1. Go with a wish list in mind. Start there. I always have a running wish list in my head of items I would love to find and add to my wardrobe. It could be a white blazer, or leopard flats, or a fur vest (all recently on my list), but the important thing is knowing what is on your list. When I go to a thrift store, I keep those items in the front of my mind while I browse. I may be looking for a fur vest, so I will start in the vests or outerwear section of the store. Then as I browse, I’ll keep my eye out for other interesting or unexpected treasures. Then I move onto the skirts if I am looking for a pleated skirt. I may not find anything on my list in one trip, but by keeping my mental list out, I will find something if it is there.
2. Comb sections you wouldn’t expect. Look in kid’s and men’s sections. Once I have gone through my mental checklist, I often will look in unexpected sections of the store. You can find some of the best treasures in the men’s or children’s sections. I don’t always find shirts that are big enough, but often you can find the coolest vintage graphic or baseball tees in the XL boy’s section. I always check the men’s sweaters in size small or medium for cool oversized sweaters that are so in right now. The men’s belt and hat sections also usually have better find’s than the women’s.
4. Take a risk. You can afford to re-donate it or throw it away if the refashion or fit doesn’t work at home. You can’t always try things on at smaller thrift stores or you don’t have the time. Sometimes you will find things that don’t fit yet, but you can see the vision in them. I found the best dress the other day that had quite a few brown stains on it that I had no idea if I could get out. The great thing about thrifting is that you can usually afford to try it out and afford for it to not work too. I did happen to get those stains out so the gamble was well worth it. But I also bought a purse without smelling the inside until I got home. Once I found out it smelled like cat pee- it was a goner, and guess what? Oh well, it was less than a dollar!
5. Try stuff on if possible. Like I said, you can’t always do this, but if you can try it on. You eliminate some of the risk of it not fitting and can then be more selective in what you bring home.
Looking for Part 2? Find it here.