Second-hand Clothes: 5 Tips For Successful Thrift Shopping

As the fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world after the oil industry, many customers are abandoning fast fashion and turning to second-hand clothing. Thrift stores house treasures for those who know how to find them. To help you in your quest for the perfect item, here are 5 tips for shopping successfully at thrift stores.

1- Choosing the right thrift store.

If you're convinced of the benefits of secondhand clothing for environmental or budgetary reasons but prefer to see and try on items before purchasing, thrift stores are perfect for you!

The first of the 5 tips for successful thrift shopping is to choose the right store, as each has its specialty. Charitable thrift stores like Emmaüs and resource centers are great for buying basics like jeans and t-shirts. If you enjoy customizing and upcycling clothes, you'll find pieces to personalize at very low prices.

Other vintage thrift stores offer brand name or even luxury items at much higher prices. These shops are perfect for finding retro-style gems, provided you have a more substantial budget. Between these two extremes, there are also wholesalers who sell clothes by the kilo. The selection is broader and you can find unique pieces.

While location is important, the timing of your shopping trip is just as crucial. When visiting a secondhand store for the first time, avoid going on a Saturday afternoon when it's busiest. For a more leisurely experience and the opportunity to thoroughly check out the items, it's better to go during the week and in the morning.

Set goals.

The second of the 5 tips for smart thrift shopping is to set clear goals. In second-hand stores, you can find all kinds of clothing, which poses the risk of wasting time and ending up with an item that doesn't really meet your needs.

Unless you just want to browse the shop aimlessly, take the time to think and make a list before you go shopping! You will be more efficient if you have a fairly clear idea of what you are looking for.

Try to define the type of item you want (skirt, pants, jacket, or dress) and in what color. In thrift stores, clothes are usually organized by color and/or type of item.

However, do not necessarily rely on the size indicated on the tags because vintage sizes tended to run much smaller... A size 42 from the 1980s might correspond to a size 38 today. The men's section can also hide treasures for women who love oversized jackets and shirts! If there are fitting rooms in the store, the easiest thing is to try before you buy.

Maintain a certain level of expectation.

The third of the 5 tips for smart thrift shopping might be the most important of all... Even if you're buying second-hand clothes, you shouldn't lower your standards.

In other words, low prices should not tempt you into buying just anything! Instead, choose second-hand items very carefully, checking the labels for fabric content and brand. Don't skip the fitting process and don't be tempted by cheap clothes if you're not sure you'll wear them.

To find beautiful pieces at a low price, maintain the same level of expectation as you would for new clothes and consider the following criteria:
• The quality of the materials and finishes.
• The brand of the clothing.
• The condition of the garment, especially the absence of pilling, moth holes, defects, or stains.
• The cut and how the garment falls on you.
• The ability to match the garment with other pieces in your wardrobe.

4- Be willing to walk away empty-handed.

When the criteria on the list are not met, you must be willing to walk away empty-handed. This is another of the 5 tips for successful thrift shopping.

It's not easy to leave empty-handed when you've spent time looking for that gem in a second-hand store. Yet, it's the best course of action if you don't want to waste your money on clothing you won't wear...

Good thrift shopping also means being aware that you might not find what you're looking for right away. Be patient and treat the search like a game or a treasure hunt that you pursue without getting discouraged!

Beware of deals that seem too good to be true.

The last of the 5 tips for smart thrift shopping is to be wary of false bargains. An extremely cheap garment isn't necessarily a good deal if it doesn't match your style and what you're looking for.

As I mentioned before, you should maintain a certain level of standards and favor quality over the quantity of clothes purchased. In summary, the price tag should not be your only criterion for choice, even if it's an unbeatable rate!

Conversely, you should also not be tempted by a high-end brand or designer item if it doesn't suit your style. No matter how beautiful they are, these pieces will probably just gather dust in your closet if they don't blend in with the rest of your wardrobe.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: visitthefrenchriviera
Tags: thrift, thrift stores, clothing, brand, garment, vintage, rely, LOVE, second-hand clothes, fabric, Price Tag, waste, skip, price, treasure hunt, pilling, moth, The Cut, jacket, skirt, fashion industry, Oil industry, fast fashion, thrift store, Emmaüs, basics, Jeans, t-shirts, upcycling, retro-style, kilo, The selection, wasting time, dust,
In French: Vêtements de seconde main : 5 conseils pour bien acheter en friperie
En español: Ropa de segunda mano: 5 consejos para comprar bien en una tienda de segunda mano
In italiano: Abbigliamento usato: 5 consigli per fare buoni acquisti in un negozio di seconda mano
Auf Deutsch: Secondhand-Kleidung: 5 Tipps für den Kauf in Secondhand-Läden.
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