Monday, October 19, 2015

Thrifting and Vintage Shopping 101: Tips for the Thrift & Vintage Novice Part 1

Thrifting is one of the most thrilling and therapeutic activities that I do for myself. It helps me unwind and relax while I score some amazing, one-of-a-kind pieces. Winning!!! I am a self-proclaimed thrifting and vintage shopping connoisseur, I have found some stunning items and always at affordable prices. I want to share with you some of the tips and tricks I use to help me find some of the most unbelievable clothing and accessories (my entire living room is almost furnished by thrift store finds-more on that in a different post). After reading this post, you will no longer be a thrifting and vintage novice-you will have all the tips you need to start thrift/vintage shopping.

Let’s start by getting a clear understanding of the difference between something that is thrifted and something vintage. Vintage is at least 35 – 40 years old and in wearable condition.Vintage is usually of higher quality, has been worn or used less, and is more exclusive than thrifted items. Thrifted items have no “age” requirements, are of less quality and can be in whatever condition. Thrift stores have a big mixture of clothing from all eras and in all conditions. Thrifted items are usually donated to a store for free while vintage items are usually on consignment or found by the store owner. Vintage is typically designer or name brand items, so they will most likely cost more than a thrifted find.

Go thrifting with no time constraints.You want to have time to look through everything, or at least almost everything. Plus, staff replenishes most thrift stores throughout the day so you can have first dibs on items.

Keep an open mind. You will be surprised at how many things you find that you didn't think you needed, wanted or could make use of. Also, you may find clothing that is too long, or baggy or you wish it didn't have sleeves or shoulder pads-it costs very little to get these things altered.
Ruffled vest had sleeves; Red dress was long and oversized

Go thrifting often.I figured this out by accident. I worked by a Goodwill years ago so I would just go everyday on my lunch break, and I began to score things every single day. It's like the lottery, the more tickets you buy the better your chances are of winning, well that's the same concept to use when thrifting. The more you're there, the better chances you will have at finding what you want!

Get to know the staff.This is such a good idea especially if the owner of the store is also the cashier, the stocker, the bagger, etc. If your looking for something specific, you can give him or her your phone number or email and asked to be notified if they get anything similar. You can also ask if they have a mailing list and to be included. A mailing list is a good way to find out about sales and specials before anyone else does.

When in doubt, try it on.This is a rule regardless if your at the Goodwill or H&M, the only difference is you can get a full refund at most retail stores while at thrift stores you can either get an in-store credit or nothing. All sales are final at most thrift stores.
Vintage, embellished sweater
Don't be afraid to ask about the pricing of an item. 
Sometimes you'll come across a few items that you instantly love but will gawk at the price tag! This is when your bargaining skills come in handy. At smaller thrift stores, you will have a better chance at getting the price your willing to pay or at least cheaper than originally priced. At larger chains like The Goodwill, usually the price is what it is, they rarely change the price once the item hits the sales floor. When it comes to vintage boutiques, it really does depend on the owner or whoever is in charge of pricing and the item. A lot of items at a vintage boutique are on consignment so the prices usually can't be changed (not right away at least)

Shop more than the just clothes.
Like I mentioned earlier, most of the furniture, trinkets, and artwork in my living room are thrifted. You can find some incredible housewares, books and artwork at thrift and vintage stores.

Bring a list of the items you want and need.
Shopping with a list can keep you on track as well help you stay within budget. Depending on the store, some thrift and vintage stores can be overwhelming with so much merchandise to rummage through. A list allows your brain to focus on finding what's on it.

Head over to the men's section.
As of late, I've been shopping in the men's section first. The men's section is perfect for finding graphic tee's, flannels, oversized sweaters, hats, and button down's. You can also score some unique ties/bow ties,  suspenders, and jackets.
Thrifted top and vintage clutch

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