Thrift Shopping 101 and FAQ

Posted On Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Filed Under: How To, Looking FLY on a Dime, Thrift Stores, Thrifty Threads 365

I’ve had quite a few people ask me about thrift store shopping: favorite place to shop, best tips, etc. Though I’ve done few posts on thrifting tips, I figured I’d compile the info in one post for you guys to reference.

I started thrift store shopping my freshman year of college {though my mom says I always loved the Salvation Army. I was a weird kid} when I needed an outfit to wear to an induction ceremony. I was broke and hadn’t found a work study job yet so I went to the local thrift store. {If you’re in Philly, it was the one on Broad St. near Girard Ave}. I was amazed at how many cute items I found and walked out with a head to toe outfit that I received compliments on all night. Since then, I’ve been a thrift-aholic. And as you know, I’ve now embarked on a year long shopping free challenge {Thrifty Threads 365} where I only buy second hand clothing. Besides saving a ton of money, I want to really show people that style has nothing to do with your wallet.

My Favorite Stores:

  • Goodwill Outlet: The clothing is in bins and you have to dig, but you can’t beat the prices. At $1.69 per pound, I’ve walked away with more than 20 items for less than 20 bucks. I frequently find tons of Banana Republic, LOFT and J. Crew, but also more casual pieces. The selection of shoes can be hit or miss but my best finds to date have been Nine West boots and BCBG pumps.
  • Salvation Army: I started hitting the “Salv” up after I learned Wednesdays are Family Day and clothing and shoes are 50 percent off. I go to the location on 46th Street in NYC, which is great for women’s dresses and blazers. It’s also extremely organized and has an awesome selection of furniture. They even deliver!

Over the next couple of months I plan to look for new, smaller thrift stores as well.

How to find a thrift store:

Thrift Store Shopping Tips:
I’ve recently done posts on my favorite tips, like here and here. But my number one tip is to be patient. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. I’ve been thrifting for years so I know how it works: sometimes you’ll walk away with a treasure, other times you may leave empty handed.

What to bring when thrifting:
My thrifting adventures tend to be last minute but when I do go, I try to make sure I have a few essentials to make my shopping trip easier. Not every store has a mirror {like my Goodwill Outlet} so I bring my camera so another patron can take a pic of me in an item I slip on so I can see how it really looks. It’s also a good idea to bring little stocking booties {you know, the little stockings you slip on when trying on shoes at the store?} if you’ll be trying on a pair of heels. I also know some people who bring gloves and/or hand sanitizer for digging through bins.

I shot a segment for Living Fly on a Dime TV a few months ago with some more tips and what you should wear while thrifting. Trust me, what you wear can mean a world of difference!

Any questions? Just ask!