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Recently, I was thinking about how much of my wardrobe is made up of beautiful pieces that I found while thrifting. If you’re a pinup on a budget like me, then you know that you can’t always afford the adorable, but oh so expensive pieces from pinup brands like Stop Staring, Pinup Girl Clothing, and others. Fortunately, you can create a stunning pinup wardrobe for next to nothing if you know how to shop thrift stores. Here are my top 10 thrifting tips:
1. Get an idea of the looks you want to recreate.
Have you ever gone to Goodwill and been at a total loss of what to look for? I love thrift stores, but sometimes they can be so disorganized. I find that it helps me to look at color schemes, celebrity looks, or other looks that I want to recreate before I go to the store. If you’re on Pinterest, I highly recommend pinning a few of your favorite looks and color patterns to an inspiration board. That way, when I’m at the store, I can just pull out my phone and remember all of the great outfit ideas I had. This also helps me to look beyond otherwise boring pieces and see them with greater imagination.
2. Make a note of basic pieces you’d like to find.
That being said, thrift stores are the best places to find basic wardrobe pieces like cardigans, little black dresses, and dress shirts. I love shopping for basics at thrift stores, because I end up paying much less than I would for something similar at a high end retailer.
3. Know quality and don’t compromise it.
Just because you’re at a thrift store doesn’t mean that you have to settle for cheaply made clothing. Quite the contrary! I have found great things from premium brands such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Talbots, Betsey Johnson and many others.
4. Thrift only when you have the energy.
Do not decide to go thrifting if you’re running on very little sleep and especially not on an empty stomach. I have done this before, and it only makes for a miserable shopping trip. Trust me! If you’re planning to thrift for a while, you might want to bring a snack with you just in case.
5. Go on week days to avoid crowds.
Thrift stores are notoriously crowded on the weekends. If you are able to, go on a week day during the daytime. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll probably also have a greater selection of clothing that hasn’t been picked over by the weekend shopping crowd.
6. Look through everything.
I know how tedious this is, but it’s so worth it. I did not feel like sifting through an entire rack of dresses one shopping trip, but I did, and I added four gorgeous new dresses to my collection. So worth it!
7. Think about the care a garment may need.
Just because you buy your clothes at thrift stores does not mean that you have to look like you do. Resist the temptation to buy ripped or stained clothing. The only exception to this is if you know you can fix a piece of clothing. In that case, you should ask for a discount at the register.
8. Only buy what you really love.
I know how easy it is to want to buy everything just because it’s all so cheaply priced, but that only leads to a more overwhelming life full of clutter. When you try something on, seriously ask if yourself if you’ll actually wear it, and if the answer is no, then you should put it back.
9. But be open to trying new things.
Some thrift stores aren’t organized or set up in a way that really showcases their clothing, so it’s easy to mistake a gem for another boring piece on the rack. Keep an open mind and try to envision different ways that you would wear something. I think you’ll be surprised by the great things you’ll find! Some of the most incredible thrifting finds happen when you open up your mind and look at items you would normally have never given a second glance. For instance, I have heard that the children’s and men’s department can often be an unexpected (but great source) for oversized sweaters, cool Disney t-shirts and such, etc. etc.
10. Dress appropriately.
11. Be patient.
This is the most important piece of advice I could give to anyone about thrifting. If you have a special piece in mind, you probably won’t find it immediately, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually. For years, I searched for a pair of high waist pinup style jeans and plaid skirt, and I finally found them.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful. 🙂 If you would like to read about one of my recent thrifting adventures with my friends Kirsten and Paola, the lovely ladies of The Hepburn Movement, click here.
Did I leave any important tips out? If so, let me know and I’ll add them to the post. 🙂
Thanks for reading,