Thrift Store Shopping

Going to the thrift store has become a big deal lately, which I find very strange considering the fact that I’ve been an advocate of thrift store shopping since middle school. My grandma has this great community thrift store by her house that I frequent pretty regularly thanks to its huge selection of jeans and sweaters, and good brands. It was never a big deal to me and I never thought much of it, beyond the excitement I’d feel at finding a pair of jeans for $10. Now, suddenly, everyone seems to shop at thrift stores. They willingly say that the top they’re wearing is thrifted, or boast about how cheap their outfit is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that more people are willing to buy from thrift stores rather than buy new clothing, but sometimes what they’ve bought is just too obviously from a thrift store. You want to get the low prices and reuse old clothing, but not at the expense of looking like a walking thrift store.
In my years of thrifting, I have found that there is a right and a wrong way to shop at thrift stores, just as there is at ‘normal’ stores. The difference between shopping at the two different types of stores is that at a thrift store, you really need to check out how worn something looks. Look at the fabric—is it pilling? Is it washed out? Is it threadbare? These are all important questions to ask because they can’t be fixed by a cycle through the washing machine. The piece may be cute and perfectly priced, but if it looks worn out then you will too if you wear it.
You also need to check fit. More and more thrift stores are offering dressing rooms, but my favorite one doesn’t. It does have a mirror or two, which helps, but you still can’t properly try items on. So, in this case, make sure you wear something that you can easily throw a shirt or sweater on top of, or you can slide a pair of pants or a skirt over. I like to wear leggings with a tank top, topped with a shirt, when thrifting because these are good base layers. You could also take your measurements and measure the clothes at the store if you don’t want to try them on. Either way, somehow make sure that the clothes will fit you and don’t rely on the tag.
Something else that ‘normal’ stores don’t usually have: regular sale days every week. Check your favorite thrift store for its deal days, or see if it has coupons online. You may already get a discount as it is a thrift store after all, but there are ways to get the clothes at an even lower price, so be smart about when you shop. Also check to see when the store brings out new batches of clothes so you can get first pick. There’s a kind of competitive atmosphere when thrift shopping that, in my opinion, makes it even more fun than shopping at the mall. Happy thrifting!

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