Thrift Shopping 101: The Ultimate Newbie’s Guide for 2023

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Offering an affordable and unique way to put together a stylish look, thrifting is becoming increasingly popular in the world of fashion. Aside from being a sustainable way of revamping your wardrobe, thrifting allows you to bag some pretty neat finds – and bargains! And, since we’re on the topic of being creative and budgeting, it’s fitting to suggest useful ways of making some extra money too.

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Whether you’re new to thrifting, or you consider yourself a seasoned pro, our A Best Fashion team has put together several handy tips to help you navigate your next thrifting expedition with ease.

1. Define Your Wants and Needs

It’s really easy to get all caught up in the hype of thrift shopping and ending up with pieces that you don’t actually love or need. Even though this is a sustainable way of sprucing up your wardrobe, keep in mind that it can also turn out to be relatively expensive if you’re not mindful.

Do you currently need something in particular, or are you just browsing for fun? In this case, we recommend making a list before hitting the thrift store, like that you’ve already narrowed down on what you’re looking for and it will be easier to remain focused.

2. Set a Budget

You’ll find that thrifted pieces are generally priced more reasonably when compared to high street stores, however if you’re looking for something that’s considered rare or vintage there’s a chance it’s going to be more expensive.

When it comes to thrifting books or trinkets you can probably expect to pay anywhere from $2 to $20, while larger pieces such as desk or lighting feature could sell for as much as $50 or more at these types of stores. Whenever clothing is involved, you can expect to pay anywhere between $6 and $20 depending on the size, style, material and possibly brand of the item.

3. Be Prepared

Anyone who has been to a thrift shop before will probably agree that the entire experience can be overwhelming. If you haven’t got a clue with regards to what you’re looking for, what suits or fits you, or where the items you’re looking for are located, it can get very frustrating very fast.

Personal experience has taught me that unlike what we’ve been made to believe on social media, these shops don’t exactly always stock the trendiest clothes out there at all times. A simple way to keep track of your own personal style is to take photos of some of your favorite clothes at home. Like this you’re able to match up any complementary pieces once you reach the store. It’s also a good idea to be aware of your sizes and measurements as fitting rooms aren’t always available.

Keep fabrics in mind when picking your size, as materials such as corduroy, velvet and denim can either be loose or tight on the body. It’s also a good idea to shop ahead for next season as chances are you’ve already got everything you need right now. In these cases, I’d be shopping for fall in summer for example.

4. The Devil Is in The Detail

The best things in thrift stores might not always be in the obvious places, but this game is all about the hunt baby! Some of the best stuff in a thrift shop is often hidden and it’s going to take some time before you really know where to go and what to look for.

Some of the best thrift stores we’ve ever come across have been located in some small plaza or side street downtown, while there have been cases where others have managed to make thousands by thrifting jewelry they came across unexpectedly.   

Think of your first couple of trips as market research, get to know your area and find out where the good stuff is at, who gives the best discounts, and where to go for what you’re looking for. Keep notes about different shops you’re able to refer to later.

When it comes to clothes, garment tags can tell you a lot about the item’s quality, with natural fibers such as silk, cotton and linen generally considered higher quality and will go for a higher price. Stitching is another thing you’re going to want to look out for, with higher quality pieces having the tendency to be more neat and tailored.

5. Thrift Online

If the thrifting scene isn’t particularly alive in your area, you’re always able to thrift online. Popular websites for this sort of thing include Poshmark, ThredUp and Depop amongst others, that will allow you to buy or sell clothes. The idea here is that you’re able to clear out your closet, while purchasing a couple of new replacements along the way.

The major advantage here is that you’re able to filter items to narrow down on what you’re looking for as opposed to sifting through multiple racks in various physical locations. There’s also the comfort of having items shipped directly to your address, with return options available if you aren’t completely convinced on delivery.

 Final Thoughts

Thrifting is an awesome way to land new cool pieces of clothing without having to pay the full price. This time, rather than relying on brands it’s all about personal style. It’s time to get creative and use the way you dress as a form of self-expression. Remember that you aren’t what you wear, and there’s so much more to you than a fancy wardrobe. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go the way you planned the first couple of times, after all they do say that good things come to those who wait.