9 tips to save time when thrifting

#fashionover40 mature woman in a thrifted LBD | High Latitude Style
Ellen Tracy LBD with Madonna True or Dare floral pumps, and Dolce and Gabbana Madonna sunglasses (all own)

Thrifted LBD

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.

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. Another thrifted item in this OOTD is the tote.

styleover50 mature woman in quilted  cropped leather jacket with LBD at High Latitude Style
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)

Thrift like a pro

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 sizes. 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 mature woman in LBD with zipper details | High Latitude Style
Front view of Ellen Tracy LBD with Madonna True or Dare floral pumps, 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 and tips to score high in a consignment store. Get a subscription to High Latitude Style.

Photos: G. Kramm (2015)

Copyright 2013-2016 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved