Thursday, October 22, 2015

practical tips for thrift-store shopping, part ii

A little over a year ago (time flies, amirite??) I wrote a post filled with tips and tricks that I've picked up while thrift shopping over the years. Lately, as I've been shopping around for new clothes for fall and winter, I've found a few more that I'm so excited to share with you! I feel like a lot of people think that thrift stores are only good for vintage finds - but you can find name brand stuff just as easily, too!
A lot of the tips from my last post still apply, so rather than offer more things to remember (maybe I should write a book!) I thought I'd change it up a little and do a post on what kinds of clothes, exactly, you can find when you go thrifting.

(Spoiler alert: everything!)

thrifted from this outfit: jeans and red cardi

To be fair, and for the sake of honesty, a nice pair of jeans can be EXTREMELY hard to find at a thrift store. I would say that four times out of five, I hunt through the whole rack and find nothing. But, if you're willing to be patient, you will eventually succeed! (or such is my experience, anyway.)

A couple of things to note: To make the jean-shopping experience easier for yourself, don't examine every single pair of jeans in your size. At my thrift store, they hang on a rack - I start by flipping through quite quickly, looking for the colour and type of denim that I know I'll wear. If it's too light or too dark for my taste, I don't even bother to pull out the pants and check the style and/or length. This makes the whole process move a LOT faster.
Something else I like to do is check sizes above and below where I normally am, if I'm not having much luck. Sometimes jeans have weird sizes, or the store attendants make a mistake when reorganizing merchandise. I always hope I'll get lucky!

thrifted: aztec scarf
thrifted: flowered scarf, striped shirt, jeans (also, what is my face even doing in this picture??)

I adore scarves. Light summer scarves, fringed scarves for fall and spring, and heavy chunky knits for fall - scarves worn around the neck or shoulders, looped twice or three times or not at all!! I have a problem. Usually I restrain myself from checking out the scarf section of our thrift store, because I have waay too many already (!!) but if I want to treat myself I'll go over an have a peek. I feel like this is an under-appreciated side of thrift stores - go look at the scarves, people!

Athletic Wear
Buying yoga pants at thrift stores can be tricky, because tbh, most of them are worn out and dingy. I have managed to find a few nice pairs, though - the trick is to check for pilling along the inner seams, holes or ripped threads along the outer seams and waistband, and (if they're wide-leg pants) worn out hems or cuffs. Same goes for jackets - pilling is the most common "flaw" in almost every fabric, and no matter how nice the piece of clothing is, pilling will cause it to look old and worn, even if it's otherwise perfect.

Here I am walking... somewhere. Not really sure what's happening.

thrifted: EVERYTHING

This is not as gross as it sounds, I promise. If you decide to look for shoes at the thrift store (which I often do,) it is extremely important to check the wear and tear of the shoe before putting it on your foot. Check the outside and bottom of the shoe for scuffs first - this is the easiest way to see how much it's been worn. Then, give it a quick feel inside to see what the sole feels like. Is it already shaped by someone else's foot? You probably don't want it on your own.

thrifted: ruffle tank top, bootcut jeans, blazer

I feel like this is probably the most obvious item on my list, but still worth mentioning! You can find so many different kinds of sweaters at thrift stores - cardigans, big cozy hoodies, long sweaters, short sweaters, blazers/jackets, vintage sweaters, and name-brand finds with the tags still on!! (my favourite!) Hint: check out the men's section, too! Perfect for big comfy sweaters in all kinds of fun patterns and styles that you won't necessarily see in the women's section. Just like with athletic wear, watch out for pilling! It's super common with sweaters (as are pulled threads and gaping holes, especially in wider knit fabrics) and it makes me really sad.

How do you feel about thrifting? What kinds of clothing do you have the most trouble finding? (Also, I tried to mix prints in outfit #3 by pairing a flowered scarf with a striped shirt -- did I do it right?? Please assist.)


**all photos taken by my beautiful sister!!


  1. Great post. When thrifting in large overwhelming type stores, I usually flip through racks quickly in search of fabrics that are of high quality and not worn. It is the fastest way to weed through the racks before checking size and fit.

    1. Susanna, you're so right! That's a great tip to remember - I use it a lot when shopping, too. :)

  2. These (including your previous post) are some great tips! I don't go thrift shopping very often, because I typically go looking for something specific and leave disappointed. I really need to adjust this mindset and go more often! I've found some great things like a brand-new pair of yoga pants. And thrift stores are both environmentally friendly and ethical, which is a huge huge plus in my book.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Serena!! I love thrifting SO much - glad you found the tips helpful! Let me know if you have more success in the future!!!

  3. Your style is fabulous! And your tips are great- I do a lot of thrift shopping for theatre stuff, so these tips are VERY helpful!
    Also I can't remember if I've commented here before but I love your blog so much OMG. <3
    Grace Anne :) <3 //

    1. Grace, your comment put a smile on my face! thank you so much - so glad you liked the post! I don't do this kind of thing here very often so I'm glad it worked!! Haha.

  4. Yes, thrifting, or op shopping as it's called down under, is the best! It's always such a good feeling to get quality clothes for so cheap. I have to restrain myself from buying clothes that I actually don't need... like I already have too many. :P I think one of the best things about op shopping is that there's always something new, something different, something you never expected. One of my favourite sections to browse is always the books! I've found so many great and unexpected books at op shops, sometimes for as little as 20c!
    And I think your mixing prints looks great! Also those shoes are cute too. :)

  5. Your style is seriously the cutest! And great tips, too.


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