Over the years of blogging and since I started thrifting (in high school), I've had people ask me time and time again; "How do you find anything good thrift in stores?" The chief complaint I've heard is that it's too hard to sift through the volume of clothes and accessories to find the good stuff. So I thought I would put together this little "how-to" for everyone who is interested in becoming a master thrifter. If you haven't seen our Fall Picnic post yet, you should know that everything you see below was thrifted at Potter's House Thrift in Fayetteville. It's true it can be difficult to find the best items when thrifting, but there is a sort of formula that I follow to get in and out in a timely fashion and with the best items in hand.
Five Steps to Becoming a Thrifting Master
Know what you are looking for. This is a very important step. You can definitely just wander into a thrift store just to look and enjoy potentially finding a great piece but I find that I have much better outcomes when I know what I am wanting to buy. Am I looking for a beautiful vintage purse? Or maybe a jean jacket or a great skirt? Knowing what you want is key. When I was pulling outfits for this photoshoot, I knew almost exactly what I wanted and the color scheme I was looking for. This made the process so much easier.
Start with one piece and build around it. If you are planning to put together an entire outfit, find a great piece then build around it. In the outfit I'm wearing below, I first found the green skirt. I loved the color and silhouette. I then found the right pieces to make it into an outfit.
Look for quality. Finding quality items is really key. It can be your biggest challenge, but these pieces are there. They are always there. It's really not about digging, it's more about being able to spot something that looks like it's been taken care of. It can really help to spot that quality if you follow the first two steps, essentially narrowing down your search. For example, after picking out our outfits I really wanted to find some leather loafers to pair with them. Since I knew the style I wanted, it wasn't too hard to spot the loafers that were in good condition and were real leather.
Always go through the dresses. The one section of the thrift store that will always be worth your time is looking through the dress racks. In comparison to tops and pants, dress and skirt racks are easier to sift through because there is way less volume. I almost always find a really cool vintage dress (like the one Melinda is wearing below), by putting the time into sifting through these racks.
Be realistic and don't give up on your first try. You have to be realistic about what are you are wanting to find. I usually know that I'm looking for quality vintage pieces and most of the time I can find them. But don't be discouraged if you strike out. Thrift stores have loads of volume and the merchandise is changing almost everyday. And if you find something amazing but it's the wrong size, buy it for your bestie. She will love how unique it is.