Thrift shopping can be fun and successful or it could be time consuming and unfruitful. Depending on your local thrift store or boutique, some are more discerning when it comes to their stock and others not as much. Now that doesn't mean that you can't shop in the less discerning stores, as you still may find some hidden gems, but personally, I focus more on the shops that a little more particular in what they stock. A few of my favourite local thrift stores are Guy’s Frenchys, Value Village and Paula’s Picks. If I am looking for unique, high-quality pieces, then Paula’s Picks is always my first option. Paula, the owner and "Professional Shopper" is friendly, knowledgeable and she has excellent taste! She carries jewelry, shoes, bags, plus size clothing and everything else in between! Check out the pictures of the amazing outfits I found in her shop in this post. Everything I am wearing from shoes to jewelry is from her shop! She is a little out of the way, but it is worth a trip! She has a sign at the end of her driveway and then you pull up to her beautiful house where you will see her shop! If you are local to me in New Brunswick Canada, then check her out on Paula's Picks FB Page!
The Beautiful Paula!
Shopping second hand can save you money on quality or hard to find pieces and it can even save you money if you are wardrobe building after a lifestyle change. One other big advantage is that you are helping reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfills. As of January 2018, Canadians on average purchase 70 new articles of clothing a year and that contributes to the 12 million tons a year of textile waste dumped into North America's landfills. Fast Fashion stores push out new stock weekly at a super affordable price in order for you to keep buying regularly, whether you need to or not. This leads to items hanging in your closet that you don’t wear, which then ends up in a donation box....which can then end up in a landfill. I have a whole other blog post dedicated on "How to Shop for a Wardrobe You Love". Take a read before you shop! We can all do our part in reducing the amount of clothes we contribute to the landfills. Check out my 7 tips below to have a successful thrifting adventure!
I scored these Paige Denim jeans and fabulous blouse from Paula's Picks.
2. Give yourself time. Even if you go with a plan or purpose, thrift shopping is not for those who want a quick in and out. It takes time to scan, sift, touch and try on the clothes. When I thrift shop, I tend to try on way more then I would at a regular store because sizing can be all over the place. And to be honest, even if I go with a plan, I still pick up things that I am drawn to as I love unique pieces that I can't easily find elsewhere. This takes time. If you rush it, you can end up missing out on some hidden gems or with a bag full of clothes you'll never wear.
3. Know your shop! Learn about the days that your local thrift shop releases new stock. Some may have a specific day and some may not. If you’re not sure, then ask! If they have specific days, then plan your shopping trip on that day so you can be the first to see new stock. Also, if your local thrift store has a social media account, then follow them! Some smaller second-hand boutiques post pictures of their new stock and it will give you a chance to see if anything grabs your eye or is worth making the trip. Also, get to know the owner or staff. Chat with them and let them know what you are looking for. They know their stock and can save you a TON of time if you are looking for something specific.
This dress and heels are from a trip to Paula's Picks!
4. Quality over quantity. Look for quality brands and fabrics so that the item isn't falling apart after a few wears. It can be easy to dismiss quality when you know you are saving money. However, quality is always better than quantity and it will be a better investment with your hard-earned cash. Look for natural fibers as they will hold up longer and brands that you know are higher quality. Feel the fabric. Is it flimsy? Does it have loose thread? If so, then it may be a lower quality piece. Also take a longer look to see if any of the pieces have damage, that all the zippers work, that all the buttons are accounted for (but could be an easy fix) and if there are any tears or stains.
5. Don’t be afraid to try on clothes! Thrift shopping is a long game and can be a workout! You might be in a rush to get through all the bins and racks, but don't quickly dismiss a piece you are not sure of on a hanger. Sometimes I hold something up and I am not sure of it on a hanger, but then try it on and can be pleasantly surprised or vice versa...but you won’t know until you try it on! Take your time trying on clothes and move around in them and make sure they are comfortable. I usually walk into a dressing room with a HUGE pile, as I may only find a few pieces that actually fit.
6. Don’t just shop your size. I own bottoms that range in size 26-29 and they all fit me. Every designer or retailer makes their sizing different. So start with your regular size and then scan and look at the what’s available in the next size up or down. Sometimes I just need to hold up a piece to tell whether it will fit, though sometimes I throw it in my cart/pile just in case to try it. Remember, the size on the tag does not define your worth! They are just numbers. This is important to keep in mind when sizing is ALL over the place when you thrift shop.
7. Don’t give up after your first visit. Again, thrift shopping is a long game. Set your expectations and don't buy something you don’t really love or need JUST because you feel you need to something to show for your time. If you didn’t find anything on your trip, then come back again. There are times that I find a TON of great options and there are times that I find none. Don’t give up!
This outfit is from Paula's Picks as well. I ended up with this shirt!
If you want to know how simplySTYLISH can help you get a wardrobe you feel confident in, then check out our various services HERE. We can style you no matter where you live with our Virtual Styling as well! With love, Amanda