I’ve got a riddle for you: What do the following objects in the pictures have in common?
What if I told you that not only did I get everything here at thrift stores, but every item was less than $15? Would you believe me? Well you should. As a college student, thrift stores are great for finding unique, well-made clothing and accessories for super cheap if you know where and how to look. Luckily, I’m here to help. I’ve been thrifting for about eight years, and any thrifter can tell you there is not better thrill than nabbing a great item for a few bucks (or in some cases a few cents). I’m going to be honest here, thrifting does take time and patience. It is not the most fun to sift through the land of misfit clothing. However, the rewards do pay off. Here a few of my favorite finds.
Dooney & Bourke Purse from Goodwill: $10
Vintage scarf from random PA thrift store: $8
That blue blazer in picture one? Thirty
dollars cents. I would give you a close up shot, but it has a date with the dry cleaners later today.
If you have never been thrifting before, or, like many, gave up after setting eyes on the umpteenth 5K t-shirt, I’ve come up with a few rules/suggestions that will make you a pro thrifter in no time.
1. Thou shalt not buy if thou does not absolutely love it. Just because the price is right, doesn’t mean the look is.
2. Thou shalt not be label-conscious. A big mistake for first timers. That $30 Burberry shirt? No one’s going to care if you got a huge deal on it. They’ll be too busy trying not to laugh at your hideous shirt.
3. Thou shalt not buy stained/hole-y/pill-y clothing. This should go without saying. I usually avoid buying sweaters as many are not in the best shape. But, if you’re looking for the perfect pair of worn jeans or a soft leather jacket? I’d say a thrift store should be your first stop.
4. Thou shalt try and try again. Like I said, thrifting takes time. You may not find what you are looking for the first, second or third time, but believe me you’ll strike gold soon enough.
5. Thou salt seek out unexpected areas/stores. Want to know a secret? Some my best finds came from small-town thrift stores. Many times stores in the city know how much they should charge, but a lot of the mom-and-pop joints sometimes pass over a diamond in the rough. My $0.30 blazer? I got in a $3 fill-you-bag sale in upstate New York.
6. Thou shalt haggle. I don’t know why more people don’t do this. Yes, it may seem annoying, but you can score some major deals this way. Because thrift stores set their own prices, they are more willing to make a deal. Buying a few items? Offer the lot for $20. Also, look for non-profit thrift stores. I’ve found they have offered me deals on purchases without me even asking!
7. Thou shalt do your research. This rule is mostly when purchasing a designer bag. Youtube, Ebay and Spotfakehandbags.com have great articles on how to spot a fraud.
Here are a few of my favorite thrift stores:
-The Goodwill: I have found that they offer a greater selection on designer bags and accessories. Also, their auction-based website has some great discount designer duds.
-The Salvation Army: Great for furniture and household goods. Also, my neighborhood salvation army always has half-off sales and a great selection of coats and leather belts.
-Non-Profit Thrift Stores: If you are looking for a well-tailored suit or brand-names, non-profits are usually the way to go.
Do you thrift? What was your favorite find? Let me know!