I sat down and thought about this the other day – I’ve been thrift store shopping for 32 years! Even when I worked at Nordstrom, I still refused to pay full price for clothes that were intended to last one season and one season only. It seemed so wasteful…
Having always been somewhat fashion conscious (HAHAHA for those of you who know me somewhat?!?!?!?), I started trying to duplicate the current trends by purchasing similar items at resale shops. Since I was working in merchandising for a number of years, I realized that it’s totally true: fashion goes in cycles – why pay full retail for a copy when the original prototype is far less expensive and generally of better quality? Maybe because it’s risky…I get it.
Sure, you can take the easy way out – hit Buffalo Exchange, Plato’s Closet, Spanky’s Closet, or a smaller local consignment shop in your area – there are experts in every store to help you put outfits together. But if you want to really save some bucks, help out a non-profit, and feel amazing about your thrifting abilities, then let me help remove some of the risk for you.
Here are my Tips for Fun and Fashionable Thrifting:
Have a visual – know what you’re looking for. Take photos of outfits or pieces you’d like to approximate. I always shoot photos of creative outfits in the mall – it’s a good place to start! The crazy print dress I’m wearing (Goodwill on Woodstock – $7.99) was a very close copy of a Nordstrom designer dress on display in City Center.
Dress for success – wear a good basic black tank and black leggings as a base. The tank allows you to try on jackets or sheer items over your base, and leggings gives the appearance of tights under a dress as well as that extra waistband that must be considered. You can assume you’ll be walking for miles. Bring extra thin and thick socks in case you find a pair of new shoes to try on.
Be prepared – Carb load – be well fed before you shop, Or you’ll make goofy decisions. Bring water, as clothing is dry and trying on clothes will dehydrate you. Shopping is dirty work – bring antiseptic wipes or diaper wipes to clean your hands. Bring a recyclable shopping bag to carry your treasures home in.
Budget wisely – it’s easy to end up overpaying: remember what things are worth generally and personally. If you NEED it, it’s worth more. If it’s just “interesting,” think twice before spending more than a few bucks. Keep a list of the items you are looking for, and realize that there will be a few awesome surprises you won’t be able to pass up. The sweaters shown are a good example – on the left, black angora blend from Deseret Industries $14.99. On the right – Macy’s acrylic, same style $69.50.
Land of no returns – don’t buy a maybe unless you have money to spare. Get what you came for or a nice surprise you didn’t know you needed til you saw it. Don’t get distracted – if you can’t visualize yourself using the item ASAP, it might never make it out of the closet. Thrift stores don’t make it easy to return items.
If you’d like to come along on my next fashion adventure, send us a comment!