Thrifting – the art of digging through the second-hand wasteland of other people’s clothing to find the buried treasure. Thrifting has become increasingly trendy in the past few years, and for good reason: it’s cheap, the clothing has a sense of uniqueness to it, and it's environmentally friendly. Not only does thrifting reduce your need for new clothes (which are very resource intensive to make), it also diverts a lot of textile waste.
That being said, thrifting can be hard. Sometimes you can’t find anything you were looking for. Maybe the awesome jeans you found are 3 sizes too small, or maybe your local thrift store never seems to have good stuff. So, here are 5 simple tips to make the most out of your thrifting.
1. SEE THE POTENTIAL
It can be hard to find EXACTLY what your searching for when it comes to thrifting, since nothing seems to be perfect. Remember to be open-minded and see the potential in clothing. Even if you aren’t an avid DIYer, there are lots of ways to make bland, boring, second-hand pieces into fun, new, stylish outfits.
If you can’t find cute shorts, try looking at pants you could hem or cut. If you want a skirt, try cutting and hemming a dress. There are lots of basic alteration that you can try to create your perfect piece.
2- LOOK EVERYWHERE
Look everywhere, in every section! Try men’s, women’s and children’s sections, even if those aren't your usual go-to. When it comes to thrift stores, don’t restrict yourself by section because you never know what awesome pieces you might find. Thrift stores don’t follow the conventional shopping rules, and since there is only ONE of every item in the store, it’s totally worth taking a look in some odd places. Often it's where you least expect it that you find something great.
3- TRY IT ON
I can’t stress this enough! Try it on. Pieces in thrift stores only comes in one size, and that size may not be as standardized as it is when you’re shopping in a regular store. Thrift store finds have been stretched, worn, and washed a bunch of times before - those size 8 jeans might not fit like size 8 jeans.
So, before you buy anything make sure to try it on and decide if you can work with it. Not everything will fit perfectly, and sometimes that’s okay. You can always alter things or wear them intentionally over-sized. But buying something that doesn’t fit from a thrift store often means you’ll end up throwing it out or re-donating it, which can waste your time and your gas money. Take the time to go to the fitting room and you'll thank yourself later.
4- SHOP WITH INTENTION
Thrifting can be overwhelming. Everything is unique; you can’t just glance at a rack of identical shirts and move on. You have to dig in and look. If you thrift without anything in mind, you may get lost in a sea of tossed-out t-shirts and not find anything - a very frustrating experience. Or, you may find way too many things you like and end up with a pile of clothes that you don’t need.
Having one or two “goal” pieces helps you shop with a purpose. Tell yourself you’re looking for a new summer dress, or a date outfit. That doesn’t mean you can’t find other awesome things along the way, but it stops you from getting side tracked and helps you feel less overwhelmed by all the options.
5- HAVE A BACK UP
The sad truth is that sometimes a thrift store just won’t have what you’re looking for. And that’s okay. It's best to be prepared for this by having an alternative. If you can’t buy second-hand, it’s important to choose brands that are honest and open about their production process. Choose brands that represent you and your values.
Understand what you want from your brands, whether that is using recycled materials, creating meaningful employment for undeserved groups, or having transparency in cost structure and pricing - all values that we happen to live by here at Evolve Eyewear. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry worldwide. How you choose to spend your money can have an influence, and really says a lot.
Thrifting is a super rewarding way to shop - every find feels like a personal win! However, it can be time-consuming, so make sure you’ve got the time to do it right. Hopefully these tips help you make the most out of your thrifting.