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How To: Shop Vintage/Thrift Stores

Jan 16, 2010

Vintage clothes are totally in vogue! Not only is it a great way to always look unique, vintage and thrift shopping is also a fun hobby and economical to boot! But where do you start? It can be pretty daunting when you enter a thrift store and see rack after rack of random clothing and accessories, all of it different and most of it probably unwearable. Not only that but some of it can smell totally musty like mothballs. But don’t let that stop you - with just a few trusty tips, you can be a vintage and thrift store expert in no time!

Eclectic vintage styleEclectic vintage style

Make a Day of It!

Serious thrift shoppers know that dedicating a day to “thrifting” is the most effective way to make the most of your shopping experience. Draw up a plan of which shops you want to hit and the best ways to get there. If you’re not sure, do some research on the internet to see which are the best and most-talked about vintage shops. For thrift stores just check out local charity/thrift shops like the Salvation Army, Goodwill or Oxfam. Go with a friend or family member that’s also interested in vintage clothing and is patient! The last thing you want is someone trying to rush you!

Vintage shopping is a great way to find one of a kind items!Vintage shopping is a great way to find one of a kind items!

Know What You’re Looking For

Maybe it’s unique summer dresses, vintage leather purses or wallets, printed scarves or some funky tops from the 1960s and 1970s you’re after. Or a cool embroidered cardigan sweater and boots? Having an idea of what you’re looking for is the best way to make the most of your shopping experience. Even though the shops are usually packed full of stuff, knowing what you’re looking for will cut down on the amount of time you spend in each shop and ensure you stay focused!

Vintage street styleVintage street style

Go for Quality and Fit!

If you find an amazing sweater or dress at a shop that you love but the zipper is broken or there’s a hole or rip that doesn’t look easy to fix, put it back on the rack. Even if something really catches your eye, if it requires a lot of work to make it wearable, it’s probably not worth it. That’s the best thing about vintage/thrift shopping, there’s always just another unique find around the corner so hold out for something that fits right and is in good condition!

Research the best vintage and thrift stores in your city!Research the best vintage and thrift stores in your city!

Raid Your Mom or Grandma’s Attic Treasures

Ask your mom, aunt, or grandma if they have any stuff in their attic/basement that they’re looking to get rid of and no longer want. If they do, you’re bound to find something cool and authentically vintage. And how cool would it be to wear something your grandma actually wore as a young girl in the 1960s?

Old school glamour!Old school glamour!

Don’t Wear It All at Once!

Once you get into the swing of vintage/thrift shopping and have a nice selection going in your wardrobe, don’t go overboard and wear it all at once. The key to pulling off vintage clothing is to just add elements of it into your regular wardrobe. For example, pair a plain t-shirt dress with a cool vintage cardigan and bag. Or tie a vintage silk scarf into your hair in the summer. Or an old 80s band t-shirt with skinny jeans and a leather-look jacket. It’s all about mixing and matching for a look that’s uniquely you!

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