in order to be irreplaceable one must always be different

There are so many good reasons to love thrift shopping. All of my favorite items in my closet have been bought secondhand. I learned the art of thrift shopping from my mom when I was young. She used to take us to this tiny thrift store in my hometown where the lady who ran it gave us candy, and she’d come out with paper bags full of gap clothes and “new” toys. It was heaven. I still get a certain kind of thrill when I go into a thrift store or a consignment store; the possibilities are endless and you never know what you’re going to find in the treasure hunt. The things you find at a thrift store will almost always be unique, and it’s better for the environment and budget-friendly.

When people ask about something I’m wearing and I say it’s secondhand, I always get the same response: “Oh I never find anything good.” Well my friend, let me teach you my ways. Here are my five simple tips for successful secondhand shopping:

1. Go into it with a positive attitude. This is absolutely key. If you believe you won’t find anything, then you won’t find anything. It sounds crazy, but before you go, think about some of the items you’ve been searching for and picture yourself finding those.

2. Dress like you’re going to a J.Crew warehouse sale. Most places have dressing rooms, but sometimes it’s easier to be able to throw on a vest or jacket right then and there rather than waiting in line for a dressing room. Comfort is key — I suggest leggings, a tank top, and a cross-body.

3. Location location location. Look for shops in more upscale areas, since these are the places where people are more likely to donate designer items.

4. Scan for colors and fabrics. Don’t be overwhelmed thinking that you have to search through every rack. Most thrift stores are organized by color or item type. Look through the sections with your go-to colors (I always go through whites and greys) or the items you need most (for me usually jeans and dresses) one by one. Then for the other sections, just walk through slowly and look for colors, prints, or fabrics that catch your eye.

5. Don’t buy it just because it’s affordable. The usual rules for deciding whether to make a purchase still apply. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with stuff you don’t wear. The only caveat to this is that I will sometimes bring home great pieces that are too big because there’s more room in the budget for alterations. Make sure to check carefully for wear and tear before you buy.

Happy guilt-free shopping!

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