As we start to realise the impact of buying fast fashion, and the value of buying less and buying better-quality pieces, our shopping habits change. An indicator of this is the fact that the resale market is set to grow exponentially by 2023, to a value of almost two billion USD. Thrift shopping is a great way to take part in that resale market, and extend the life of clothing that already exists. But, if you’re not sure where to start and find the process overwhelming, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your experience at a thrift shop. In honour of World Thrift Day, ead on for our top six thrift shopping tips.
Trying prospective buys on is super important at a thrift shop, because sizes can vary and you likely want to avoid returning. If you’re already averse to trying stuff on, make it less of a hassle by wearing something that’s easy to take off and put back on. That means a cardigan, slip-on boots, and jeans or leggings. Along with that prep, make sure you bring your own bag and some cash in case the thrift shop doesn’t take credit or debit.
If you love a coat, but aren’t so keen on the buttons, that’s an easy fix. If you found the perfect pair of jeans, but the length is wrong, that’s also an easy fix. The same goes for light damage to a bag or a pair of shoes. Every item you buy doesn’t have to be 100% perfect, and remembering that you can change small things, either by yourself or with the help of a tailor, is a great outlook to have when you’re shopping.
Going thrift shopping with a very specific idea of what you want is never a good idea. You still do need to have a mission and a rough idea of what you want, but be prepared to be flexible. Think, “I need a knitted jumper in a pastel colour,” rather than, “I need a pale pink, cable-knit, cropped jumper with a mock neck.” If you get stuck in a very particular idea of what you want, it might close you off to similar silhouettes and colour palettes that you might like even better.
You could literally spend hours sorting through the rails and shelves at a thrift shop, but that isn’t always productive. First, start with a scan of the area to see if the colours, patterns and shapes are right from you before you dive in. Then, focus in on the rails that appeal to your taste and aesthetic the most, and spend your time giving them a thorough search.
Even though it is important to look at an item for how you can potentially alter it, it’s also important to be picky. The pickier you are, the more likely you are to wear an item rather than discarding it next time you go to put it on. That means really considering whether or not you love the piece, trying it on at the shop, and thinking seriously about how it will fit into your current wardrobe. Also, if you can’t find something you truly love on one visit, know that the stock at a thrift shop is changing every day, and make a plan to go back. Ask the people who work in the shop when they bring in new pieces, and do your best to wait. The perfect piece could be in that next batch.
If you had a successful thrift shopping experience, and you scored a great piece, apply the rule that you should always use when you go shopping: get rid of one thing in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn in ages. That will minimise clutter, and help you evaluate what you actually wear on a regular basis.
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