Words of wisdom you need to hear before your next thrifting spree
Venturing into the world of thrifting can get dangerous for the inexperienced. From death-scrolling for hours online to endlessly going through neon green hangers and impulsively spending your life savings on that one designer piece (for half its original price), thrifting has become the modern-day girl’s quick fix for retail therapy. But even if thrifting is the perfect band aid solution to our shopaholic tendencies, it’s not sustainable to keep the habit of thrifting aimlessly—both for environmental and financial reasons.
So, in the spirit of building wise shopping habits, we’ve listed some practical tips for your next thrift trip!
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Make a list
Knowing what you don’t have in your closet is the first step to shopping intentionally. Aimlessly scrolling online and window-shopping in-store without knowing what you’re looking for makes it easy to buy something you already have or won’t wear as often as you initially think. So begin by building a list of essential pieces you lack in your wardrobe, then shop with this list in mind. Think of it as a grocery list that stays in your head or, better yet, on your notes app!
Enumerate your non-negotiables
Now with a list in mind, it’s time to search for *the one*. This is usually the hard part, but there’s a way to make this process simpler. For each item you have on your list, list qualities about it that you know you’ll be looking for when shopping. Is it non-negotiable for those dark-wash denim pants to have contrast stitches? Do they need to have back pockets? What kind of material do you want that basic white t-shirt to come in? How do you want it to sit on your body? Answering these questions can get you a step closer to knowing what to look for and even eliminates the overwhelming feeling when a massive pile of clothes greets you at the shop entrance.
Thrifting can get overwhelming; it should be a whole day's activity! Make sure you allot time to avoid being anxious at the thought of missing out on a killer deal. The more time you have, the less likely you’ll find yourself scrambling to decide if you should cop an item. Give yourself enough time to think things through and enjoy the process of thrifting, and the same applies to online thrifting. Allot uninterrupted time for this activity; trust us, you won't want to multitask!
Bring bags (lots of ‘em)
Even if you’ve mastered the art of holding all your things in one hand, it’s still best to bring your own shopping bags when you go thrifting. It’s a common-sense tip, but it’s one that people tend to forget. As somebody who has forgotten and has heldon to everything I intend to try on for dear life, I urge you to spare yourself the embarrassment and keep an eco bag in your purse from here on out. Thank us later!
Wear something comfortable and relatively thin
Not all thrifting spots have the most accommodating dressing rooms, and sometimes you won’t even have the luxury of a dressing room at all! So plan ahead and wear comfortable clothing that you can easily slip over trousers or tops. Say goodbye to the pants-around-the-neck method of estimating if a piece will fit. Just wiggle into them in the middle of the store and see it for yourself! Sure, it may be a little embarrassing, but you’ll make a more efficient trip than waiting with a long line of people for one fitting room cubicle.
Know your measurements
In the online thrifting space, all you have to rely on are the measurements indicated in the captions. And in a somewhat time-sensitive thrifting match against random strangers online, there’s no time to second-guess your measurements. So grab that tape measure and start measuring! It’s time to show the world (and the comment section) who’s boss!
Bring (or ping) a friend
Second opinions aren’t just for doctor’s appointments. When indecision strikes, it’s best to ask a trustworthy friend for advice. Sometimes, you only need a pair of fresh eyes to see if a piece is worth copping. As thrifting can get overwhelming, it’s always great to have a friend on the line to help you call the shots!
The one thing a thrifter knows well is the feeling of regret. Ask anybody who thrifts and they can tell you the exact time, place and location where they found the piece that they regret not purchasing. So, if you’re second-guessing a purchase and have been thinking about it for a long time, just go for it! You may hate yourself for deciding otherwise down the road.
Have a budget (and stick to it!)
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As much as just copping whatever your heart desires in the name of “living a life of no regrets” is fun, you should remember that all these items come with a price tag—and they’re not always as cheap as they seem. One of the many allures of thrifting is its affordability, but pile up the pieces you want to buy and ,suddenly, your savings are on the line. Just like planning the list of what you want to shop for, have a budget for your shopping spree. Then when it's time to check out, stick to your allotted budget. Trust us when we say that it is not worth going into debt for clothing!
Have a checkout questionnaire
Now, just as you’re checking out and laying each clothing piece on the counter, it may be a good time to whip out your checkout questionnaire. Now, what is this questionnaire? It’s a list of questions you ask yourself before fully committing to purchasing a piece. Especially when you’re deciding on which items to prioritize as you try to stick to your budget for the shopping trip, it’s a good idea to think of each piece when going through the questionnaire.
Ask yourself: “Will I get to wear this with at least five different outfits?” and “Is this piece timeless enough to be worn during different stages of my life?” This final filtration process will save you more money (and closet space) than you realize!
With these tips in mind, it’s time to head to your local thrift store and put them to practice! What other thrifting tips did we miss?
Words Vanessa Tiong
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver