Thrift store shopping may seem less glamorous than hopping around the downtown mall, but there are tons of treasures waiting to be discovered at your local thrift store. As a culture, we tend to seek out new, poorly made clothes rather than shop a thrift store in an effort to keep up with trends.
But the beauty (or frustration) with fashion trends is they are very much cyclical. What’s more, you can often find high-quality hand-me-downs a thrift store at a much lower price point than if you were to buy new. Many thrift store aficionados love finding vintage pieces that have come back into style after years.
And the savviest of thrift store shoppers know how to see the potential in the abandoned pieces that adorn the shelves of thrift stores. Sometimes, with a little tweak, a forlorn piece of clothing can shine again. Try out some of these tips for your thrift store clothing finds.
Add to it
Either to suit your own personal aesthetic, make an item more modest, or to fit a piece in the latest trends, you can add wardrobe elements to your thrift store find to give the piece new life or a fresh take on an old look. Some easy fixes include adding a cardigan or bolero, pairing with leggings or donning a skirt extender to give an old piece a completely different take. It can be amazing the difference small additions can have.
Perhaps nothing transforms an outfit more or gives a more complete look than the proper accessories. Jewelry is an easy place to start — with earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, brooches, (all of which you can also pick up at a local thrift store for some unique finds!).
But don’t limit yourself there. Suspenders are a cute funky way to dress up new pants. Belts, both regular and fashion ones, can transform a dress into a look and hats can complete any look.
Let’s be real, sometimes thrift store buys are diamonds in the rough. For a high-quality piece, it can be worth it to buy with the intent to repair it or shine it up if the raw materials are still good. You can do any number of repairs like changing buttons or zippers. For wool or woven pieces, it’s easy to remove pilled fibers using a shaving razor blade and tying off ends on the interior of the fabric. Or for jean fabrics, you can go the opposite way, distressing it more for the style.
If a piece has a faded color, you can buy relatively cheap fabric dyes to spruce it up. You could also change its color pretty easily using bleach and a new dye, just make sure you follow the proper instructions and wash carefully afterwards.
For skirts and pants, you can hem them or let them out to suit the current trends in length. Or, again for pieces deemed high enough quality, consider taking it to a tailor to have it customized to your body. It can be a worthy expense to wear truly fantastic vintage pieces.
Remove trinkets or baubles
Some pieces inexplicably have a lot of baubles or trinkets that do nothing to improve the look of the outfit (we’re looking at you, jackets from the 80s.) Or these baubles have been worn over time and make the piece look old. So do away with them. They often are loosely sewn on and are easily removed, immediately improving the look of the clothing and modernizing it as well.
Don’t skimp on the local thrift store. With patience and a keen eye, and sometimes a few strategies to spice up your finds, you can pick up amazing clothes.