Friday, November 4, 2011

How to Shop at a Thrift Store

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile, pretty much since I started this blog.  I'm the kind of girl who loves finding a good deal, which is why I scour Ebay and search for online coupon codes all the time.  In my area there is only one mall with a few basic stores in it, so I do most of my clothes and shoes shopping either online or at thrift stores.  I've developed quite a knack for it, and thought I'd share my tips with you guys:)

First off scout out your area, you can search online to find thrift and consignment stores.  There are a few thrift store chains in Canada such as Value Village, LW (not really a thrift store, but they do carry clothing at discounted prices), MCC, Bibles for Missions, and the Salvation Army.  Then there are the consignment and vintage stores.

In my area my favorite is Bibles for Missions, since they don't have individual prices for similar items....all shirts are $3 all jackets are $5....etc. and they often have bag sales (fill a shopping bag for $5).  Thrift store shopping can be time consuming, it takes time to sift through all those clothes...I usually spend between 30 minutes to an hour.  You also want to dress comfortable, flat shoes and clothes that are easy to change in and out of.  Keep in mind that not all of these thrift stores have change rooms, so you may need to throw clothes on over top of what you are wearing.  Also be sure to grab a cart or basket if they are available...the last thing you want is to have 20 or so hangers digging into your wrist...I've done this

The first section I head to is the accessories: jewellery, purses, scarves, belts etc.  They sometimes keep some of the 'nicer' accessories and bags at the front under glass.  When you find something you like, you want to make sure that there are no rips or stains, and all zippers and buttons are functional.

Next I check out the blazers, coats, sweater, and blouse sections...since I live in Canada I am always looking for cute coats and blazers since well...its bloody cold here most of the  Make sure to check through all coats, blazers, shirts, sweaters....pretty much everything you'd wear on the top of your body.  I've found that there is a huge difference in sizes of clothes based on brand and how old they are.  To save time I don't look at the t-shirts and tanks sections because you can get a t-shirt and tank anywhere for cheap, at thrift stores I'm looking for original finds.

Lastly I head to the pants, jeans, and skirts sections.  I leave these sections for last because with bottoms you really need to find 'your' size, and you may need to try the items on.  The other day I found a pair of Zara skinny cargos with tags still on for $3.  In the jeans section I look for jeans I can cut to make cut-offs, like the old highwaisted levi's.  Lately I've been searching for pleated maxi skirts, suede and leather skirts. With items like these as long as the waist fits you can get them hemmed or tailored.

If I have time I check out the shoe section, but usually I am disappointed by the selection, so I don't make it a priority.  Before wearing any of the items I throw them in the laundry or dryclean, since many thrift stores do not clean items...better safe then sorry.

The best piece of advice I can tell you, is to keep an open mind.  Some things may look horrible on the rack but once you try them on you can see the potential....and inspiration.  I've been inspired by many items I've found at the thrift store and have built whole outfits around them.

I love reading thrift store hauls on other peoples blogs, so I thought I'd do my own:)  I hope it was helpful.  Feel free to check out my thrift store haul video I made last week:) XOXO Charis


  1. Lovely goodies, the sweaters are gorgeous! Sadly there are no thrift stores where I live, lucky you!

    Cess O. <3 The Outfit Diaries

  2. Love this post! I love thrifting!!



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