In a world of fast fashion and “swipe to shop,” there’s something so refreshing about walking into a thrift store and being confronted by a sea of items in an array of prints, colors, styles, and sizes, all ranging in age from “gently-loved” to “fabric-so-old-it’s-practically-calcified.”

I love thrifting, mostly because I like the idea that the clothes I’m wearing have lived full lives and are now ready to be re-purchased and re-styled by me; worn in an entirely new way.

I do realize, however, that not everyone feels the same way when they walk into a secondhand store. Most people likely feel overwhelmed by the overall quantity and disorganization of a Goodwill or a Salvation Army. But! Have no fear! I’ve got you covered with some top tips on how to sift through the madness and find your own thrifted gems.

TIP 1 | CHOOSE YOUR THRIFT DAY WISELY

Most secondhand shops put out monthly calendars detailing which items are on sale each day. A lot of the time it comes down to specific color tags, which can be kind of random, but there are certain days of the month when everything is 50% off with no exclusions. Thrift shopping is all about getting the most bang for your buck, so you might as well go when you can save even more!

TIP 2 | KEEP AN OPEN MIND

Thrifting isn’t like shopping online or at the mall. I rarely go into a secondhand store looking for an outfit for a specific occasion or event, because if I do, 9 times out of 10 I’ll leave disappointed. My most successful thrift outings happen when I shop with an open mind and simply let the pieces jump out at me. This way I end up finding both basic and statement pieces whilst still pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to fill up your cart! You can always narrow down your picks later.

TIP 3 | TRY. IT. ON.

I know this may seem weird and icky, but trying on used clothes for 10 seconds is not gonna kill you. I promise.

Ever since I started trying things on, I leave stores way happier and with great finds. Before, I would just take a chance, buy, and end up never wearing the dud pieces. Don’t waste your money! Taking clothes for a test run just makes the experience more fun. Once you’re in the fitting room, create two piles: one for the stuff that you actually might buy, and another for the stuff that you can’t believe you picked up in the first place.

A note: when sorting through your ‘maybe’ pile, always check for stains. This will further help you widdle down your selection. And remember: some clothes are worth a bit of staining/distressing! Just give your new babies a run through the wash when you get them home to get rid of that oh-so-lovely thrift store smell.

TIP 4 | DO YOUR RESEARCH

If you’re like me and you love taking existing trends and making them your own, then secondhand stores are a great place to start. Before you embark on your thrifting journey, take a look at Pinterest or your favorite IG profiles to see what’s trending. Then, once you hit the shops, keep your eyes peeled for similar prints, patterns, shapes, and textures. You’ll be shocked by what you find. Plus, hello, the ‘90s are back! So why not go straight to the source and get clothing that is actually from the era?!

TIP 5 | MORE THAN JUST CLOTHES

I know this is all about thrifted fashion, but I can’t not mention my other thrifted love: home decor! I’ve found so many cute vintage pieces for my house that would have cost a fortune firsthand. If you’re a knick-knack lover like me, the thrift store will quickly become your fave place. I love to keep cans of spray paint around too, just to bring life to an otherwise blah object. Sometimes you get lucky with a piece that needs no sprucing up, but just remember: when you’re shopping secondhand you need to be prepared to give items a little love!

Now get out there and find some one-of-a-kind thrifted treasures of your own!

-kb

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