Monday, September 20, 2010

Thrifting 101

Thrifting is not for the faint at heart. Some people, like myself, find no greater pleasure than that of a tweed 1950's cape that cost $5 or pair of leather shorts for $12 or faux fur jacket for $8... but I digress. Hitting up racks at thrift and vintage shops to create one-of-a-kind ensembles for insanely low prices can be a natural high. So check out my guide to finding the best vintage and thrifted goods.

Thrift Shops~ Thrift shop merchandise can come from just about any era and price point. Most thrift shop items are donated so be sure to pay close attention for any stains or tears. Thrift stores are usually cheaper than vintage and consignment shops.

Vintage Shops~  Vintage stores typically have decades of trends to chose from. They usually hand select their merchandise from wholesale retailers of used clothing, swap meets, vintage fairs and estate sales or flea markets. Prices are typically higher than thrift stores.

Consignment Shops~ At consignment shops individuals sell their used clothing through a dealer who takes a percentage of the profit. Most shops won’t accept merchandise unless it looks like new. Because of this, the items sell at a higher price than those found at thrift shops. Since the dealers must share their profits, they want to get the highest price possible and typically sell high-end goods.

Shopping Tips
  1. Think about building your wardrobe instead of finding complete outfits. 
  2. Choose you location wisely. Thrift stores is upscale neighborhoods usually have tons of upscale merchandise. Stores in urban areas often have fabulous treasures as well but don't be afraid to go into the burbs. 
  3. Go often (you can also take this a step further and become friendly with the staff so they let you know when they put new merchandise out). You probably won't find something every single time you go to these places so make a stop every chance you get. 
  4. Look thoroughly. Its very easy to miss a rack because from a far nothing catches your eye but look anyway and don't forget about the men's section. 
  5. Try to only buy things you know you will wear multiple times. 
  6. Examine each item carefully. The clothing is used so there may be tears that can't be fixed ad holes that can't be removed. 
  7. Find out the stores return policy. Just in case you don't notice something until you get home. 
  8. Be creative. Small alternations can make a huge difference. So don't rule something out because its a size too big or too long for your liking. If its only $2, it won't hurt to take it to a tailor to make it fit/look exactly how you want it.  
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