It’s no secret that here at Trendsetters at the U we love fashion. However, fashion isn’t all sunshine and rainbows – it gets expensive. Seasonal trends can be limiting, and the clothing manufacturing industry has some serious flaws. That’s where thrift stores come in: you can get a one-of-a-kind piece for a minimal price, and even the chance to support a local charity instead of a huge corporation. Navigating thrift stores can be tricky, so I’ve compiled my top seven tips for getting the most out of thrift shopping.
1. Location is Key
If you can, try to seek out thrift stores in small towns, or industrial areas. Thrift stores in downtown areas can and do have awesome clothes, but as a lot more people shop there, the clothes are picked over by a lot more people. Rural or industrial stores usually have more variety and lower prices. If you’re like me, however, and rely purely on buses and the charity of friends, the Goodwill here in Missoula is massive! If you don’t mind paying a couple extra dollars (seriously, only a couple), it’s definitely worth a visit
2. Wear the Right Clothes
It sounds like a no-brainer, but there’s nothing worse than asking for the fitting room and being informed that there isn’t one – this does happen in smaller stores. When you’re forced to try on items over your own clothes, the best thing to wear is a close-fitting t shirt and leggings with slip on shoes. Which brings us to the next tip…
3. Try On Everything
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Most thrift stores have a no-refunds policy, and while you can always donate clothing back, you won’t get a refund for something that doesn’t fit. Also, sizing varies from brand-to-brand, year-to-year, and country-to country. Even if you think something isn’t your size, give it a try anyway! You never know what hidden gems you might find.
It always feels good to give back, and if you have clothes that are in good condition but you just don’t wear anymore, donating them helps second hand stores to stay open and often supports a charity as well. As an added bonus, it also stops you from accumulating a mountain of clothing in your closet!
5. Bring a Friend
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought I’ve fallen in love with something, only for a friend to point out that the colour isn’t for me or it’s just a little bit too oversized. It’s always good to have a second opinion (again, there’s no refunds), even if you ultimately decide that you just love the piece anyway.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop in Other Sections
If you’re a woman, for example, try checking out the men’s or even children’s sections. Nobody’s going to know that the extremely cozy flannel you’re wearing was actually made for a man, and children’s clothes often have fun patterns.
7. Consider Learning How to Sew
This opens up your opportunities endlessly. You love a piece but it’s a little too big or small? Resize it! You like the pattern of a shirt but not the cut? No problem, just alter it to something you like! Having basic sewing skills especially helps if you’re shopping in other sections – and Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration!
Photos by McKenna Munden | @kennaphotography and Pinterest