Thrifting is serious business (side note: so much so, that my sisters and I turned it into a business). I can’t get enough and jump at pretty much any chance to do something thrift related. The Clothes Rack, a thrift store that benefits the Junior League of Richmond, a volunteer organization that raises funds to deliver programs to children and their families, reached out last month and wanted to do a collab. As I am a regular shopping at the two local Clothes Rack locations, my saying yes was a given. I also had a lot of fun writing a thrifting 101 post that isn’t filled with your typical how-to’s. You can view the blog post here with bonus photos of all the amazing things I have found at their stores. For my tips, keep on reading.
- Know what you want. Thrift stores can either be a lovely place to leisurely treasure hunt or they can be a gold mine when you hone in on a few specific items. Going into a thrift store armed with a list can help you navigate messy and packed racks or it can guide you directly to one section of the store (i.e. jewelry or jeans), helping you focus your search and avoid being overwhelmed by all of the choices.
- Inspect, inspect, inspect. A lot of really great, amazing condition items can be found at the thrift store. But just as many end up at a thrift store because they are damaged, worn or stained. Most thrift stores will scan their items to ensure quality, but this isn’t a guarantee. Closely inspect the item you are interested in – run a hand over the garment paying special attention to the under arm area, pull gently on seams to look for loose stitching, and inspect the buttons.
- Try it on. Most thrift stores will have a small dressing room area. Some will not. Either way, you want to try on items prior to purchasing them because once you do, it’s doubtful you can return it. If there is no dressing room, it’s common thrift store practice to pop on a top over what you are wearing or pull on bottoms right there in the store. To make this easier, if you know you will be thrifting, wear light layers such as leggings and or a dress/skirt.
- Know your price point. Just because you found Seven Jeans for $12 or a J. Crew sweater for $10 doesn’t mean you should scoop them up. You want to inspect for wear AND try it on. If it doesn’t fit right, or doesn’t fit your own personal style, it’s never a bargain.
- Love the hunt. Not everyone likes a treasure hunt, but that is the best mindset for thrifting. Looking for a great blazer? Definitely check the women’s jackets, but also venture over to the boy’s section. One of my most prized blazers is a maroon corduroy jacket I found in the boy’s section. Looking for a belt? Try the silk scarves. Want to create the perfect jean cut-offs for summer? Find a relaxed men’s fit not the women’s fit.
- Know the sales. Most thrift stores have some sort of discount or sale schedule – whether it’s certain days of the week or a color that is 25%, 50% or even 75% off. If you want the most bang for your buck (even at a thrift store!), you can focus your search to only those items. Another great trick is to sign up for a thrift store newsletter if they have one (which The Clothes Rack does!). You will get advance notice on sales and other special in-store events.
Perhaps my best tip though, is to just have fun, try it out, and see what you find! Some of the best pieces (and laughs) can be found at a thrift store.