What am I? Nuts?!
But before I begin, I want to make sure you know the difference between a Thrift Store and a Consignment Store... because though they both sell second-hand clothing, they are VERY different from one another.
Thrift Store - a store that sells second hand clothing and household items, typically to raise money for a charitable organization. The Goodwill and the Salvation Army are two well-known examples, but there are thousands of local thrift stores that benefit local non-profits.
You know that Thrift Store song by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis? "I'm gonna pop some tags, I got $20 in my pocket...". Yea, it's like that.
Consignment Store - a store that sells second hand items (usually clothing and accessories, but sometimes hard-goods too) on behalf of the original owner, who then gets a certain cut, or percentage, of the sale price.
Let's break it down further...
[left] Thrift Store Proceeds (usually) go to charity Less expensive More stuff to sift through (lots of junk)[/left]
[right]Consignment Store Proceeds go to seller and store owner More expensive More curated (less junk)[/right]
Me, I'm a Thrift Store kinda gal. One, I love that proceeds benefit a non-profit organization, and two, I love the HUNT! Because when you DO find a treasure, it's "f*%$-ing awesome" (to grab a line from the song).
Now let's get down to it.
STASIA'S TOP 10 THRIFTING TIPS
1. Pit Stains & Ring Around the Collar (ewww) - always look for BOTH pit stains AND ring around the collar with lighter colored shirts. Take the garment over to the window where you can do a good pit/neck band inspection under natural light conditions. If you see yellowing, PUT IT BACK!
2. Zippers - if the garment, shoe or boot has a zipper, TRY IT. Make sure it works. And make sure there isn't any funky fabric that might get stuck in the zipper. Try the zipper with the garment/shoe/boot on your body because sometimes it's all in the angle that you're zipping from.
3. Buttons & Snaps - if it's got buttons or snaps, make sure you account for all of them, and make sure they all work. If you can sew, and a button is missing, see if there is a hide-a-button somewhere that you can use. Also, make sure that all the buttons fit through the button holes. I've found a number of like-new pants at the thrift store with buttons that don't fit through the button holes!
4. Price Tags - these are most often attached to a products seam or brand label via a feather/barb or staple. But sometimes, a careless employee will shoot/staple right through the fabric, leaving a big old ugly hole right in the product itself.
5. Pockets - be sure to put your hands in all the pockets to make sure your fingers don't slide all the way through.
6. Hems - always look for loose hems. Especially with jersey knit shirts. The first hem to go (seems to me) is the hem at the bottom of the shirt. I've bought SOOO many shirts over the years with loose/undone bottom hems that have literally fallen apart in my first post-thrift-store wash. Turn your garments inside out before purchasing to check that all seams and hems are solid.
7. Pills - I hate them. If a sweater or shirt has pills on it, there are two things you need to decide. 1. Do you want to take the time to de-pill the garment? 2. Do you even want a garment that pills (and will need de-pilling) in the first place? Not me!
8. NWT - be leary. Just because something is New With Tags, doesn't mean you've hit the jackpot. There might be a very good reason why somebody donated it in the first place. Like, it was sewn together all wonky and fits crooked. Or, it's got a slice in it from where the purchaser used scissors to open the mail order package, and cut a hole right through it.
9. Dry Clean Only - if going to the cleaners isn't your thing, then check the washing tags. That said, I've bought a gajillion Dry Clean Only sweaters over the years, and I ALWAYS hand-wash them in the sink without any problems. It might be worth the $4 risk! (I wrote a post about how to hand-wash your Dry Clean Only sweaters HERE if you want to check it out.)
10. Brand - it's simple. Higher quality items *tend* to have a greater shelf life than lower quality items. In other words, a pair of cheap jeans will probably fade, stretch, or lose their shape sooner than a pair of higher quality jeans. When I thrift, I stick to the better labels because the product has already lived a life in someone's closet, and I'm trying to get a second life out of it.
This is a pretty good list here, if you don't mind me saying. Because girls, I've bought SO MANY items in the past, thinking I scored BIG TIME, only to find out when I got home that whoops, there was a legit REASON why that thing was donated in the first place!!
I mean, just last week I bought a shirt (below) that I LOVE... and didn't notice that the fabric was pulled in the back right around the arm holes. Major bummer. Except, I love the shirt so damn much, I'm gonna wear it anyway! The color is PERFECT for me (I didn't even need my daily-blush!), but that's a whole 'nother post for another day. ;)
Spread this list far and wide my friends. Thrifting is FUN, and you can score some real deals. Plus, it's a way to shop shop SHOP sans guilt because it's good for the environment, it supports a local non-profit AND it's wicked cheap!!
Now, tell me your most favoritest thing you've EVER thrifted in the comments!
So much love, xo Stasia