10 Tricks to Updating Your Wardrobe at the Thrift Store
Thrift store shopping has always been popular among frugal consumers, but in the past few years more people seem to be browsing. The hipster look and even pop culture moments such as the Grammy-winning "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have made buying secondhand items at the thrift store, well, cooler. So how can shoppers make the most of thrift stores now?
The thrift store is the place to update a wardrobe cheaply, but the selection depends on what's available for the store to buy and resell at any given time, and displays can be haphazard. The best strategy for finding good buys is to approach thrift store shopping without any expectations -- that is, don't go with a list or a particular item in mind, but with a flexible attitude that allows for serendipity.
Some of the best thrift store finds surface when items are out of season. Shoppers eyeing summer or fall clothes right now should look out for bonus winter and spring wardrobe updates, as well.
Not having much luck with clothes on a particular day? Don't leave a thrift shop without combing through the accessories. A thrift shop find can make or update an outfit for cheap. A cute spring purse, light scarf or skinny belt, a gently worn watch, or a few wrist bangles may be waiting to be snatched up. A thrift store can also be just the place to find pieces to make your own DIY accessories.
It goes without saying that thrift-store shoppers should examine closely whatever they plan to buy. If it's stained, ripped, discolored, or overly worn, it's probably unwearable. But if a problem seems fixable, go for it -- assuming the repair cost doesn't unwind the thrift store shopping bargain. A chic pair of pants with a ripped seam can be patched at minimal expense, but a grease stain down the front of an otherwise perfect summer dress is likely to be there forever. With proper care, even secondhand items can provide years of use.
It's no secret some brands of clothing hold up better than others. Check the labels of potential purchases and make sure they're worthy. Thrift store shopping is also one of the best ways to freshen up a child's wardrobe or a spring maternity wardrobe. Such items typically aren't worn out because kids outgrow them quickly and pregnancies last only so long.
While the lure of the thrift shop is strong, there are some types of clothing to never buy used. Socks and underwear come to mind for sanitary reasons. Shoppers may also want to think twice about hats, boots, and shoes during a thrift store shopping spree.