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.

Thoughts on Thrifting - Part 1 - The Stores

Since I am a bit behind and unorganized during the summer, at least this summer anyway, I am foregoing my Beautiful Blogger Best column this week. Believe it or not, watching a six year old every day does not leave me a lot of time for working on the blog. Usually, by the time he goes home in the evening, I do not have any brain cells left to put together dinner, let alone a blog post for the next day. In lieu of that, today I am writing a post on one of my favorite fashion activities, thrifting.

Stocksnap - Matthew Henry

Stocksnap - Matthew Henry

My husband is a detectorist. He owns a metal detector and loves to hunt for treasures buried beneath the ground. His favorite finds are rings, especially gold or silver, but he loves to find any type of ring, even a child's adjustable one. I guess you could call me a "thriftorist". Ha, ha. I made a new word. Just like my husband loves to find treasure, I love to hunt for treasure of the fashionable type in thrift stores.

In my town there are several thrift stores. Savers is the largest and the one I go to every few weeks. I have found they have a large selection of gently used items and their prices are fairly reasonable. They also have frequent sales and rewards programs that motivate a treasure shopper like me to stop in more often. We also have Goodwill, Salvation Army, and a number of others like Plato's Closet, Clothes Mentor and The American Cancer Society thrift shop. There are also a number that I haven't yet checked out. As far as treasure hunting goes, I have plenty to choose from.

When looking for the best stores to treasure hunt in you might want to consider a few thoughts. 

1. Location. Since thrift stores are dependent on their own finds and on donations, finding stores in high trafficked locations will usually yield better used goods. Most of the thrift stores that I shop in are nestled with other retail stores. That being said, you can occasionally find uniques treasures in second hand retailers in out of the way places. 

2. Size. I won't be so bold as to say that the bigger the thrift store the better, but the same reasoning I used for location holds true for size as well. Many of the larger thrift stores give you more options. Savers has everything from furniture and electronics to bedding and shoes. My grandson loves to peruse the toys when we go in there, knowing he will be able to find some little treasure that grandma will buy for him. Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing and unique small thrift stores. My Shop on Rugby Dr., is an example of a small boutique that features used upscale women's clothing and accessories here in Toledo.

3. Organization. This is a huge thing for me....not that I am so organized, but that I like my shopping environment to be. Clothing should be organized by type. For instance, groupings such as long sleeve blouses, skirts, and cardigans, are all helpful as I hunt for treasure. If the store is organized by a broader category, such as long sleeve tops, it will take longer to look through all the tops to find that one button up that I am searching for. It is also helpful when a store organizes their clothing by size, at least by small, medium, large, and so on. 

Another way various stores organize their racks of clothes is by color. I really like this, especially if I go in with a specific color item in mind. That way, I only shop those sections with the colors I am looking for, instead of combing through racks and racks of clothes. While it is true, you have to look for your size in the color you want, it does make shopping for the Pantone series that I do, much easier. 

4. Lighting. I don't know about you, but when I am shopping I like to have a bright environment. I want to be able to see the colors I am looking at, as well as be able to read the tags to check out sizing, materials and washing instructions. I also want to be able to check the item over for tears, stains or deformities. 

On a weekend trip earlier this summer my hubby and I checked out a few thrift stores in the area we went to. The one store was beautifully organized, but the lighting was very dim. While I did find a few things that I bought, I kept wanting to ask a staff person if they could turn on the lights. 

5. Cleanliness. While every thrift store has a bit of a second hand air to it, it doesn't have to look and feel like a dump. Floors should be fairly clean. I've been in thrift stores where I wanted to wash my shoes after I left. Changing rooms should be well attended, meaning the staff is removing clothing left behind and picking up things that were left on the floor. Believe me, people can be very rude when it comes to changing rooms...even at regular, full priced retailers!

Clothing should be clean. That doesn't mean it has been washed. Stores do not have the capacity to wash every item that comes in their donation doors. However, they can be particular about what gets put out on the floor. Find stores that take pride in the pieces of clothing they put out.

It is also helpful if the thrift store has a bathroom. I drink a ton of water and having a bathroom on site means they will get to keep my business. 

Thrifting is a great way to save money, find unique pieces that are just right for you and have fun. I love to thrift with my daughters and my best girlfriend back in New York. Of course it always involves lunch! You can find jewelry, purses, shoes and, of course, clothing for a fraction of the price you will pay at a regular retailer. 

Next week I'll be back with another post on thrifting where I'll talk about how to turn compulsive buying into shopping science. 

Did you like this post? Did you find it helpful? Are you a thrifter? I'd love to have your feedback in the comments section below. 

Have a great weekend!

 

Layers of Fun: the Outer Limits - Week 1

We finally got to the outer layers. Outer layers can include jackets, sweaters, vests, and coats. Follow those with other accessories such as jewelry, scarves, bags and shoes. The pictures below show you some of my final outfits. I did not focus on coats, other outer wear, or bags as we will focus on those in a different post at a later time.

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

You can see with the above outfit I added a sweater, skinny belt to give me a waist and a scarf. Even though it is print on print the scarf pulls together the black in the shirt and pants as well as the raspberry color of the sweater. The ensemble is completed with a pair of heels.


Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

All the pieces in this outfit except the necklace were thrift store finds. The fun necklace was from H & M a few years ago. As my blog evolves, I hope to be more tech savvy and give you links to possible similar outfit pieces. Right now I am still learning. Thanks for being patient.

Tomorrow I will post Outer Limits: Week 2, as we will be starting a Spring theme next week. Be sure to check out my last two outfits from our first photo shoot tomorrow, then put next Tuesday on your calendar for Spring colors and tips for weeding out your closet. Until next time, keep stylin'!