I’m really excited about this blog post because thrifting is a huge passion of mine. And I’m excited to share some of my knowledge with you! I asked y’all to send me some questions on Instagram and you really came through. There were so many good ones that I’m going to write a separate post altogether to answer your q’s. So here is the first of two posts spilling all of my thrifting secrets.
Vintage hunting is both an art and a science. I have some tried and true methods that I’ll share here (science!), but sometimes that all goes out the window and you have to play it by ear (art!).
- Make a plan. Attack the store one section at a time and try not to get distracted. My gameplan is usually shoes first, then dresses, blouses, pants, outerwear, and accessories. Then I’ll hit the men’s section for tees and jeans. This all depends on how the store is organized, but you get the gist.
- When assessing a rack or individual garment, focus on fabrics, prints and unique details. When I’m scanning a rack (I scan visually, I don’t pull out every piece and look at it), I first gravitate towards prints and fabric types: looking for unique prints and high-quality or season-appropriate fabrics. For example, since it’s summer, I’m currently looking for linen, silk, cotton, etc, and I’ll skip on anything that’s too heavy weight. When something catches my eye I pull it out for closer inspection—I’m looking at quality (does it have stains or rips?) and size (is it even close to fitting me?) If it passes my inspection, it goes in my cart for try on.
- Read the tag! Not only is this helpful in nailing down what decade the piece is from, the tag will also tell you what fabric you’re working with. And occasionally, you’ll find a designer piece. Do not pay attention to the size on the tag—more on this later.
- Imagine the potential. Think beyond the shoulder pads. Remember there are many details that are super easy to fix: removing shoulder pads, replacing buttons, fixing small holes, and adjusting hem lines. Don’t pass on something you love because of tiny details that are easily fixed. My one caveat: not all alterations are simple. And garments are much easier to take in than let out. I highly recommend not buying anything that is too small!
- When in doubt, just try it on. If you’re not sure about a piece, always try it on. You may be surprised how clothing from certain decades fit your figure better than others. And remember, vintage sizing is not equivalent to modern vanity sizing! So ignore all size numbers you see on vintage tags.
- Be realistic. Sometimes I’ll find an incredible wild one-of-a-kind piece, but I have to ask myself, “Realistically, does this work with my current wardrobe, and my current ‘style’? Where would I wear this? What can I wear this with?” If I can’t come up with concrete answers to these questions, I have to pass. It’s totally okay for you to leave pieces behind for someone else to discover and treasure.
Those are my high level tips, for now. Remember, I’ll be following up with Part II of this post—answering all your questions, next week!
Shoes: Eastland | Co-Ord: vintage via Noir Ohio | Bag: vintage via The Manhattan Vintage Show | Earrings: vintage Chanel via The Real Real, similar here | Jacket: All Saints | Sunnies: GlassesUSA
JustinaJuly 18, 2018 at 7:15 pm
All of these tips are great and one I want to start incorporating into my routine more is “where would I wear this?” I work in a casual office, but not so casual that I can wear blue jeans (only on a very rare occasion do I do this) and I could get called into court at any time, so buying clothes that I can actually wear to work is important. I’ve only got two weekend days each week, so buying tons of casual clothes isn’t the smartest for me.
clothesandpizzaJuly 26, 2018 at 1:07 am
Thank you so much for the sweet comment Justina! I used to never really think about where I would *actually* wear things, and just buy whatever I was in love with in the moment. But then so many pieces would just sit in my closet because they didn’t make sense for my lifestyle. I still occasionally buy things on a whim because I fall in love, but I’m much more practical than I used to be! xoxox
JamieOctober 10, 2020 at 12:31 pm
I found these saddle shoes in my size at a garage sale. When I say my size I mean they fit good because these are a women’s size 11 and I am a men’s 9.5. Saddle shoe are unisex so I can get away with wearing them out and about. This is not the first time for me wearing saddle shoes, when I was a kid going to school my Mom made me wear my sisters hand me downs.