Can you believe the average American disposes of 81 pounds of clothing a year? I can’t even imagine what that looks like and I’m a personal shopper who helps clients rid their closet of ill fitting pieces. Personally, I love the thrill of searching for unique items and finding treasured designer accessories by Jimmy Choo or Fendi. Recently, I had one of the most rewarding experiences with Eco Fashion Week and was chosen for the challenge of producing 3 beautiful looks with $150 at Value Village and no more than 8.1 lbs of clothing total (representing the 81 pounds that are thrown away). Once a week, for a month I had the chance to scour the store before any shoppers could come in and touch the racks. This challenge taught me a lot about the world of thrifting and how to have a successful trip. I normally frequent consignment shops because their items are carefully curated by the owner or buyer of the boutique but thrifting is quite another experience.
To my surprise, I found some great pieces for the show…… and some special items for myself! Here are my secrets to thrifting.
1. Get Creative With Your Finds
You are going to see trends from past decades with some modern newbies in the mix. Think about how you are going to pair that snazzy jacket with items you already have at home or in your shopping cart. You might have to think outside the box a little to get more use from your finds, don’t think matchy matchy, the point of thrifting is to be creative, to make magic from pieces that didn’t work on someone else.
2. Skirts + Dresses are easier to fit than pants
Let’s face it, finding a good pair of pants at a department store is hard enough, finding one at a thrift store is even more frustrating. If you are crunched on time, I’d say skip the pant section altogether or leave it ’till the end. Skirts and dresses are much easier to fit and the styles are easier to work with.
3. Set at Least 2 hours of Uninterrupted Shopping
You need patience and time to look through everything, then time to try it all on in the fitting room, and then time to make your final decisions. Don’t rush the process because if you do, you’ll miss out on the good stuff. This is definitely not the place to do last minute shopping.
4. Don’t Shop with a Plan, You’ll be disappointed
Looking for a specific item ruins the fun of hunting down unexpected crazy, cool pieces. Naturally we shop by color and pick up the items in the hues we like, but when you are thrifting, you have to let that go of the famliar and open your eyes to new possibilities.
5. Don’t make decisions until the very end
As you find what you like, put it in your cart, fill your cart with piles of clothing if you are lucky enough to find pieces that pique your interest. If you are a size small, look through the mediums too because at the thrift store, you can’t base the fit by the tag. Some pieces are from different stores, different times, different cuts, so you’ve got to look through it all. After you are done searching take that cart and try pieces on one by one in the fitting room.
Now it’s your turn to shop, share photos of your #fabfinds with us!
How much did you pay? What brands did you find? Where’d you find it?