February 6, 2013

Guest Post // The New Thrifter's Survival Guide

Remember earlier this year, I asked if there was anything more you'd like to see on the blog? Well, a few popular requests were to talk more about thrifting and to add to the "Smart Shopping, Smarter Closet" series I started last year. I was very excited about the feedback, but then it hit me... I'm really not an expert on either topic! Thankfully, when I asked Chandra from MoMoMod if she would do a guest post to share some of her smart shopping tips, she graciously oliged. I'm so glad she did! Be sure to leave a comment and visit her blog after reading :)


The New Thrifter's Survival Guide:
6 Tips You Need to Score Big at the Thrift Store 

Have you ever visited a blog and your mouth dropped in surprise at a blogger’s thrifting find? “$5?! How did she do that?!” You were convinced that you, too, could visit your local second hand store and find some super cute items only to leave the store clothing-less and smelly like, well, a thrift store.

Thrifting has become super popular and for good reason. You can definitely get more bang for your buck(s) by shopping at second hand stores. Sadly, for newbies it might be disheartening to thrift because walking into a massive thrift store can be a daunting task, but you can do it! Here are a few basic tips for you to get started:

1.       Shop early, shop late. If you get to the store right as it opens you can increase your chances of beating the crowds. If you work during the day like I do, this might not be an option for you. The early days that I do go thrifting are on holidays, and while the sales are nearly perfect on holidays, you’ll have to use your elbows to battle the crowds—NOT FUN. I’ve started visiting my local thrift stores after work. I recently visited my local thrift store at approximately 5:00 in the evening on a Tuesday. There were about 15 people in the warehouse sized store and. It. Was. AWESOME. That was also the night that I stumbled upon my $5 vintage Versace blazer. I’ve also had the privilege of hitting up Goodwill, Salvation Army, and a few other stores near closing time. An hour before closing time is another good time to go because the employees are putting things back and reorganizing for the next day. The employees might not be keen on you coming in an hour before closing, but as long as you’re polite and you’re on your best thrifting behavior you should be alright.

2.       Get Inspired. I cut back on my magazine subscriptions, but I still like to look at several fashion e-zines. What’s old is always new. Peplums came back, maxi skirts are making a play, fun prints are a win. I wouldn’t describe myself as trendy because I like what I like whether it’s vogue or not. Pinterest has pretty much alleviated my need to tear pages out of magazines, but when I thrift I’ll take a brief look at My Style pinboard to see if I can find similar items in the store.

3.       Hi, Target…Meet Goodwill. About eight years ago I found out that Target, wait for it, donates its unsold merchandise to Goodwill! I love me some Target, and I love me some Goodwill. Put ‘em together and you’ve got a second hand love affair, ya’ll! I always, always, always ask a Goodwill employee when they get their Target shipment in and I visit the store that very day. You’ll have to be careful, though, because some Goodwill stores will increase the prices because they know some folks won’t know the difference. Don’t be fooled. The coat I’m wearing is a Target at Goodwill purchase! Read the post about this outfit.

4.       Set a budget, set limits. I try not to pay more than $8 for a skirt or blazer, $4 for a blouse, $15 for a coat, and $10 for a dress. The only reason why I would ever go over this budget is if the item is authentic vintage or I stumble upon a designer name brand. On Friday I found several cute dresses, but Savers decided to price them at $19.99 and I didn’t deem them as “worth it”. On the other hand, last year I paid $10 for my Ports 1961 tuxedo jacket because of the name brand, the material, and the quality of the item was worth me going over my $8 limit. Also, set limits for each store. I typically try not to spend more than $20 per store. (Blog post about picture 1, Blog post about picture 2, the last dress is what I wore for my engagement photos and it cost me $3)

5.       Wear the right clothes. When I know I am going thrifting I wear black leggings, flats, and a dress. I don’t like to be bogged down with too many items because I like to make it easy for me to try on things. This past weekend my husband accompanied me on a thrifting excursion in Berkely and it took longer than usual because I had to take off my beanie, unbutton my blouse, take off my vest, take off my scarf, take off my boots…it was a workout! 

6.       Buy blouses. I’m a sucker for pretty blouses in vibrant colors and prints. Blouses are easy to wear over dresses, under dresses, tucked into pencil skirts and a-line skirts, and are easily embellished with belts of all sizes and dimensions. Above you can see that the blue vintage blouse is a favorite of mine (the green blouse, too!). (Blog post for picture 1, blog post for picture 2)

If you’re a thrifting kind of shopper, what other kind of tips do you have? If you’re not really into purchasing second hand items what makes you stay away?

If and when you find something super awesome while thrifting be sure to let me know by tagging your photo on Instagram with #momomod or sending me an email!

--Chandra

My blog, More Modern Modesty.

11 comments:

  1. great post! Thanks for all the tips!

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for reading, Laura!

      Chandra
      More Modern Modesty

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  2. Replies
    1. Mr. Stewart, I thank thee for your kind words!

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  3. Chandra, where I'm from we don't have thrift stores. But when i visited Florida in 2012, me and ma girls decided we wanted to go thrifting caz everybody seem to go there and get sum great pieces. When we went lol, we couldnt find anything that looked like what the thrifters would find and we were so afraid to try on the shoes in case lil creatures were hiding in there waiting to launch on our toes lol. So we left empty handed and lol-ing.
    But its something we plan to do again though .. Mabe that was just the stores bad day.

    Great pointers and tips though. Thanks alot

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    1. LOL It can be TOTALLY scary! My sister refuses to enter thrift stores. She just recently moved to Atlanta and decided to venture into a Goodwill. She text me, "Channy, I just walked into Goodwill and walked out. HOW DO YOU DO IT?!"

      One thing you can do is visit this website http://www.thethriftshopper.com/ and see if there are some thrift stores in your area.

      I hear you on the shoes. I can't bring myself to buy shoes with toe prints and that look incredibly used. In fact, I also carry around hand wipes and sanitizer and wipe down thangs if I need to!

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  4. I like this blogger's style; I've had a crush on anything blue for a good year now. I love seeing thrifted pieces; they can really add a unique punch to any wardrobe. Unfortunately with my 00P/XXSP frame, I feel like unless I know how to sew, thrifting heaven won't be a place for me. I have a hard time finding clothes my size even in "normal" stores.

    *sigh*

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    1. Assaba,
      Have you ever considered looking in the girls' section? I've spotted some cute clothing there! My friend is extra petite and she always finds adorable items in that section. I, too, stumble across awesome vintage dresses in petite sizes all the time. Also consider investing in a good tailor. Things that are too big for me go straight to my tailor for an adjustment.

      Good luck!

      Chandra
      More Modern Modesty

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    2. I've tried that a few times and it's very much hit or miss. I think I've gotten discouraged easily. :-) But I should try that again.

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  5. wonderful post. I learned alot. Although we have increase the expect prices here in canada.. cuz everything cost more. haha.

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    1. I'm glad to have helped! Thank you for reading, Cindy!

      Chandra
      More Modern Modesty

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