closet at each piece you own. What pieces do you not wear at all? What pieces do you regret buying? On the other hand, what pieces do you wear as often as possible? What pieces make you feel your best? When you have each piece designated in one of these categories (Pieces I don’t like vs Pieces I like), determine and write down what it is about each category that sets it apart. Get really specific about both, because once you determine what your style is, it will be easier to cleanse your closet of things that don’t serve your aesthetic, and it will also make shopping for new thrift finds easier for you.
Step 2: Make a list of things you want to add to your closet
Base what you want on things you already have – what can enhance your wardrobe? What are the things that you added to your like list that you could use more of? What are items that would compliment your like list. Do you have a lot of jeans but no tshirts or blouses? If so, your goal should be to make as many outfits out of those jeans you already own with a few new pieces – a button up blouse, a printed summery tank top, a vintage/retro blazer would make for several outfits once mixed and matched with your jeans.
Step 3: Get to know your local thrift stores
Understand their sales systems, when they put new stock on the racks, the best hours to go, etc. All of this comes from experience and frequenting the shops. You may learn that one store has more quality items than another, or one store has better prices and/or sales than another. Frequenting thrift stores will also keep you in the know of all of their sales, specials and offers. Very few thrift stores have an established online presence, so getting out and getting to know them is very beneficial. See if the thrift stores in your area have any social media accounts or email newsletters. If they do, follow them and sign up so that you can know about all of their latest news.
Step 4: Go to the thrift store – Explore every aisle
Now that you are finally at the thrift store, let’s talk about HOW to shop.
First, shop on a day when you have a lot of time available so that you don’t feel rushed.
Next, it is ok to go to the aisles that you are most comfortable with, such as the dress aisle if you love dresses. Realize, though, that a thrift store layout and merchandise placement is usually of no exact science like a retail store. For this reason, I encourage you to EXPLORE EVERY AISLE.
When you explore aisles that you are not used to, look for prints and colors that you love. Grab those up and save them for the next step! You never know how they can come in handy! For example, and oversized men’s jogger sweater or a vintage women’s jogger sweater in a fun print could be really cute for your fall wardrobe. Open your mind as you explore every aisle – the opportunities to make your wardrobe really pop are endless.
Step 5: Try it on!
Yes, get in the dressing room (hopefully the store has one!) and test it out. Try it on, not only because you can’t return it, but because you really need to see if this piece is something you want to invest in. Does it fit well? Will it coordinate with multiple pieces in your existing closet? Does it make you feel awesome? Ask these questions while in the store so that you don’t buy something you don’t want, and also so that you don’t pass up on something that looks better on you than it did on the hanger.
To Buy or Not To Buy
After following all of these steps you’ll either know if you want and need to buy it, or not. Some important things to remember are to not overbuy or go thrift shopping continuously just because the prices are cheap; always keep your ideal aesthetic (step 1) and desired pieces (step 2) that you need in mind; and just have fun! Thrifting is truly an exploration and treasure hunt to be enjoyed. Taking these simple steps will help you on your way to curating a closet with beautiful thrift finds to compliment every facet of your style!
Want more? Download the pdf worksheet version of this blog post! It will help you to record your answers to each step and track your progress as you actually go thrift shopping.
Stay tuned to Old World New for more ways to make thrifting your new go-to style. You can follow along in these places:
xoxo, dolls & dudes