2nd, September, 2012

A Guide to Vintage Shopping! 

One of the questions I’m asked most often is how to shop in thrift stores. Well, it really is easy-peasy! It can feel like a massive change, swapping from chain stores to vintage – but it sure can be worth it. You never know quite what to expect, or what you could end up carting home later on.

Here is a little guide I’ve written up – I’m sure you’ll pick up all sorts of helpful tips for how to shop in thrift stores! P.s. I like to display my favourite vintage clothing pieces on a rack in my house  so I remember to wear them – here are the latest! Oh, and I did rag curls – would you fancy a tutorial?

Venture From Your Section! 

Some of the very best finds I’ve had have been in the children’s or men’s area! There are two main reasons why clothing ends up where it (possibly) shouldn’t be. First off, it may not have been labelled correctly. The other reason is that other vintage shoppers hide clothing! I used to work at a massive charity shop, and I couldn’t believe how many pretty dresses I found lurking inside oversized jackets. Us vintage shoppers can be sneaky!

Clothing  Can Be Saveable 

Well, not always, but sometimes garments that are looking worse for wear can actually be fixed! Clothing that is smelling musty can be put in the washing machine, and become lemony fresh almost immediately! Many garments that seem irreparable can be fixed. I’m completely obsessed with repairing clothing. I always find it so very exciting (and rewarding!) to restore a garment to it’s former glory. My favourite was a 1970s pan collar dress with a snail and mushroom print. It had clearly been very loved, and had several small tears near the collar – but I was able to get it looking brand new. What a wonderful feeling!

Be Nice! 

Well, I hope you’re nice anyway (!) but I do always try and be on my very best behaviour when I’m thrifting. Having a great relationship with staff can be super rewarding! You can learn ‘inside knowledge’ – such as when new clothing is put out, or you might even be able to purchase something when the price tag has fallen off – which is sometimes against the rules!

Visit When It’s Quiet 

I always try to visit during the quieter hours. For me, this means during the week, usually in the mornings. If you’re not sure of the best hours to visit, try asking the staff! I seem to find much better stuff when I’m able to leisurely browse the clothing, rather than when there is someone right alongside me – rushing their way through the clothing!

..And that’s how I shop in thrift stores! Best of luck, I hope you thrift all kinds of vintage beauties!

36 Comments on “How to Shop in Thrift Stores”

  1. Great tips! As an avid thrift shopper I totally stand behind everything you mentioned. Also, I try everything I like on, because you never really know what something is going to look like on your body when you just see it on a hanger.

    • Ohh, so true! Sometimes look so awful or unshapely on the rack – but incredible on! It’s always such a surprise : ) x

  2. Thanks for the great tips! I am an avid thrift shopper too and I agree it’s always good become friendly with the staff. One store I frequently go to has a 75% off color that is not advertised, you have to ask a staff member for the color. I’ve also signed up on e-mail lists to find out about events like 50% off the whole store sales! Happy Thrifting! :)

    • That sounds like the best! I used to work in a vintage store where they did discounts on the weekend – it was truly incredible! x

  3. Being nice is key! That’s how I have access to “costume” (read: vintage) overstock at one of my favourite thrift stores.

  4. I’ve just come across your blog and have fallen totally in love with it! The photos, your style, the layout, everything! I love this post especially because thrift shopping is the best and these are absolutely amazing tips. I’m going to put you on my blogroll so I’ll definitely become an avid reader!


  5. These are some great tips! I usually end up shopping on a Saturday, and always end up feeling flustered and overwhelmed by vintage shops, but I’ll definitly try in the week from now on.

  6. Great tips! I always look in the men’s sections too. Sometimes you can find great things that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

    I’d also say try on everything you like, even if you’re not sure if it will fit or suit you. Sometimes you can be surprised!


  7. Love to shop at Thrift Stores!!! Most of my wardrobe is from a few thrift shoppes that I adore. It is so nice to be able to wear pieces that are different from the rest of what is “Commercialized.” Then to be able to mix and match is always so much fun with these pieces.
    Handbags as well as jewelry is also some of my favorites to collect from these stores♥

    • I completely agree! I love owning clothing that you don’t see other people wearing – or at least, not often! x

  8. So helpful! It always seems to be packed when Im shopping! And thank you so much for commenting on my blog! It really means a lot <3 xoxoxo

  9. What splendid tips! I live in Los Angeles and save for underpinnings everything I own is thrifted. I totally agree with going during off hours, thrifting on the weekend is a nightmare. Some of my favorite thrift spots are in areas that I wouldn’t hang out in otherwise, I think it’s best to avoid trendy parts of town when thrifting. I try to visit thrift shops in residential neighborhoods, places where people donate to shops but aren’t interested in vintage themselves.

  10. I love the details on the clothes your looking at. The flap on your sailorman top too. Thanks for posting the useful info and feel free to drop by me too when you have time.

  11. i fully support every thing you say here- especially about being friendly with staff. I became so friendly with one manerger that she puts things i will like round back for when i come in.
    thanks for the comment on my blog- the diy is also very quick, taking only 30-ish mins (not including drying)

  12. This is SUCH a helpful post, especially for a total thrifting newbie, like me!
    And I’d definitely like to see that hair tutorial! xx


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