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Thrifting Tips

Here is my little guide to thrift store shopping.  It is tried and true (well at least for me).  The amount of amazing finds within your grasp ….well they’re countless. 

Scope out your stores. Places like the Arc have 80% of their merchandise on sale on Saturdays.  If your thrift store doesn’t have a discount day, go ahead and ask when they restock their shelves so that you get first pick!

1.  First thing is your gear.  Make sure you are comfortable.  Slip on shoes are a must in case you want to try something on.  I also like loose clothing; if something is an “iffy’ find I won’t try it on if I have to win a gold medal in gymnastics to get out of my outfit. 

2.  I always start in the nick-nack area.  There are some great finds hiding in here.  My attention span is a little short to save this section for the end.  Be aware of what you need in your house; but more importantly what you don’t need! Ceramic cats are tempting but not when they are the only type of decoration in your house.

3.  The next section to go to is the accessories. Be aware of QUALITY!  I can’t tell you how many fake Chanel bags I have seen.  Also know your brands when you go thrifting.  Does a thrift store employee know to mark up a Coach bag to $20.00?  Most definitely. Do most thrift store employees know what a Yves Saint Laurent bag is?Most likely they do not.  My best thrift find was a YSL bag in mint condition for $10.00 circa the 70's or 80’s.

Never ever skip looking at the belts.  You might find something awesome.  Or more importantly you may find a vintage Christian Dior belt for $5.00. Feel for quality.  You don’t have to look at every belt, but definitely touch every belt.  The difference between genuine leather and pleather is uncanny.  You feel real leather; you check the brand and BAM Vintage Christian Dior in your closet.

A scarf is the perfect accessory for any outfit.  I have yet to find a high-end scarf at a thrift store.  Though they are so perfect to use as a summer top or even some pretty scrap cloth.  Don’t take this section for granted.

4.  Now we get to the meat and bones of the thrift store.  The clothing!! Look at absolutely everything. Leave no muumuu unturned. Try on everything you find even remotely cute.  It might not all fit due to the difference in sizes over the years, however have a 100% chance to make something amazing by up-cycling any piece of cloth you find.  Look for silks, leathers, and chiffon, nice woven fabrics and business suits.  Thrift stores are also perfect to find fashions that you may not be comfortable buying or even wearing yet.  Not wearing something that cost $5.00 is a lot less of a mental burden that something you spent $50.00 on.  If you are looking to make a collar for a shirt take a look in the men's department instant collar to diy.  Leave no clothing section unturned.


5.  Personally I have had better luck with garage sales for furniture rather than thrift stores.  There is always a chance that something is hiding there though.  It is also rather easy to paint a lamp and buy a new shade to create something perfect for your home.  With all the different paints at the hardware store now it also makes it incredibly easy to refurbish a piece of furniture.  That perfect end table could be right in front of you with a little work.


6.  Never ever forget to look at the jewelry.  Costume jewelry is usually plentiful.  Even if its broken you can re-purpose most of it.  Earrings can be made into magnets, brooches and even buttons.

7.  Look at umbrellas !!! Seems weird I know.  Recently I found a broken Burberry umbrella.  $5.00 and a seam ripper later, I have about 1/2 a yard of Burberry checked fabric to add to anything my little heart pleases.


Here are some of my favorite finds.
Main thing to look for with YSL is that the "Y" lines up perfectly
The one on the left is from my grandma 1940's.  The one on the right was just a great find for the wall.
Sweet little deer making a friend.
This makes me happy.
Above my flat screen ... modern meet vintage.
Hopefully these tips will at least get you started with thrifting. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find something because chances are you will be inspired by something in that huge store. Most of all just enjoy your time there.

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