How to find gems in a thrift store

April 27, 2017
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Thrift Your Way To Great Vintage Style

Have you ever noticed how people with great personal style seem to effortlessly stand out from the crowd? People spend lots of money trying to create a look like that, but to find unique items with style and personality, your best bet is often to put down the charge card and invest a little time at your local thrift shop. Thrifting can be daunting at first because there’s so much to sort through, but with a few pointers, you’ll be ready to show off your own vintage style.

While it’s possible to find hidden gems almost anywhere, you’ll find that different second-hand shops attract different kinds of items. There is a difference between a charity shop and a vintage boutique. A charity shop like Goodwill takes all donations and sells the items that are clean and presentable for a few dollars each. If you’re looking for basics like t-shirts and jeans, or accessories like retro shoes, your neighborhood charity shop is a great bet.

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But for a standout piece like a vintage evening dress, you’ll want to check out a vintage shop with a curated selection. These shops are more expensive, but the merchandise there has been specifically chosen for quality and uniqueness, taking a lot of the work out of shopping.

Since thrift-shop clothes are one-of-a-kind, getting there before anyone else makes a difference. It helps to know your favorite shop’s schedule and plan your shopping trips when they’ve just put out new items. Get to know the people who work there, and be sure to ask when they restock their shelves.

On your first trip, you might be tempted to buy piles of stuff because it’s so cheap. Resist this temptation! Overloading your wardrobe with clothes of dubious quality isn’t the goal here. Instead, if you don’t already know how to judge the quality of fabric, stitching, and details, it’s worthwhile to learn. It also helps to learn which brand names you trust, although sometimes no-name labels can surprise you.

Finally, consider trying online thrift shopping for a larger selection. A quick search will turn up plenty of sites where people sell used and vintage clothing to help you create that one-of-a-kind wardrobe. Make sure the shipping charges are reasonable and that detailed photos and descriptions are provided.

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