8 Ways To Make The Most Of Thrift Store Clothing Finds

The case for shopping at thrift stores is strong: you can get great pieces for less while doing your part to help your community and reduce your own environmental impact.

But while second-hand shopping can make you feel better, second-hand clothes don’t always make you look good. Worn, faded, out of season and just plain cheap clothes can reveal your second-hand secret.

It is therefore important that you do your best to get the most out of your thrift store finds. By making sure to select quality pieces and take good care of them, you can make anyone believe that you bought your outfit at the mall just like everyone else.

Dress thrift store results

I like the fact that the flea market and the flea market are becoming more and more fashionable. This means shoppers are becoming a little more aware of how and where they spend their money, while also recognizing that clothes don’t necessarily lose value just because they were previously loved. Follow these tips and you will always be dressed well no matter how many times an item has been worn before hanging it.

1. Buy in the right place

One of the best ways to get your money’s worth when shopping second-hand is to make sure you’re exploring a thriving area. Prosperous areas mean prosperous people, which increases your chances of finding quality products, reputable labels, and better fabrics.

Before visiting a thrift store, especially if you have to travel a significant distance to get there, call ahead to ask two important questions:

  • When does the store restock the shelves? Thrift stores usually don’t offer new products every day. In fact, many are only replenished one day a week. By knowing when a store is restocking, you can be sure to have the first selection of high-end merchandise coming through the doors.
  • Are there any discount days? Many thrift stores hold shelf cleaning events once a month to make room for new merchandise. This can mean significant discounts of 25-50% on some items, or even the entire purchase.

What is most important to you: big discounts or new products? Either way, shopping in a better-off neighborhood gives you the best chance of getting high-quality products.

2. Search for brands and quality fabrics

Due to the low prices of thrift stores, it can be tempting to fill your cart with impulse shopping. But before you buy this polyester pantsuit, remember that high quality clothes always look better than cheaper fabrics in the long run. By specifically looking for branded items that have a reputation for being of high quality (for example, Banana Republic for work wear), you can be sure that the items in your thrift store won’t fall apart or show any damage. clothes too early.

Natural fibers always look better over time, even if they cost a bit more. Look for cotton, linen, and leather, and avoid fabrics like polyester, nylon, or faux fur, which can certainly look cheap and worn over time.

Are you looking for branded products? You may have better luck in consignment stores, which buy or share the profits with previous owners. Many consignment stores have strict rules for branded clothing, so while you may pay more than the average donation-based thrift store, you can be sure about branded items. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t find designer clothes in thrift stores, it just means you’ll find them more reliably when shopping on consignment.

3. Shop by trends

Head to a mainstream retailer and take note of the trends. See a ton of leopard prints? Does everyone go with gold accessories? What about the leather upholstery? Then head to the thrift store or thrift store and start looking for items that incorporate these trends. The point is, fashion is cyclical – you might find a vintage leopard-print belt that is several years (if not decades) old, but totally current.

4. Know what to avoid

There are some things smart used buyers overlook because they will always look cheap or just worn out. By knowing what to avoid when shopping, you won’t be stuck with an item of clothing that cannot be fully worn or that betrays your second-hand shopping habit.

In general, ignore these items:

  • Heavy ornate clothing. Second-hand clothes that have embellishments like sequins, high contrast stitching, and sequins may look cute, but remember that they’ve been used before. Even though the ornaments seem secure now, over time they can loosen and even fall off. Plus, you might not even notice any missing ornaments when you first pick up the item. Instead, look for quality basics with fun fabrics, rather than sewn or glued trims.
  • Damaged clothes. A hole may seem unimportant if you are a great seamstress. However, if you don’t know how to repair items, avoid items with holes, falling linings, and other clearly damaged areas. If you don’t have the option to fix it, it’s a waste of money no matter how good the deal is.
  • Clothing with stains and odors. Give a good look to a garment. Are there stains? Does it have a strange smell? These are two warning signs that the item may not be of the best quality. Even if you are able to remove stains and odors, it is a sign that the previous owner may not have taken good care of the item.

5. Stock up on jewelry

One thing I always advise people to buy from thrift stores is jewelry. There is usually a huge selection and often you cannot tell the cheap jewelry from the expensive jewelry. Head to the accessories section of the thrift store and shop for trendy necklaces, vintage brooches, eclectic watches, and oversized rings. Adding them to your wardrobe basics and thrift store finds can make everything look more expensive and better. Just be sure to check that the stones are securely attached and watch for broken fasteners.

Jewelry is also a great place to start if you’ve never done second-hand shopping before. Most jewelry doesn’t show a lot of wear and tear, and many thrift stores have a lot to choose from, which makes it a little less overwhelming than browsing clothes racks for designer items.

6. Eliminates signs of wear

Once you’ve brought your thrift store treasures home, it’s time to check for signs of wear, many of which can be removed with a gentle hand.

  • If the clothes are discolored: I swear by Rit dye as a way to make discolored clothes look new again. A bottle of dye costs around $ 6 at Walmart and can bring old clothes back to life. Just pick a color that’s close to the garment’s original shade (or, if you’re feeling adventurous, dye a lighter colored garment a whole new shade, as white and beige work well with colors) and follow the package instructions.
  • If your clothes are pilling: If you’ve found a wool sweater with signs of pilling, don’t worry, there is a simple fix. While you can definitely use a sweater razor to get rid of those little fabric balls, I use a clean razor. With a very light hand, slide the razor down in the direction of the fabric weave to easily remove stacked pieces. Just use a light hand as pushing the razor could make a hole in the garment.
  • If the ornaments look worn: If you’ve gone against your good judgment and grabbed something with a border on it, you might want to remove them if it looks like they’ve seen better days. A sharp pair of scissors can do a quick job of removing worn and outdated glitter and bangs.
    If you take a few minutes to fix your used clothes, they’ll look newer, which also means you’ll enjoy them more.

7. Wash properly

Before wearing thrift store clothes, you should always wash them thoroughly. Always check the wash label on each item individually, as some may be suitable for regular washing, but some fabrics (such as cashmere, silk, and wool) may require hand washing or dry cleaning.

Once you’ve separated the delicate laundry, gather all the items that can fit in your washing machine and choose a hot water cycle. Pre-treat any areas that might need a little extra attention (like the underarm area of ​​blouses) and throw your items in the washing machine. Hot water cleans clothes, but it can also kill any bugs that have clung to your new clothes.

If an item requires special washing, always take the time to do so before using it for the first time. Clean second-hand clothes are essential if you want them to be neat and of good quality.

8. Find a tailor

If I can give you any advice to always dress well, whether the clothes are new or in thrift stores, it is to make friends with a tailor in your region. Not all second-hand clothes will look like a glove, but it’s hard to pass up a designer contract. So you can make this amazing J.Crew blazer a perfect fit by giving it to a tailor.

What a tailor charges for minor alterations depends on where you live, but in general you can expect to pay anywhere from $ 15 to $ 20 for pant hems, $ 20 to $ 25 for jackets and skinny dresses, around $ 15 for sleeve hems. , and $ 20 to $ 25 for cropped dresses and skirts. If you stole the item, adding $ 20 to make sure it fits is a small investment. You can even have a tailor replace outdated buttons or tighten loose seams for a small fee.

Last word

Second-hand purchases at thrift stores, consignment stores, and even online can mean big discounts on clothing. But when buying second-hand, quality is always better than quantity. By taking your time and buying the best items, you can come home with items that look new after a bit of TLC. The best part? Buying used is almost always within your budget.

How to make the finds in thrift stores more expensive?

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