In the fashion world, fit is king, quality is queen and price is the court jester: a necessary, but largely annoying formality. For those of us who can’t afford the luxury of money being the third consideration, however, what can be done?
Thrifting, if done right, is an opportunity to merge all three of these ideals into one. Thrift shops are an outlet of high quality clothing for people that can’t always afford the high price. By collecting used and new clothing that comes through a specific area over the course of many years, thrift shops and discount stores offer the chance to discover clothing that would usually never be available.
Nonprofits like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are great places to begin experimenting with thrifting. Rather than donating things because they have no value, people give out of the goodness of charity, making the chances of finding a quality item higher. A helpful tip is to shop at stores located near good neighborhoods, as the inventory will reflect the lifestyles of the surrounding residents.
Go to the thrift shop with something specific in mind and only buy a piece if you are crazy about it. If you don’t, you face the danger of ending up with items you don’t really want or need cluttering precious closet space.
Also, don’t get bogged down in prices. A wool sweater priced at one dollar is tempting, but it is rarely worth adding to your wardrobe. As always, quality well-made items will cost more. Keeping a list of trusted brands with you while you shop should make the distinction much easier to make.
By researching the stock of the store, you can make your search quicker and easier. Inquire about distribution and rotation, asking where the clothes come from and how often they are replaced with new materials. This helps you properly time your visits to each store, as thrifting should be more of a regular habit than a special occasion.
Dangers of thrifted items include stains, holes or other unfixable problems. Some items contain fabric or stitching defects, which is why you should always be critical with your inspection. Like I alluded to earlier, something priced at one dollar is usually worth one dollar.
Thrifting’s utility is not unlimited. Unless you are extremely lucky with your finds, thrifting should not replace the periodical purchase of new, well-fitting clothing. Focusing on quality and durability in your thrifting endeavors, rather than how many things you can buy for 20 bucks, will ultimately yield the most satisfying results.