How to Thrift Shop


You wouldn’t buy a skirt without asking your friends if it looks good on you, right?


Humans are the least thoughtful beings when it comes to what we put on our bodies. We each throw away a good 70 pounds of clothes every year on average and leave it to rot in piling landfills of garbage. Those poor good quality clothes can never seem to find their forever home. Alas, thrifting has recently become a popular way for people, especially teens, to restock their wardrobe without breaking the bank, and without hurting the Earth. Hello, recycling, goodbye fast-fashion!

The first step to efficient thrifting is to have a goal. Thrifting without a goal is like grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you have no idea what you want, you may end up coming out with something hideous you will never wear in the light of day. 


Now, you’re going to want to set the time and date for your thrifting adventure. In order to get the best pick of the crop, shop on either Monday or Tuesday. Whatever you do, don’t go Saturday! Everyone goes Saturday, and you’ll have an infinitely better chance of being shoved into the pants rack, than scoring a cute top. 


Some stores are donation-based, and some stores get their clothes by purchasing from customers. Use that to your advantage. While the retail-resale stores tend to be higher on the price scale, they will have better brands because they’re picky about what they’ll put on their racks. You should definitely be going to more than one store in one day. 


Don’t forget to stay true to your own sense of fashion. It seems bold and fun to buy clothes that are out of your comfort zone, but it rarely ends well. The biggest mistake you can make when thrifting is buying a skirt because you remember that Stacy from school looked really good in a skirt like that. Then you get home and remember you don’t even like skirts…  or Stacy.

Bring a friend with you on your thrifting adventure! Having a second opinion, and hopefully, an honest one can be helpful. Plus, there’s something oddly comforting about your friend telling you you don’t look good. It’s all out of love. 

Know your size! I don’t just mean that you’re a size 6 in jeans and a medium in women’s t-shirts. I mean your specific measurements. Especially if there is no dressing room available to you, or you showed up on a really packed day, knowing your measurements will prevent the moment when you hope to God they have a return policy because the jeans you bought are way too small. Worst case scenario, you give them to your much slimmer friend. 

Check for holes, rips, and tears. It sounds weird, but stores like Goodwill will put clothes out at an extremely discounted price because they have a missing button or a tear that needs sewing. Unless you’re handy with a needle and thread, avoid purchasing a work in progress.

Ah, the budget. Don’t think just because prices are low that you can get away with ditching a budget. A budget will keep you grounded, and limit you to what you planned to buy when you entered the store. No more getting distracted by a cute pair of jeans you don’t need.  Those 3, 4, and 5 dollar tags will add up quicker than you think. Pick a number, go in with a wallet full of cash, and ditch the credit card to avoid lying to yourself about having more money to spend than you actually do. 

Congratulations, you now have all the tools to thrift shop like a pro. Before you know it, you’ll be strutting the hallways like Regina George in your new(ish) Ralph Lauren jeans. You’re going to have the coolest clothes around, with unique and vintage styles that few can pull off. No one will ever know it was all 75% off. Don’t forget to accessorize!