Fashion Lookbook

7 easy steps to become a thrifting master

So you want to pop some tags? But you’ve only got $20 in your pocket? Never fear! You don’t have to be a huge Macklemore fan to master the art of thrifting. Fortunately, thrifting has been a popular way of saving money and finding great clothes since long before hipsters came on the scene.

[bctt tweet=”You don’t have to be a huge Macklemore fan to master the art of thrifting.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Before you head off to your local independent thrift shop or neighborhood Goodwill, here are a few simple tips for finding the best deals (and the greatest style)!

1. Be prepared to shop around

The first rule of thrifting is never settle. At least, not if you can afford not to. If you’re on the look-out for some fashionable finds, then it’s so important that you don’t settle with the first thrift store you find. If you have time, try stopping by a handful of thrift stores before you make any purchases (unless you find something really cute).

You might find that your local Goodwill is the place to be, or you might decide that it’s just not your style. You might be more into a pickier thrift shop like Buffalo Exchange, or their prices might be a little higher than you were hoping for. The point is, you won’t know what you like until you see it–so shop around!

2. Dive in

This is the key to thrifting: you need to be prepared to dig. The most beautiful floral dress or perfect pair of skinny jeans isn’t going to be the first thing you find. Thrift stores are crowded and packed full of clothes, and things aren’t always sorted as well as you might wish they were. The trick to finding great outfits is looking around, and having enough determination not to give up right away.

[bctt tweet=”This is the key to thrifting: you need to be prepared to dig.” username=”wearethetempest”]

3. Try things on

You have got to, got to, got to try things on at thrift stores. Clothing sizes aren’t always clearly labeled, so you might want to try a few different ones. (I personally shop for color and cut before getting too picky about size–that comes later).

You’re also going to spot brands that you may never have seen before, and the best way to know if you like them is to put them on your body!

4. Be picky – and don’t settle

Just because you’re looking for cheap deals, doesn’t mean you need to settle. I like to remind myself that just because something’s on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. If you find a super cute top, but it’s ripped, stained, or missing buttons–think twice!

5. Don’t be afraid to alter

This is wear thrifting can get really fun. Like I said, color and cut matter way more than size–because you can alter that! If you’re into DIY crafting and sewing, thrifting is definitely going to be your cup of tea.

At the same time, though, don’t feel as if you need to alter. In fact, if you don’t know how to sew or don’t really love crafting, don’t bother. Thrifting is supposed to be affordable; if you’re going to shell out a load of cash to have your clothes professionally altered, you probably should have just bought new clothes in the first place.

6. Push your comfort zone

Get creative and have some fun thrifting. I love to try on new colors and patterns that I might not usually gravitate towards when I’m at thrift shops. And if you think something looks great, but you’re not 100% sure, take a chance.

The goal of low-cost shopping should be to push your boundaries. If you’re not paying an arm and a leg, give it a shot and see what you think!

7. Come back often

The best, best, best way to find good thrifting deals is to come back often! Most thrift stores get new clothes every day, that means that the perfect outfit could show up at any time. If you’ve got some free time on your hands, get your butt down to your local thrift store and start looking!

[bctt tweet=” I love to try on new colors and patterns that I might not usually gravitate towards.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Thrifting doesn’t need to be a daunting process. If anything, it should be a fun, low-stress way to try out new styles and find some great deals. So, leave your inner-Macklemore at home, all you need to become a real pro at thrifting is your self, your personal style, and some determination.

By Cecilia Nowell

Cecilia Nowell is a freelance journalist and recent graduate of Wellesley College. She writes about politics and art, and gets excited about graphic novels, mythology, and art therapy. In her free time, she runs a cat blog, drinks too much tea, and enjoys hiking.