My Thrifting Secrets (Shhhh!)
Hello, my name is Allison and I love vintage everything to a point where my closet smells like a big 'Ol grandma. I don't think there's ever been a time where I've went to an antique store, a vintage store, or a thrift shop and came out empty handed. I always seem find something special to bring home with me! Thrift shopping is one of my favorite hobbies (it's an expensive hobby sometimes...oops) and one of the most frequently asked questions that I receive in person and social media alike is the following:
"Oh my gosh! How do you find all of these awesome clothes when you go thrifting? I never find anything when I go... what do you do?"
Well kiddos, hold on tight because we are about to dive into my crazy thrifting habits and techniques... are you ready?
Now there is no wrong or right way to shop, believe me, but I am just going to share my personal tactics of how I find my clothes.
First off, always check the daily sale racks first!
A lot of thrift stores do this thing where certain tags on certain days will be 50%+ off of the original price and sometimes there are pre-picked clothing articles with the sale tags near the front of the store. These clothes are the cheapest and honey I LOVE a good deal.
Here are the tactics I use when shopping for certain items:
When shopping for pants I usually am looking for vintage pants so either 80's high-waisted jeans, or a vintage cotton or wool trouser. I start by going to the rack of my size, and I start by looking at the waist. My waist is very small and fitted jeans are hard to come by, but what I usually do is look at the size of the waist before anything else. While looking at the waist I feel the fabric while going through the racks. The thicker the fabric, the better. The thicker the denim, the better the quality, and it's more likely that the jeans are vintage due to the amount of spandex used in jeans now a days. Also, DO NOT be afraid to search all the sizes! In the 50's-80's the sizes (especially for women's wear) was totally different than it is now. For instance, my favorite pair of jeans (they were my moms in the 80's) are a size 8, but back then a size 8 is equivalent to a size 4 now. And I bought a pair of trousers from the 1960's which had a 25in. waist line and they were labeled as a size 11! You never know what you'll find!
When I shop for tops, I really mainly just look for odd tops; things I've never seen before! I tend to go out and buy almost everything I touch because I see potential in almost everything. For button-ups I mainly just look at the fabric and the style of the collar(I love stripes, things that can layer, and peter pan collars!), and I like to wear most of my button-ups tied in a knot at my waist to give any button-up a more retro look! During the fall, I really enjoy funky, colorful sweaters, which I usually layer with a vintage collared shirt underneath!
Something fun I've also found over time is that people in thrift shops usually place the 1990's one pieces in the bathing suit or children's bathing suit areas! They do not go there... but you should!
I LOVE VINTAGE SKIRTS. Like I said in the pants, you can't really always rely on the rack sizing! A lot of the skirts I own and wear on a daily basis are actually not my size at all. Skirts are a very basic piece and can be altered VERY easily. Most of my vintage skirts have one to two buttons that come together at the waist line, and most skirts, especially with pleats, are simple to reconstruct to fit your size! If a skirt is too big, all you need is a pair of scissors, a needle, and some matching thread! Cut the button off, and just sew it further over from the original placement to make the skirt fit your waist and ta-daa! You're a seamstress and you didn't even know it. So if you ever find a skirt too bit for you, don't fret! It's an easy fix!
Also, I'm a pretty small gal, (Size S/M, I'm 5'5", and my waist is 25inches) so I actually have a pretty good time shopping in the kids area! Hehe! If you're a smaller gal like me and love plaid skirts, the little girls section is GREAT. A lot of girls (Size Junior 14-16) will fit me pretty perfectly and because I'm taller, the skirt is above the knee as it would be below on a young girl. Most of these skirts look identical to the plaid skirts sold at American Apparel... but these are made better... and they're like $3. So, what I'm saying is that no one should be ashamed to say they shop in the children's section!
Okay ya'll, if you know me... it is RARE to see me in pants. Dresses are life. Some dresses will not fit the way you want them to on their own, so I always grab a belt before hitting the dressing room to see how a dress will look belted. Dresses are also a piece of clothing that you can look at on the rack and be like, "Ehhh...I don't know about it.", and then try it on and find out you look smokin' hot in it! So if a dress looks like it is your size and it's even kind of cute, try it on! You never know!
I'm a huge coat connoisseur... and I always seem to find the best coats in the summer when I can't wear them! :'( But doing this makes me even more pumped for the autumn and winter temperatures! Every girl needs a good trench coat, and one of my favorites is the London Fog brand. These are great coats made of great quality and their vintage lines are SO CUTE. When looking through the coats, look inside the coat near the bottom to see the tag! This brand is oddly EVERYWHERE.
I also am in love with the 1950's-1960's styled winter coats that are formed like a dress and have a high collar. Honestly there's no tip for finding these coats, it's mostly luck, but most of the coats I find are in the summer when there is less of a demand!
ESTATE SALES ARE GOLDEN.
If you don't like to spend full price or pay taxes on clothes at a thrift shop, go online and find some estate sales! I've found some great pieces for my closet that came right out of another closet and straight into mine! And at estate sales, there's not a set price so get your bargain britches on, girl!
I hope this post helped you out a bit!
Comment down below your best thrifting find! <3
I actually have a little Instagram shop for clothes that I don't wear much anymore...click the link below to see!