Thrift Shopping 101: Fitting Room Tips to See the Potential in Any Outfit

Posted On Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Filed Under: shopping, Style Guide, Thrift Stores

We’ve already established that a big part of thrift shopping involves patience {countless Thriftspiration ladies say patience is the number one thrift shopping tip}. You have to have time and energy to dig through bins and inspect numerous racks. But there’s something even bigger involved in thrifting. When you’re lucky enough to find an item, the next major step is how to wear and style it. This is where the importance of what you do in the fitting room comes in to play. You may be leaving behind some serious fashion gems because you’re not sure how to incorporate them in your closet.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled a questionable item off the racks, but once I take it in the fitting room, the script can be flipped and it becomes a fashion must have!
People are often skeptical about buying a secondhand piece because they’re not sure how to wear it and the store may have a no-return policy. For optimal results in the fitting room {hopefully your thrift store actually has a dressing room}, here are some tips you can use…
A Belt Does Wonders
Maybe it’s a sheath dress or long cardigan, but some pieces can look a bit blah and shapeless when you just throw them on {see Exhibit A, the dress above}. But when you tie a thin belt over it, it’s automatically transformed. If you didn’t wear a belt to the store, just take one off of the store’s racks.
Complete the Look
If you’re just trying on a top or bottom, be sure to complete the look. And what do I mean by complete the look? That simply means if you find a fun pair of shorts {like I did in the above photo}, pair it with a top. This sounds like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many times I would try on a bottom and the only top I had on would be my bra. Style the potential piece of clothing in a way you intent to wear it {shirt tucked in, left out, etc.}. Just play around with it so when you get it home, you’re not totally clueless on how to style your new-to-you clothes.
Move Around
You’ve made it to the dressing room. It fits. Yay, you’re happy and are ready to buy. But wait, does it really fit? Sit down, move around and even squat in the garment you tried on. This applies to any piece of clothing, but especially with jeans and threads that hug the body. There’s nothing worse than pulling and tugging at your clothes. But when you know how they move with your body, you won’t be in for any surprises. If a dress rides up a little too much {like the one above}, try rocking it with thick tights. And if a pair of jeans reveal major butt cleavage, leave them in the store or just make sure you have a long enough shirt to keep you covered.
Think About Your Shoe Game
Clothes always look different and typically, a million times better, when paired with fly heels. But what if you don’t have any heels to try them on with? Well, if you’re anything like me, you naturally stand on your tippy toes when trying on new clothes. Or you can always pick a pair of pumps off of the sales rack and use them as reference to see what your legs and the garment will look like when worn with heels. This is really helpful with jeans, trousers or a floor grazing dress when you want to determine how high or low of a heel you can wear without it sweeping the ground.
You need patience when scouring the racks, but also be patient with yourself when trying the pieces on. Sometimes the clothes you love the most start off as the ones you were so hesitant about at first.
Do you have any tips or tricks to trying on clothes in the fitting room? How do you know when thrifted clothes have potential to be amazing? 
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3 thoughts on “Thrift Shopping 101: Fitting Room Tips to See the Potential in Any Outfit

  1. I just put 2 $2.00 dresses back on the shelf the other day because they looked a little shapeless. I didn’t even think to cinch the waist in with a belt. Hopefully that Gap and Armani exchange dress will still be on the rack when I go back tomorrow. Great tips 🙂

  2. Definitely needed those tips. I’m learning a lot about choosing items of clothing to fit my body type (petite, “I” and/or rectangular) and visualizing the items in different ways, etc. (Usually a mannequin shopper/dresser). Thanks for the continued help. These will definitely be added and used when shopping.

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