Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to Shop a Thrift Store Like a Pro - by LeThrift.com

Shopping at thrift stores can be intimidating. Especially if you have not shopped at one before. Often people are not sure how to find great deals because theses stores are often overflowing with clothing crammed into every corner. The experience can be daunting.

This is why I have decided to give those who are interested in shopping at thrift stores some useful advice. With just these few tips, you will discover great finds like a Chanel Suit, cool vintage skirts or killer stiletto Prada heels.

The best way to start is to go to sites like Yahoo Local and Yelp and type in "thrift stores". Depending on the city, you will find people who will post comments on thrift stores they like, the deals they find and if the pricing of the stores items is reasonable.This feedback is a very useful tool to save time and narrow down your search to stores that might have some potential. Once you have found stores that you like, go on off hours and go frequently in order to find the best items.

After you find a few stores, make sure you have carved out enough time to thoroughly look through each store. Be patient, thrifting is not for the impatient at heart. Often when you rush through the racks you will not find very much and end up having a frustrating experience.

Also, go through several current fashion magazines like Marie Claire, Vogue, Bazaar and In Style. Decide which trends or styles you like. Trust me, fashion trends often cycle through several times, so what might of been in style yesterday might be in fashion now. Tear out items or styles that you like and bring them with you to the thrift store. Also take a quick overview of your wardrobe. What pieces do you need? What separates could use a counterpart to add extra flair? What accessories do you need to dress up a "tired looking" outfit?


When you have figured out what items you are searching for, go straight to that section. Quickly go through and touch fabrics that are hanging on the racks. Look for colors that are not faded. If the fabric feels good, it probably is a higher quality. Also natural fabrics such as cotton, wool and silk are more likely to be a more higher in quality, although sometimes designers do use synthetics. In this case check to see how the fabric looks and feels. Which leads me to the next topic...

While on your fashion hunt also look for well recognized brands and designers that will be reputable. Often a higher quality brand or designer will manufacture better clothes, hence they will last longer to wear and tear. Also if you are familiar with the brand you will know how the sizes run. Unfortunately, in the fashion world there is never a universal size 8, 12 or 2. A good rule to follow is that usually the cheaper the brand or designer, the smaller the sizes run.

Always check the condition of your garment. Thoroughly check all the hems, buttons, zippers. Look for any holes or tears along the bottom of pants, underneath the arms, in the lap area. Also, check for stains or discoloration. If the item is white, off white or cream make sure to check the underarms for stains. If your item surpasses all your tests, make sure to wash it or dry clean it when you bring it home to prevent any allergens from getting into the air or on your skin.

If you have a found a stunning gown, but the hemline is too low, or you see a wonderful coat that needs new buttons. Sometimes, it is rewarding to bring an item that has potential to life. If you have a great seamstress, you can have alterations or improvements done to a garment at a fraction of the cost of buying a new item of the same quality. Rummage through estate sales or fabric stores to find cool buttons and funky appliques. The result with be that you will have created your own unique look.

I would love everyone to shop at lethrift.com, but part of the reason why I started Le Thrift is that I wanted people who have been struggling financially because of the recession or been dealt with unexpected circumstances in life have a way to shop and still look great. Thrift stores are a way to save money, to pay off  debts and still be able to wardrobe your whole family. Happy thrifting!


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