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The Art of Thrifting - How To Guide

Thrift shopping has become “the cool kids” way of updating their wardrobe and I have always adored thrifting.  It’s one of my favorite hobbies since the age of 15 and allowed me to express my individual style.

My dad could never understand my obsession with consignment/thrift shops.  He gave me money for clothing but instead of spending it at McCraes (which is now Belks) I would ask my mom to drive me to the thrift shop.

I think it was the experience of understanding clothing construction that attracted me to this hobby.  In the process of shopping, I learned a lot about fabrics and fixtures.  I also learned how to properly care for clothing because some items need to be dry cleaned while others required fabric softener.

Thankfully my mom never rejected my obsession because she also enjoys thrifting.  To this day we call it “the closet” and when I visit my parents we turn this into a major event.  For us, it’s a bonding activity and a perfect opportunity to neglect the budget planner for a little while, and still somehow save money!

I do recognize that thrifting’s not for everyone but I think it’s about strategy.  There’s an art to thrifting that many may not understand and some of us have the true knack of finding a good deal.  I want to help those who may not understand how to thrift and share in this experience.

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Thrifted Skirt, Handbag, Belt, and Dress

 

Step Number One:  I read fashion magazines like Instyle or People StyleWatch to recognize what’s fashionable for the season.   When I’m shopping, I will instantly gravitate towards that trendy pair of white seersucker pants hanging on the rack.

Step Number Two:  Know your body type before shopping consignment/thrift stores.  Entering a thrift store can be overwhelming because there’s so much merchandise.  You want to select items that compliment your figure and NOT because it’s a designer blouse.  Nothing’s worse than paying $12 dollars for something that doesn’t work and you can NOT take back to the store.

Step Number Three:  Search for quality fabrics or what I like to call (this is my fashion degree moment) natural fibers.  They tend to hold up well in the course of wearing and look chic.

Step Number Four:  Always, Always, Always, Always, overlook the garment.  Do not purchase anything without searching the garment from top to bottom.  For example, if you have a blazer in your basket search the pockets for tears, look at the buttons to see if one’s missing, or whether there’s a hole in the fabric.  This is a very important step to thrifting.

Step Number Five:  This may come as a surprise but thrift shops actually have sale days.  Check with the sales associates or look around the store for sales.  Also, keep up with the store discounts; for example, if a ticket has a red sticker your item could be 50% off.

You’re probably asking what type of items have I found while thrifting?  Well,  you’ve actually seen a few of the items on this site but I’ve purchased a fur coat (my first one in graduate school) Louis Vuitton wallet, Ralph Lauren sweaters, BCBG pumps, vintage sunglasses and clutch purses, denim jeans, wool plaid swing coat (my favorite in college) knee boots, and the list goes on!

Nothing says “chic” better than mixing vintage couture and fabulous accessories.