Going on day-long excursions on the hunt for vintage clothing and antique homewares has been a cherished hobby of mine since I was a teen. My mom, little sister and I would pack into the VW bug, top down, and head out to the outer reaches of western Loudoun, Virginia, scouring estate sales and stumbling into small-town treasure troves of relics with past lives. The pieces we found were often quirky, special things that we probably didn’t wear or use too often; it’s not every day one needs a pair of silky, mint evening gloves or a velvet pillbox hat. I inherited my love of fashion from her
As I’ve begun to be much more deliberate about my shopping habits and the CO2 waste that is produced every second from manufacturing new garments, my thrifting habit has become engrained in my lifestyle. I still shop for the ‘special’ pieces, but I’ve also learned to just incorporate many of those into my everyday life.
Most of my dishes, glassware and throw blankets have been purchased secondhand, making for a unique collection of what are typically pretty mundane items. I’ve also curated a wardrobe and box full of jewelry and accessories that makes getting dressed feel like a treat most days.
Fall is officially here, and I’m getting antsy for another secondhand haul. I’ll be heading out this weekend in search of chunky knits, layering pieces and party platters (socially-distant holiday hang-outs, anyone?) and decided to put together 7 Thrifting Hacks You Need to Know for all my thrifty newbies.
1. Go with a plan! Make a list of specific items you’re looking for. Ever walk into a Goodwill looking for grandpa cardigans + you come out with a 3 different salt + pepper shaker sets? I have.
2. Wear fitted, simple clothes. This will help you try on in the aisles without stripping down. Many thrift shops don’t have fitting rooms, + if they do, they’re a no-go because #COVID . I tend to wear leggings and a tank top or a fitted tissue turtleneck if it’s chilly out.
3. Check for moth holes. Not much more to say on that one!
4. Ask if there’s any new shipment they’ll be putting out in the next 30 minutes or so. Thrift stores are constantly getting donations + sorting through them. You may be able to get your hands on some fresh goods before they even hit the sales floor!
5. Mix and match your jewelry. I’ll often dedicate a whole trip specifically to shopping for jewelry, and a lot of times, pendants are sold on their own. I aways ask the store if they have extra necklace chains -my local place keeps a box of these behind the counter. Flat, gold chains are also great on their own for stacking (super on trend right now and a lot less $$ than buying them new!) SUPER PRO TIP: Brooches can be pendants too! Simply string them onto a chain.
6. Don’t be afraid to haggle a bit! However, always be reasonable + ALWAYS be kind! Some shops just want to get rid of their inventory + are happy to make you a deal, especially if you’re picking up a nice haul
7. I’ll just say be kind again here 🙂 Shopping secondhand or for “old” clothes and furniture doesn’t mean you get to mess up hangers + not button things the way you found them or let things fall on the floor. Real people, oftentimes volunteers, are working tirelessly to serve their communities with those “old” clothes so they can be “new” for another real person, just like you! Respect + thank your retail workers. Always.