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How I Thrift: Tips

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Look for Quality

I thrift for many reasons which I’ve outlined in my previous post, one of which is the ability to purchase better quality garments. When shopping at the thrift store, I look for high quality pieces - sometimes quality correlates with a brand (ie. Clarks shoes or Lululemon leggings) but other times, the brand doesn’t matter (it could be a handmade piece, a vintage brand, etc.). When looking for quality, I suggest analyzing the material (mainly linen or wool - that’s a good sign!), the hardware (like buttons and zippers) and the construction of the piece (seam lines, stitching). Purchasing quality pieces means they will last longer in your wardrobe which is great for your wallet and the environment. I wrote an in-depth blog post about finding quality at the thrift store, here.

This thrifted chunky knit sweater is a classic cut, style and colour that will never go out of style. The black booties are another thrift score that are good quality and a basic wardrobe staple for me.

Look for Classics

I want my pieces to last several seasons, not only in terms of quality but also in their styles. I tend to stick to simple colours like black and cream (mainly neutrals for me, but start up a colour palette that works for you!) as well as classic patterns like stripes and florals. I know those colours and patterns will stay relevant as time goes on and I can insert a more “stylish” piece into my outfits in the form of a scarf or an accessory that I also find via thrift. I also like to choose cuts that will be flattering and practical as I get older and that will fit if my weight fluctuates (cue the wrap dresses).

Don’t Give In

It’s easy to get into the “it’s only $2!” mode and then heading to the checkout with a cart full of items - but, my friends, REFRAIN. Don’t give in to buying something because it’s a “good” deal because generally - it’ll sit in your wardrobe only to be donated in a few months time. When thrifting, I try really hard to think consciously about my wardrobe: the colours, the styles, the shapes of my garments and to genuinely think if the new thrifted piece will add value to what I have. Most times, I go into the store with a mental list of items I want and I go over that list throughout my trip. Asking so many questions and considering many aspects helps me to avoid buying another t-shirt (simply because it was cheap).

Check the Put-Back Racks

I always check the areas near the fitting rooms and the put-back clothing racks around the store because chances are, they are full of really good items that just didn’t fit someone quite right. Someone has already done all the searching for you and you can swoop in and grab that find! This method doesn’t always yield results but it’s a quick and easy start to a potentially successful thrift trip!

Looking for classics at the thrift store can sometimes be hard because trend pieces are more often donated, but put in the effort to hunt for it and it’ll pop up. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t always find stellar pieces - the search is part of the fun of thrifting! Keep in mind that most thrifters have been building their wardrobe thrift finds for years: they have had many good trips and probably quite a few unsuccessful ones. You don’t always need to leave the store with something! Most importantly - have fun with it! Thrifting is a great way to reuse and recycle, to save money and to build a wardrobe of unique items.

Happy thrifting!


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