One woman’s trash is another woman’s new wardrobe. It’s no surprise that celebs like Solange Knowles, Zoe Kravitz and girl group Electrik Red are hitting up racks at thrift and vintage shops to create one-of-kind ensembles at insanely discounted prices. Now you can get in on the craze with Coco & Crème’s go-to guide for everything you need to know to get the best thrifted and vintage finds!
Thrifted vs. Vintage vs. Consignment
Thrift shop merchandise can come from any era and price point. Since thrift shop items are typically donated, clothes might be stained, ripped or worn and are significantly cheaper than vintage and consignment pieces.
Vintage stores typically sell premium or designer clothing. They get their merchandise from wholesale retailers of used clothing, swap meets, vintage fairs and estate sales or flea markets. There are usually decades of trends to choose from. The clothes tend to be pricier and better quality than thrift shop merchandise.
At consignment shops individuals sell their used clothing through a dealer who takes a percentage of the profit. Most shops won’t accept merchandise unless it looks like new. Because of this, the items sell at a higher price than those found at thrift shops. Since the dealers must share their profits, they want to get the highest price possible and typically sell high-end goods.
1. Shop where the good stuff is. Thrift shops in upscale neighborhoods tend to be chock-full with upscale merch. But be careful not to completely overlook any thrift stores, flea markets or garage sales.
2. Go often. Chances are that you won’t find something every time you step foot in a thrift store, so make a stop every chance you get and get familiar with when they restock.
3. Look thoroughly. It’s easy to bypass entire racks or even the men’s section. You never know what treasure you might find between that bright green poncho and blue pleather shorts.
4. Think about building the wardrobe you already have instead of finding complete outfits.
5. Ask yourself, “Am I going to wear this more than once”? If the answer’s “no,” then don’t buy it.
6. Be sure to examine each item carefully before you purchase it. Also, find out the store’s return policy.
7. Items are sold as they’re brought in, so properly wash or dry-clean each article of clothing before you wear them.
8. Take advantage of swap and sell. Some stores will give you store credit for items you bring in.
Visit TheThriftShopper.com, a national thrift store directory for a shop near you.
- Audra E. Lord