click here to find out why), but I actually wasn't very good at thrifting until this year. I remember begging my ex-boyfriend to take me to the thrift shops in Orange County when I would go visit him because I wanted to see if I could find some cool stuff like all the fashion vloggers on YouTube. And each and every single time I would leave the thrift stores disappointed or with only one item (which still counts as disappointed). Somehow I was convinced that I just sucked at thrifting and that I should stick to traditional retail shopping, but it turns out that I was just not going into this with the right mindset. In this post I'm going to share with you 5 easy tips to make your thrift shopping experience a hell of a lot more enjoyable and worth your time.
Let me be completely honest, thrift shopping is a lot more time consuming than shopping at your favorite store. If you're a frequent shopper at a specific store, then you most likely have the layout somewhat memorized but that's definitely not the case at a thrift store. The layouts will vary a lot from store to store and the merchandise will change quite often. You definitely don't want to go to a thrift store with only 10-20 minutes to browse because you'll most likely leave empty handed. I personally give myself around an hour to an hour and a half to browse each store and also try things on.
2. Search colors/categories that you actually like
One of the reasons why I sucked so much at thrifting was because I would waste a lot of my time rummaging through crap that I wouldn't wear. If you don't wear tube tops, then don't look through the tube tops. If you're not a fan of oversized men shirts, then why are you looking through racks of men shirts? Nowadays I hit up the blouses rack, the jeans rack, and accessories area since those are the things that I personally want and like. I may deviate a little and look through another rack or two, but I don't bother looking at things I just don't like. If your store happens to separate tops and bottoms by color, then you can just look through the colors that you like and wear. I personally tend to browse the black, white, gray, and denim clothing since I'm boring like that.
Another reason why I thought I sucked at thrifting was because I never actually tried on anything at thrift stores. Not trying on clothing is a bad habit that I've developed over the years, and I've been trying to kick that habit to the curb since I'm working on becoming a more sustainable shopper. Sometimes items at the thrift store have a dated silhouette that you may not be too familiar with, or the sizing is not very accurate to today's standards. You might come across a M top that looks like an XS because it's from 10 years ago. That's why it's important to try on clothing! A lot of thrift stores have dressing rooms which makes trying on clothing ridiculously easy, but you will run across a few that don't have dressing rooms. If you encounter a store that doesn't have a dressing room then I would recommend to try on clothing over what you're wearing. Tops, sweaters, and even some dresses are easy to try on over clothing. Jeans on the other hand will be quite tough... PS. If you want to try on shoes make sure to wear or have socks.
4. Venture out into the men's section
I know as women we've been somewhat conditioned to stay in our section at the store, but there's some amazing gems to be found in the men's section. For example, the blue oversized button down that I wore in my 3 Ways to Style video is actually a men's shirt. Check out the men's section if you're a fan of loose button downs, thicker belts, or boxy printed t-shirts. And if you're worried about "what people are going to think," don't be. I assure you that no one will give a crap that you're a girl browsing the men's section. Men just aren't fussed with that, and half of the time they look like they're bored out of their minds at any store.
Let's me be real with you, thrift stores do not look like Zara. Most items have been previously worn, some might have minor damages, and you will run across a questionable stain or two. You might be lucky and find a brand new item with tags, but it doesn't happen very often. The clientele also varies a lot and you might run across people who appear like they're hogging the whole store. A lot of stores are also very dusty and disorganized, but what are you expecting? The thrift shops I go to are cheap, which is exactly why I'm going to those places to begin with. If I wanted a fancier second hand experience I would go to an expensive consignment shop or just shop on Poshmark/Etsy/eBay. If you go to a thrift store not expecting a high-end (or even mall-like) shopping experience, then you won't be too shocked or disappointed by any of these things. By this point I've come to embrace the whole thrift shopping experience, especially digging through racks to find gems for my closet.
These are the five tips that helped me become a better thrift shopper! I really hope you enjoyed my tips and found them helpful.
Please let me know if you want a to see a list of the San Diego thrift stores that I go and recommend. Also, I would love to know what some of your thrift shopping tips are so leave them in the comments below.