Do you like thrifting? Shopping at thrift stores, resale shops, and consignment stores can be a fun and rewarding adventure. Who doesn’t want to snag an awesome designer piece at the deal-of-the-century price?
While some love the thrill of the hunt, others find the thrifting experience frustrating. It’s a good idea to have an idea what to look for when thrifting for clothes. So, here’s a helpful guide with 13 tips to help make your resale shopping fun, enjoyable, and worthwhile.
1 – Shop by location.
Resale shops that are located in better neighborhoods tend to have higher end merchandise. More expendable income can often equal to better name brands and nicer stuff. You’ll ultimately want to visit potential shops a few times, and determine if they carry what you’re shopping for. Then you’ll know your favorite spots.
2 – Pick a shop that suits you.
You’ll want to find a shop that is organized the way you like to shop. Some stores organize by color, some by size, and some do both; and some stores don’t organize their wares at all. You may be delighted to find a sea of blue tops, but if it takes a long time to sift through dozens of shirts to find a few in your size, or none at all, then you may decide it’s just not worth your time. Some may find an unorganized shop to be a fantastic place to find hidden treasures, while others may find that to be a tedious waste of time.
3 – Shop often.
Resale shops will get merchandise in weekly, so there’s almost always something new to be found. Once you’ve found a few shops you like, plan to stop in monthly or weekly to check out their new stock.
4 – Shop off social media.
Want to see a little of what a shop carries, or see some of their great new arrivals? Check out the store’s social media pages. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the top places to check out, and stores will often provide links to their social media accounts from their website. Some stores also give you the option to purchase directly off social media if the item is too good to pass up.
5 – Thrift on vacation.
Going on a business trip or a vacation? Check out resale shops where you’re traveling to, especially if located in a big city or a vacation destination. If you have the time to go shopping, plan your excursion ahead of time to find shops that might appeal to you. If you think you might score big, leave some space in your luggage, pack an empty duffle bag to fill with treasures, or consider having them shipped home.
6 – Shop with weather changes.
Many resale shops will clearance their merchandise at the change of seasons, to make room for the incoming season. They may choose to discount closer to the actual season change, as they can choose to be more flexible than department and mall stores. You can score some great deals for your wardrobe next year – or maybe find fashions you can still wear now.
7 – Shop weekdays.
Most shops intake, process and put out new merchandise on the weekdays, ready for their weekend warriors. So you can be the first to see new arrivals, and have the best choice. Plus, weekends tend to be much busier, so your shopping experience may be more pleasant.
8 – Have a list.
If you’re shopping for specific items you need in your wardrobe, bring a list so you can keep on track. If you have a unique piece you’d like to find something to wear with, bring it along. Most associates will be delighted to help you create an outfit, but be sure to ask first before bringing an item into a store. Some shops go one step further with offering wish lists for things you want, and will contact you when an item comes in.
9 – Try before you buy.
Always try on! Be sure to give yourself enough time to try your finds on, even if it’s from a brand you trust and a size you usually wear. Some clothes may have experienced shrinkage, often from washing and drying; some knits or sweaters may have stretched from extended hanging. Plus, there’s a chance that some items may have been altered. So unless it’s new with retail store tags attached, be prepared that the fit might be a little different.
10 – Dress the part.
To streamline your thrifting excursion, dress with intense shopping in mind. Wear clothes that aren’t bulky, are close fitting (think yoga wear), and are easy to pull clothes over if dressing rooms aren’t an option. Put your shopping essentials in a small crossbody bag to keep your hands free and your wallet safe. It’s also a good idea to carry a tape measure for faster assessment of length. Whether you’re petite or tall, pants length can be an issue, and measuring potential pants is much faster than having to try them all on.
11 – XYZ. (you know, examine your zipper!)
Inspect your finds before you buy! While many shops inspect their merchandise prior to adding them to the sales floor, some issues can be missed. You may find that some pre-owned merchandise may have defects, and while some pieces are still very worth buying, some may be too much and not worth the cost. Check that all buttons are present, zippers work, knobbiness (or pilling) is minimal, and that there are little to no spots detected. Since most resale shops have all sales final policies, a quick check prior to purchasing will be completely worth your time.
12 – Sign up for email.
You can find out what’s happening at your favorite shops by signing up for their email or newsletters. It’s easy, free, and you can always opt out later if you don’t shop there anymore. You may get exclusive first looks at new arrivals, score exclusive coupons, and find out new sales first. That’s a win-win.
13 – Have an open mind.
It’s good to have an idea of what you’re shopping for, but it’s also a good idea to be open to trying out fashions you wouldn’t normally gravitate to. You may be delighted to find that shirt that looked weird on the hanger has become your new favorite top. Plus, it’s also good to check out selections one to two sizes above what you normally wear. Because some clothes experience shrinkage, some clothes that are marked a Large may fit like a Medium. Also, some high end designers clothes fit smaller than normal department store clothes, so looking past your normal clothing size may unearth some new treasures.
Always keep an open mind when shopping resale shops. Almost every store is different in what they carry, how they look, and in their management style. Resale store owners do what they do because they love to thrift themselves, they love to find beautiful merchandise, and they love to offer their great finds to the public at a fair price. So stay calm, and thrift on!