Thrift Shopping Tips


Some people find shopping at thrift stores to be an arduous task. I’ll admit that several years ago I used to think the same. I would usually emerge from a Goodwill store empty handed, feeling defeated and worried that I had picked up the lingering scent of mothballs during my unsuccessful hunt. Soon I realized that the problem wasn’t the stores I was visiting—it was me! My theory is that in order to hit the thrift store jackpot, you need to be shopping with an open, creative mind, lots of free time and even more patience. After years of rooting through racks and racks of used clothing, I have very presumptuously dubbed myself a “thrift-connoisseur.” Here are my top three tips for thrift shopping in the city:

Remember that you can customize

If that dress is too long, you can belt or hem it. And those dreaded shoulder pads ruining the blazer you have your eye on? They can easily be removed.

Try everything on

Even if it looks perfect on the hanger, it may disappoint when you put it on. You may argue that it is affordable enough to make this mistake, but there is nothing worse than a cluttered closet filled with regrettable purchases.

Search thoroughly

In most cases, you won’t be able to find anything if you simply graze your eyes over the piles of clothing. The best pieces are found whilst rifling through the racks with determination!

On my most recent thrift store scavenge, I got lucky and exited the store wielding bags filled with new treasures. Here are a few of those finds:

Velvet blazer: An essential item I was always on the search for; this classic was found at Goodwill (86 Eleventh St.) for $8 and makes any dress or jean-and-blouse ensemble look smart.

High-waisted acid wash jean skirt: Such stores as Urban Outfitters and American Apparel are selling acid washed items for outrages prices. I nabbed this skirt for a mere $6 at Clothes Contact (473 Valencia St.).


Graphic tees: For only $10 at a Thrift Town (2101 Mission St.), they add a bit of interest and color to my typically dark outfits.


Pink floral scarf: The versatility of this $2 scarf makes it my favorite find at Salvation Army (1500 Valencia St.) so far. I wear it both around my neck and on my head.

Bow heels: Finding vintage shoes in a size nine has proved to be almost impossible, until I found these adorable, and surprisingly comfy, bow embellished heels for only $3 in a small town thrift store a few hours north of SF.

Not every trip will be a success, but instead of getting discouraged continue to be adventurous and bold with your style; have fun with your mini expeditions. Happy hunting!

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