Location - A thrift or resale store in a good location is important. I find that the best stores are on the edge of expensive neighborhoods. The area of the thrift store isn't necessarily prime real estate but proximity to a ritzy neighborhood means that a charity thrift store will get great donations. My favorite thrift store is close to an older, well off, neighborhood. There are many folks who have owned their houses for decades and they donate amazing items. I've found Diane von Furstenberg, Ferragamo, Coach (vintage), Armani and vintage jewelry there, just to name a few. They also have great furniture (high quality and antique). Sometimes you may find that you'll want to go to multiple stores for the best finds. One store might have a great shoe selection, while another has the best career wear.
Like - Know what you like and hunt for those items first. I go straight for the handbags, shoes, and jewelry, then I will hit up the clothing (I love vintage rock and slogan tees) and home goods (for vintage glassware). If you know what you like, you should do research in advance. I love vintage Coach bags. I've done lots of research on how to spot a fake. Nothing is worse than wasting your money. If you love vintage clothing, know your labels and the signs of quality. Don't be afraid to do research on the spot. Pull out your smart phone and look up information about a tag, label or marking. Having knowledge about brands you like will also serve you well. That information will help you to know fit and spot knockoffs. Knowing what you like will help to weed out the impulse purchases too. In the past I have been known to buy an item and then redonate it a short time later. That's not a bargain.
|Two of my favorite finds, Ferragamo shoes and a vintage red suede Coach bag. Found at Goodwill.|
|Recent finds at Goodwill.|
|DVF silk jersey dress for $8! Found at Goodwill.|
Luck - Knowing and using the other L's is great but many times, it's just luck. You are lucky that the person donated a great item. Lucky that you came into the store and spotted it before someone else. You can't plan for luck. Getting to know your favorite store helps but it doesn't replace destiny. My wish is that the thrifting gods are smiling on you and you'll have lots of great finds. I've been lucky that way.
I hope these tiny tips have helped you. I'm off to the thrift store at lunch today to look for my Halloween costume. Wish me luck!
Happy Thrifting Real Girls