The 4: Thrift Shopping Tips

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I have always been a fan of thrifting! I’m guessing you know what thrifting is since you are reading this post, but just in case you don’t know what thrifting is… it’s when you find great, one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories at second-hand stores.

There are many reasons why thrifting is so great: it’s good for the environment, the cost is low and it gives you the ability to add one-of-a-kind pieces to your wardrobe. However, I do understand that some people are completely turned off about the whole idea. Whether it’s the thought of wearing someone else’s clothes, the time limitations or having to sift through all that “crap” just to find one good item, a lot of shoppers just can’t get behind the idea. I understand, it can be frustrating, but I’m here to give some tips on how to thrift effectively, so maybe you can join the thrifting revolution!

1. Finding stores

  • Bad is good sometimes: Pretty much any thrift store could potentially have some hidden gems. When searching for good thrift stores, don’t discredit a store just because it “doesn’t look nice outside.” Chances are, those are some of the least expensive stores and could have some really good items for cheap.
  • Avoid most “vintage” shops: A little secret those shops don’t want you to know.. they got their items from the same “ugly” secondhand stores I told you about above, but when they find a good gem, they bring it to their “nice” store and jack up the price.
  • There’s a lot of good stores around the Tampa Bay area. Check out some of these. << (the Sunshine Thrift Store in St. Pete is really cheap and has some great items.)

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2. Take risks

Credit: Sunshine Thrift Store

Credit: Sunshine Thrift Store

Chances are you’ve already taken a risk just by walking into the thrift store; you are willing to take on the challenge. Now all you have to do is search. This can be tricky because there are racks and racks of stuff that you have to sift through and all of that stuff is in different sizes, is wrinkled and has that thrift store smell. That’s why you have to take a few risks.. grab something that you are not so sure of, try a pattern that’s different from anything you already have, think about the different ways that item could be styled and don’t be afraid to buy something for $4 that you might not ever wear. After you wash and hang that $4 shirt in your closet, you will start to think about the item in a new light.

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3. Search for one item at a time

Credit: Sunshine Thrift Store

Credit:  Tara Wikoff/CW44 Tampa Bay

Thrifting can seem really overwhelming; you walk in to a huge store and all you see is rack after rack. I used to feel like this when I started thrifting, but now I think about it as an adventure. If you’re just getting started and don’t know where to begin, a good tip is pick one item to search for – look for just skirts, or belts, etc- and focus only on that one item. This way you don’t feel as though you can’t look at everything. This process slows you down and allows you to give everything you see a fair chance.

Another tip is to go back to the same store every few days because they are always getting in new items.

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4. DIY or a Tailor

  • DIY: If you find an item that’s almost just right, but not perfect, DIY it or take it to a tailor. I recently DIYed a pair of acid-wash denim pants that I found for $3.50. I put some holes in the knees and around the pockets and transformed an OK pair of jeans to a great pair of jeans.
  • Tailor: I found a great leather skirt for $5, but it had a hole at the zipper’s seam. I took it to a tailor and she fixed it for $5. (See the skirt above.) Any items you find can be easily spruced up, all you have to do is find them!!

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Hopefully, some of these tips will help you out next time you’re out thrifting! Happy thrifting!

Tara Wikoff/CW44 Tampa Bay

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