Hey Guys!!! I’m back after a little time off. With the weather constantly changing in NYC, and winter fast approaching its time to take wardrobe inventory and get those last few coats and sweaters. If any of you are like me, you want to get quality pieces, but you don’t want to spend a fortune. Though a quality coat is worth the $300 to $400, it may not be in your budget. How can you get that same coat for $20? The answer is simple! Hit the local thrift store. A lot of people find thrift-ing to be an intimidating task but I’m going to give you some tips on how to thrift successfully. It may seem like a daunting task , but I have learned some tips in my own thrift journeys to make it a lot easier.
#1: Know what you’re looking for.
Thrifting is just like any other kind of shopping. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you will spend hours picking through things and leave with nothing. Think of it as going to the grocery store. You need a list. A mental list will do, but I suggest writing it down. For example, if you are shopping for your winter wardrobe like I am, make a list of the things you have and don’t have. I know that I am in desperate need of chunky sweaters and flannel plaids, so when I walk into a store that’s what I look for. If you need a fur coat or a sequined dress, make sure you keep that in mind while shopping. But beware! Not having a physical list can backfire. If you’re anything like me, a recovering shop-a-holic, you can end up buying a bunch of things you don’t need (or have room for). If you’re not in the mood for pen and paper, make a memo in your phone or your ipod.
#2: Map out your shopping route.
Thrift stores, for most, can be hit or miss with the items they carry, so find out which ones in your area have the best selection. Some of my favorites in the NYC area include Vice Versa, Beacon’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and No Relation. You can do some research via Internet on the best shops to hit or simply ask around. Word of mouth has always worked best for me. Apps like Yelp and Foursquare with reviews and tips from shoppers also prove to be quite helpful. You can find out price ranges, specific selection, and how the customer service is. Try to hit stores in the same area so you don’t have to do too much travelling in-between shops.
#3: Set a budget.
Although thrifting is a great way to save money, it is still wise to determine how much you want to spend for the day. This will help you decide your spending cap per store. You don’t want to spend your whole budget at store number 2, when shop number 3 has the real gold mine. I also suggest allowing yourself one splurge item for the shopping day. Something amazing, for an amazing deal, even though you may have promised yourself not to spend so much. Maybe you find an awesome coat by Michael Kors for $75, but you swore you wouldn’t spend more than $50 on your coat. That’s an amazing deal you wouldn’t find everyday, so splurge.
#4: Look at EVERYTHING.
And I mean this literally. Although you know what you’re looking for, most thrift stores aren’t the most organized places. You really have to look at every piece to make sure you’re not walking out without something you really love or really needed. This seems like a long process, but it goes by quickly. When you have a list, its easy to determine the definite no pieces, while making sure you can grab the best you can find.
#5: Try it on.
A lot of times when I’m thrifting with my friends, they see something they really like, look at the size, and put it back. When it comes to size, it really doesn’t matter what the tag says. You have to remember that most of these items have significant age on them. Sizing now, is completely different than it was back then. In my experience as a size 1, I’ve found things that say size 10 and fit me perfectly. The best way to tell is to try it on. You can’t return these things, so you want to make sure that you will be able to get use out of whatever you purchase.
So that’s it. 5 tips to happy thrifting!! I’m including a few pictures of some awesome things I’ve found, and the addresses of the places I like to frequent. See you guys next time!!!
Vice Versa: 241 Bedford Ave (between 3rd St & 4th St) Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg)
Beacon’s Closet: 88 North 11th Street Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg)
Buffalo Exchange: 114 W. 26th Street New York, New York (Chelsea) && 504 Driggs Ave Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg)
No Relation Vintage: 204 1st Avenue New York, NY (East Village)