Taken from Public Domain Images at karenswhimsy.com

Thrift shopping is the secret of the trendy and the savvy. Location and persistence can score you unique designer collection, if you’ve got the talent.

Fashionistas, listen up. If your love of style is forcing you to survive on a steady diet of Ramen Noodles every night, it’s time to reconsider your approach to getting your next fashion fix. Have you considered scoping out your local thrift store? Before you dismiss this veritable gold-mine of fashion finds, hear me out.

Many people erroneously think of thrift stores as merchants who service the poor or people who don’t care about their appearance. Nothing could be further from the truth – this isn’t “Oliver Twist.” The truth is thrift stores are astonishing places to find great clothes and accessories at ridiculously low prices. Don’t let brand snobbery keep you from finding trendy clothing for a fraction of the price. The trick to thrift store shopping is location and persistence.


Just about everyone donates to the Goodwill, but I have found that stores located in or near more affluent areas have a better selection of clothing, with many stores containing designer labels. In fact, I have found several items that still have the tags on them and have never even been worn.


Unlike higher end retail stores, you may have to dig a little to uncover the gems. Don’t get discouraged. Keep in mind that thrift stores are crowded with a lot of unwanted clothes, which means you will likely have to sort through some duds before you find an item you really like. Don’t let the hunt dampen your spirits. Treat it like a game: how many articles of clothing can you sift through in five minutes before you find something you like? Then after you find something cool, try to beat your best time.

Help the Economy and the Planet While You Shop

Thrift stores help reduce waste, create local jobs, and they assist in increasing local economies. According to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, the resale industry is thriving during a time when other retail merchants are reporting significant decreases in revenue and profits (http://www.narts.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3290).

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

To help ensure you make a wise purchase, here are a few tips for buying second-hand clothes:

Try it on. Sizes vary depending on manufacturer and production date (today’s clothes are far more loose fitting than items manufactured ten years ago). If the store doesn’t have a dressing room, check the return policy. Sure, that Chanel dress may be a great find for $20, but if it doesn’t fit and you can’t get your money back, it’s not worth the gamble.

Inspect the clothing. Don your Inspector Clouseau hat and thoroughly check each article for tears, holes, missing buttons, stains, and broken zippers.

Check Care Instructions. Is that fabulous Ralph Lauren silk shirt really worth the money if it’s dry clean only? Make certain the washing instructions fit your lifestyle.

Look for Clothing with New Tags. In addition to receiving donations, many thrift stores receive excessive inventory from department stores. You can score brand-new clothes for less money!

If You Don’t Love It, Don’t Buy It. A raincoat for $3 sounds like a great deal, but if you’re not in love with the cats in rain boots design, you won’t wear it. And, if you’re not going to wear it, you’re wasting money purchasing it.

Wash All Articles of Clothing When You Get Home. Need I say more?

Still not ready to shop your local thrift store? A good first step on your path toward thrift store retail therapy is to scout out local consignment shops. Dig through your closet and find a designer item that you no longer wear so you have a reason to visit the shop. You can then check out the store’s merchandise while you discuss the terms and conditions of selling your item(s).

If this doesn’t get you fired up, check out a Seattle locals, MACKLEMORE and RYAN LEWIS, in their new song “Thrift Shop” to get inspired.

Teaser Image taken from Public Domain Images

Hannah is a guest author and you can be too! Find out more here.


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