Style & Beauty
To Buy or Not to Buy: Secondhand Shopping Tips
10/2/2018 1:05:16 PM
Secondhand Shopping

Buying vintage or secondhand clothing is a great way to find unique pieces that add a bit of flair to your personal style. Thrifting also affords the opportunity to snag designer items at a fraction of the original cost if you know what you’re looking for. Here’s how to make sure your next thrifting excursion yields some awesome finds.

Know the difference
The terms thrift store, consignment shop, and vintage store are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different. A thrift store sells secondhand clothes and other goods at prices steeply reduced from their original cost, often for a charitable cause. Consignment shops sell secondhand apparel for the item’s owner, who receives a percentage of the profit. A vintage store simply sells garments and accessories from previous eras. Typically thrift stores are cheaper than consignment or vintage shops, but because they usually also have more merchandise, it can be harder to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Don’t get overwhelmed by the volume 
While it’s certainly fun to browse the aisles of your local thrift store, flea market, or vintage boutique, the sheer volume of merchandise can be a bit overwhelming. It helps to go with an open mind and a plan. For example, if you know you’re in the market for a great pair of vintage Levi’s, you’re much less likely to walk out with a shopping bag full of t-shirts that end up going back to Goodwill a few months or years later. 

Work the thrift store on a weekday
Everyone tends to thrift on the weekends, which makes sense: it’s a fun, leisurely activity. But if you’re seriously in the market for something special or just want to get the jump on the best deals, making the rounds in the middle of the week before items get picked over by the weekend crowd is a better plan. You can even ask your local shops what days they restock so you get first pick.

Look closely
Thrift, consignment, and vintage shops aren’t the best places to impulse buy. Make sure you look carefully at the seams of any clothing for rips, check for stains, and maybe even smell it before heading to the checkout counter.

Check the label 
Wondering if an item of clothing is truly vintage? Use your smartphone to double check using the "Label Resource” page on the website for the Vintage Fashion Guild. ( There you can find the history of the brands you’re buying and put a time stamp on your vintage finds. 

Whether you’re in the market for peplum blouses or a reasonably-priced Mardi Gras gown, thrifting is a fun way to find standout pieces – if you know how to look.
Posted by: Emily Alford | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Clothes

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