In the Name of Fashion: How to Shop at the Thrift Store

In honor of National Thrifting Day July 7th!


Photo Credit Thrifting Denver
I, like most 20-something year old ladies just starting their professional careers, started having an early-life crisis. I had fallen into the pattern of wake up, go to work, come home, throw on some sweats, and watch reality TV. I would like to add emphasis on the "throw on some sweat pants" for the purposes of this post!

I realized I had fallen into a funk. I didn’t know why…but I just didn't FEEL like myself. And suddenly, I had an epiphany! I said, “Why can't I dress like my style icons Rihanna and Cassie? I might not be able to afford the exact same items, but I can recreate their looks!” So with the help of Pinterest, I started an idea board called "My Style."

I've always like the thrift store atmosphere. In the beginning, I was afraid to get clothes from there but in thinking about it, I dontate my old clothes to the thrift store. Just because it is second hand doesn't mean that it is poor quality or run down. People gain and lose weight, get taller, etc. So before passing by the thrift store, think about how some of those people are fashionable like you. We can't keep all the clothes we like forever.

Now, I thought I was alone in my new found style revolution. After sharing the my epiphany with a few friends I discovered that they'd been feeling the same way about themselves.. Who knew!?

So, rule number 1 of thrifting, HAVE AN IDEA BOARD! Taking some kind of inspiration with you to the thrift store is crucial. How else are you going to visualize key pieces while shopping? Don't try to remember, use technology!

Some options for making an idea board are:
  • Sign up for Pinterest (They have an iPhone app!)
  • Cute pictures out of magazines and paste them into a binder
  • Take photos and store them in your phone

Rule number 2, thrift with friends that are also trying to make a fashion statement (in their own way). Remember, your shopping buddy does NOT need to have the same fashion sense as you nor do they need to have the same taste. Fashion is in the eye of the beholder. Just find at least one friend that is ambitious enough to take a risk with you and not play it 'fashionably safe.'

Rule number 3, prior to making the trip and opening your wallet, ask around! Talk to people that go thrifting and want fashionable pieces, not just cheap clothes (a combo of both is always a plus). A fashionable friend and I explored a thrift store an hour away. Another risky friend of mine can find great things in any thrift store. Ask around or take a random leap! But don't only go to a thrift store that has online reviews.

Now once you pick your spot(s) and have a friend in the passenger seat, the last rule is to go in without a plan. I love going into the thrift store, starting one place, looking around and then circling back to your favorite spots. If you go in seeking a random find, why go in all organized? You find the best things when you’re looking for nothing. Keep your ideas in mind (see rule number 1), but don't go looking for a specific piece because you'll miss out on all the randomness that surrounds you!

So keep these tips in mind on your trip:
  • Go in with outfit inspirations in mind (or on your iPhone because Pinterest has an app!) not specific items.
  • Check out the purses and accessories; you never know what you'll find. (I found a great nude sling purse that happened to be real Coach for $30)
  • Don't be afraid of little DIY project. I found a great denim vest for $3 that I'm going to wash, rip, and repeat.
  • Don’t take the men's section for granted! I found a great pair of light wash jeans that I will wash, rip, sand, and repeat. They have great stuff and boyfriend jeans are hot!
  • Shop while in a "thrifting mood." And by “thrifting mood”, I mean eat a great lunch that gives you energy and inspires the hunt. Sometimes we ladies get in that mood where we don't want to search, we just want to find. You KNOW that mood!
  • Don't go thrifting if you’re not a "thrifter." It's okay if you turn your nose up at the thought of wearing used clothes. Check out places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Still great finds, are cheaper, and require a little searching.
  • Have fun! This should be fun and spark ideas. Not a dredging shopping experience.
  • Check out your local National Thrifting Day Events! Here's one in Baltimore, MD for this Saturday!

    So what's the best thing you've found at the thrift store? Let me know below!

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1 Response to In the Name of Fashion: How to Shop at the Thrift Store

July 7, 2012 at 11:30 AM

My best find was a great pair of light wash, men's jeans. They fit me almost perfectly! I'm in the process of cutting them up to resemble a look Cassie & Jessie J have worn!

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