9 tips to save time when thrifting

A high quality designer LBD with the right fit is a great find

The little black dress in today’s outfit is a thrift store find. It was brand new with even the tags still attached. Probably, it was a gift from a mom, grandma, aunt or friend, but it was not the right style or size. Anyhow, in thrifting it’s like one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

As you know, black is my favorite color and I love edgy details. This zipper detail dress called my name. It fits perfectly and was just $18. I couldn’t resist. It’s not the first awesome ageless dress or let’s say classic with a twist dress that I found in a thriftstore. When you read my blog already since a while you probably remember my black and white sheath dress. In case you missed it check the post at the link. Another thrifted item in this OOTD is the tote.

#fashionover40 Nicole of High Latitude Style in a thrifted LBD with floral patent leather pumps and sunnies
Ellen Tracy LBD with Madonna True or Dare floral pumps, Hermes enamel bangles, gold bangle (gift from my Mom), Hermes collier de chien bangle,  and Dolce and Gabbana Madonna sunglasses (all own)
styleover50 mature fashion blogger in quilted  cropped leather jacket with LBD
Hinge quilted cropped leather jacket with Ellen Tracy LBD, Madonna True or Dare floral pumps, Jaeger tote (thrifted), and Dolce and Gabbana Madonna sunglasses (all own)

Thrifting can be time consuming. You cannot go there with the idea to buy X, Y and/or Z. You have to come regularly and browse. Here are nine tips how to save time when thrifting.

  1. Befriend a sales person and tell her about what items you like/look for, what you style preferences are, brands and colors you love, and give them your contact information. S/he will notify you when something comes in that may be of interest for you.
  2. Call the store whether they got new items in your size prior to going there.
  3. Just search in the section with your colors. You will not buy an orange trench coat, for instance, when you look awesome in cool colors and/or have nothing that would go with that color.
  4. Don’t spend time on browsing thru items that are not your style, e.g. in my case ruffles, pleasant skirts, ballerinas.
  5. Restrict your browsing to your size plus a size up and down of your size. Some items end up in a thrift store because they were bought outside the country and are cut larger or smaller than the US size or were the wrong size because of wrong sizing. A US 10, for instance, is a UK 12, Japanese 13, and Australia 14, for instance. See my post on why sizes doesn’t matter, but fit does. Some items may be smaller than the size tag due to having been washed too hot (e.g. jeans, sweaters).
  6. Know your measurements and have a measurement tape in your purse. Check whether an item may fit before you try it on. This way you can sort out items that have no chance to fit even though the size tag suggests the contrary. Sizing has changed over time. Thus, sizes of vintage pieces differ from today’s sizes. Recall that sizes are just numbers, shrinking or being bought abroad may be in the game too.
  7. Know which brands usually fit well and look for them. This method is particularly time saving with shirts, shoes, pants and jeans. It is also great when you shop sales.
  8. Try to browse on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. People tend to de-cluster their closets over the weekend and bring the items into the store on Mondays. Cataloging and placing the merchandise on racks takes up to a day or so depending on how much was brought in. Thus, there is more choice early than later in the week, especially for work related clothes.
  9. Inspect the items you intend to buy. When they need alterations (e.g. shortening of the hem), dry cleaning or new buttons as one is missing, take the cost for this in mind when deciding whether the item is a good deal. Not to mention that these additional steps cost time too.

Pro tip:

Always clean the items before you put them in your closet and wear them.

#fashionover50 styler blogger in LBD with zipper details, sunglasses and pumps
Front view of Ellen Tracy LBD with Madonna True or Dare floral pumps, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Hermes enamel bangle, golden bangle (gift from my Mom), and Dolce and Gabbana Madonna sunglasses (all own) to show the zipper details

You may be also interested in reading further tips on buying second hand like tips for 5 star shopping on eBay and tips to score high in a consignment store.

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Photos: G. Kramm

© 2013-2018 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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