Thoughts on Thrifting - Part 2 - How To

Last week, in the first part of my two part series on thrifting, I talked about essential things to look for in a good thrift store environment. Things like location, organization, lighting and cleanliness are all factors that can make thrift shopping more pleasant and easier to maneuver. 

This week I want to focus on the science of thrift shopping. It has taken me a number of years to really pare back on over buying when I go into a thrift store. With the relatively low prices and the abundance of product, it is very easy to walk out with a whole bag full of fun clothes. Blogging has certainly helped me to discover my own style, as well as learn what the better brands are and how to put an outfit together. The following are just a few of the things I have learned over the years as a thrifter.

1. Know the store you are shopping in. It is always good to check out a few stores before you decide which ones you actually want to spend more time at. Know how things are laid out, how the clothing is arranged, where the bathroom is (if they have one) and where the dressing rooms are. 

2. Know your purpose for thrifting. What are you looking for? Clothing? Home goods? House wares? Kids toys and games? Tools? Know what you want to look for and what stores will most likely carry the items you want. Maybe make it a thrift store day and go to several stores. Knowing what your needs are before you start out, will make your trip more efficient and help you to not over buy or over spend.

3. Make a list. You might think this is the same as number 2, but I think making a list is a great way to keep you focused on what it is you are going to the store for. How many times have you gone to the grocery store for one item and end up grabbing several things and forget the one thing you went in for? Guilty! For thrifting, I have a running list. This means that I have a little note pad where I write things down as I think of them. Right now I have a list that includes a couple of olive colored pieces. I have grown to love that color and know I want a sweater of some sort for the colder months. Rather than going into the store with no idea what to look for, the list keeps me on task. Not that I don't get easily distracted by other things, but I have a better chance of leaving the store with less stuff. Ha, ha. 

4. Don't impulse buy. Are you the woman of steel? Are you never tempted by those end caps at the store that have items you don't need? How about those clearance racks? I really cannot go into a store without looking over the clearance. However, I am better now than I used to be. I used to buy a top because I thought it was cute, or pretty. Now I may try on dozens of cute and pretty things, but only buy those that look and fit perfectly and that I know will accent my style. Compulsive buying will only lead to a closet full of clothes that you don't know how to wear.

5. Don't be afraid to try on lots of things. My advice is don't go thrifting when you are in a hurry. Be prepared to spend time looking through the racks for your list items and trying things on. I usually get a cart full before I go to the dressing room. When I have a lot of time I might go through and pick tops I want to try on, then go to the dressing room. Then I will look through skirts and pants, then try them on. Once you try stuff on sort them into piles. The absolute no's go back on the rack. The maybe's I hang on the outside of my cart and the for sure's I take off the hanger, fold and put in the cart. The clothes in the maybe pile, I look through very carefully and try to imagine how I would use each piece. I also check for stains and tears. Anything that is not in perfect condition goes back on the rack.

Another piece of advice under this category is to try things on that look a little different or strange on the hanger. Once in a while I pick up a piece and think, "That is so not me," but maybe I love the color or the pattern, so I throw it in the cart to try on. Amazingly, I have found some fun stuff that I would have simply passed over, if I hadn't tried it on. This helps me as a fashion blogger, because it pushes me outside my box. 

6. Don't be disappointed if you don't find what you are looking for. Thrift stores are constantly getting in new items. It is good to go back every so often, list in hand and keep searching for that treasure you are looking for. 

These are a few of my favorite finds:

Navy Ralph Lauren blazer:

navy ralph lauren blazer

Loft striped tee and navy Vera Wang bag:

loft striped tee

J.Jill velvet lined jacket:

j.jill velvet jacket

Distressed cropped jeans:

denim distressed crop pants

And don't forget shoes:

navy loafer heels
ankle boots
combat boots

In addition to regular thrift stores in your neighborhood there are some awesome online thrift store options as well. Two of the bigger ones are Thread Up and Poshmark. if you are more of an on line shopper, be sure to check out these sites!

I hope you enjoyed these posts on thrifting. Thrift shopping is a great way to save money, find unique pieces to fit your own personal style and have fun. 

Next month I'll be back to my regular schedule for my monthly columns. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Feel free to share this with others you think might like to learn about fashion for women over 50. I appreciate all of your support. 

Have a great weekend. 

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull. Make up Rachel Christensen

Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style.