Friday, October 24, 2014

Frugal Fashion Friday - The Four L's of Thrifting

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is... "How do you find such great things at thrift stores?".  I've written other posts on tips for thrifting. Those tips still hold true and make for a great thrifting experience. For me, finding great items, really comes down to four things. They aren't difficult and you don't have to thrift every day or even every week to find great items.


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.
Look - Be willing to search. Digging is thrifting. Look at every piece in a section, even if at a glance they don't look great. Move the hangers, check tags. If I hadn't used this method I wouldn't have found the Diane von Furstenberg dress that I scored (and gave to my daughter in law as a gift). I moved each hanger on the rack and {msL} commented that none of the dresses looked good. Like a scene from a movie, I said, "Well you never know when you are going to find a gem."  At that moment I moved a hanger and spotted a great print dress in a high quality fabric. I pushed the neckline aside to see the Diane von Furstenberg label and I think I let out a few excited expletives. My favorite way to thrift is to take my time but I also stop at some of my favorite stores during my lunch break. On those days, I start by focusing in one area and I search through everything before heading to the next area (if there is time). Try stopping by your favorite store the evening before their sale day. Most stores put out their latest donations the night before.

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

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