Thrifting is a little like dating.
Most times, the amount of clothing on the racks are overwhelming and usually just basic pieces of junk. But when you find something that catches your eye, it makes you do a double take.
Sure, it may have been a little jaded by someone else before you, but you understand. You get the feel of it (literally) and notice it totally fits you and what you're all about. You check the price and are even more excited how perfect the timing was... to fit within your budget.
That's it, you're hooked! "What a lucky girl I am?," your inner Yoda says to itself.
You think about it all day and you want to do us hide it away and make sure no one finds it. Even better, you seal the deal and head towards the register to make it official.
There is no better highlight of the day than scoring on a hidden gem like that.
Take it from someone who used to work at a recycled clothing store.
A good 60% of my wardrobe are from them. Even some of my favorite designer bags like Rebecca Minkoff were bought on consignment for more than half the original price. It was even amazing to have brands like Alexander Wang, Kate Spade, and Louis Vuitton come in the store on an everyday basis. These thrift stores even allow you to empty your closet to sell some of your gently worn clothes by the season for cash back or store credit to buy new clothes - it's a never ending cycle.
Thrift shopping always seems to get a bad reputation for those who are broke (okay, you may be a little), but its main shoppers are people that are actually smart with their money.
They wouldn't tell you, but it's many people's best kept secret. I saw all kinds of people during my time working there: fashion merchandisers, professional skateboarders, and even stylists looking for pieces to use for photoshoots. It even marked the beginning of one #GIRLBOSS's success story.
But if you're new to the whole thrifting game and want to check out what it's like in person, here are 6 tips in joining the smart girl revolution for dressing like a boss and saving money.
1) Shop the right areas.
I would have to say the best thrift finds are closely located near a mall or in a city where people make a lot of money. If you have too much good (and usually designer) stuff and no more need for any of it, what do you often do? You get rid of it.
Also, take note that most people that are shopping at the stores in the mall (including labels like American Apparel, Topshop, Forever21, BCBG MaxAzria) are most likely donating or selling back those clothes at the nearby thrift stores.
2) Run to the jewelry cases.
Thrift stores are my go to for finding statement necklaces and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. I guarantee that there will always be a chunky necklace or a sparkly ring that will catch your eye for cheap!
3) Choose shoes wisely.
Feet are just weird.
If you really think about it, those shoes used to be someone's favorite pair. Even more real is that people have been in and out trying on the shoes as well. Luckily, some clothing exchange stores like Crossroads Trading Co., check for the condition and wear of the shoe for you and only hold shoes that are up to date with the latest styles.
Also, it's important to look at the heel on a good pair of shoes and check if the heel is still straight, clean, and still has noticeable ridges. If you're the crafty type and MUST own a pair of amazing shoes you found but the heel is very worn out, I bet there's a YouTube tutorial for that.
4) Quality still matters.
Yes, you're in a used clothing store but it doesn't mean you need to settle for less. Always buy clothing if it's in good condition.
If a basic shirt is either a little faded or there's something that doesn't feel right with it, easily pass! It will count with those future machine washes down the road. Even if it's a good label, anything absolutely basic and something you'd wear on an everyday basis, is worth buying brand new. Also, word to the wise: smell it before you buy it!
Once again, thrift stores that stay up to date with the latest trends, styles, and brands can be found at Crossroads Trading Co. and Buffalo Exchange which were included as some of the best in the Bay Area.
5) Think outside the box and be real.
Check the men's section for a future shirt you can do a DIY on.
Explore the home decor section for some quirky items to decorate your pad. I once found an adorable canvas print of a wide eyed dog admiring a piece of cake for $5! It became the center piece to my apartment and got loads of compliments.
When you entering a thrift store, get creative and have an open mind. Some customers would complain about the littlest things on an item when let's be real here, you're at a second hand clothing store. Few things are ever perfect and may need maintenance or tweaking if you're up for it.
6) Don't be fooled.
Thrifting with my mom as a child gave me tons of experience and exposure to all the amazing, sometimes horrible, and straight up crazy items I would see. It even makes me laugh when life came full circle and I ended up working at one for some time.
When shopping, I would notice there were some instances where things would be too pricey - even for a thrift store.
So think about how the item would typically sell at retail, ask yourself questions like how often you would wear it, or if it's something really unique that you don't have. Trust me, it's easy to get carried away!
For the most part though, thrifting with a group of your girls is actually pretty fun. You all may laugh at some the weirdest things or go crazy over your best find!