I don’t think I need to tell you that I am a thrifter and a self-designated professional thrifter. And because I am so good at thrifting, I thought I would share my trade secrets with you all, so that you too can become a professional thrifter.

  • Seek out brands you already know and love and get to know them well. If you love Anthropologie, make yourself familiar with the brands that are carried there, what those brands and items typically are priced at and what size you wear in those brands. This will make you armed and ready to make good decisions at the thrift store and find pieces that you know you will love.
  • Be aware of how much things should cost. To get the best deal possible and to know if you are being price gouged, pay attention to the price tag. For example, if you buy something from Target at full price, that item will likely be between $8 and $50, let’s say. At the thrift store, a Target item should than cost less than that original price. If you know the original price of many items, you will be able to go into the thrift store and know if an item is priced well.
  • Do your research on an item/brand if you are unfamiliar with it. If you are at the thrift store and you come across an item that you like, but don’t know anything about, look it up! If you can’t find something on the brand website, describe that item or brand to the best of your ability and it is likely to come up in the secondhand online market. This is how resellers find out if something is worth buying and reselling for more money.
  • Try that shit on. Even if you are familiar with the brand and know your correct size, try that item on if you can. The dressing rooms are closed a lot lately, so there are a few tricks that you can utilize when trying things on in public. I stick my arms through sleeves of garments because oftentimes tops are tight on my arms. Some folks bring tape measures to the thrift store with them because if you know your measurements, you can figure out if something is going to fit you. There is nothing worse than getting an amazing item that you find out later does not fit you.
  • Pay attention to the fabric. Seasoned professionals can sometimes tell how something will fit just be looking at or touching the fabric of a garment. The amount of stretch in a garment can make it more or less likely to fit or can attribute to how it will fit. It is also important to pay attention to the fabric of a piece because it will help you figure out if you are going to like the item. I don’t like itchy sweaters, so I will rub fabrics on my arms in the store to see if they are possibly going to be uncomfortable for me in the long run.
  • Imagine how the items will age. So much of the clothing that is being produced in the fast fashion industry today is made out of cheap fabric and wears poorly. Those items end up in the thrift store. If you can look at an item that appears to be in good shape, but is already pilling, that item is not going to last long in your wardrobe. Choose items that will last a long time.
  • Examine the hell out of every item that you are thinking about purchasing. These are secondhand items and, oftentimes, the employees of the thrift store don’t catch it when an item is damaged. They are looking at thousands of items a day, so it is the customers’ responsibility to thoroughly check over the items before they leave with it. This means checking for holes, stains, pulls and wear and tear.
  • Imagine how you can incorporate that piece/item into your life. It is easy to get swept up in the hunt or to get lured in by the insanely good prices at the thrift store. If you don’t need that item or can’t see/figure out how you would use or wear that piece, don’t buy it.
  • Shop in every section of the store. By looking through every section of the thrift store, you may find things that are in the wrong place or you may find something fabulous for yourself that isn’t necessarily “for you.” Clothes are inanimate objects and do not have genders. Remember that and shop wherever you want. Another example is my mom finding baby clothes for my dogs at the thrift store.
  • As you would with firsthand itmes, shop the sales and make offers/bids online. Yes, even thrift stores have sales and if really want a good deal, shop on those sale days. But, more importantly, if you are secondhand shopping online, don’t be afraid to bid and make offers on items that you are thinking about purchasing. Be reasonable and kind and you may get an even better deal.

I hope these tips are helpful and make you feel equipped to slay the thrift store. Happy thrifting!

If you are interested in where I thrift, check-out my Thrift Store Guide.