Love Aesthetics

March 19, 2014

Three Step Thrift Guide

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90s Calvin Klein sweatshirt, oversized blazer, both thrifted

Those rare, thrifted, treasure finds never come on a silver platter. The contrary, the stuff on most vintage markets smells like a moldy gym locker, half the staff in thrift stores is there because of community service (no friendly shop assistant to hand you your size) and you’re lucky if the stock is hanging on an actual hanger. Yes you really have to dig and work for it.

I’ve talked about reasons why I love to shop guilt free and why I think everyone should do some secondhand shopping; no extra strain on the environment, finding unique pieces and because of the better cuts and quality that clothes had before mass production. Because I’m always asked how I manage to find the best pieces among the trash, here is a little 3-step thrift guide!

1/ Look for fabrics
Those tacky neon track jackets might grab your attention so much that you overlook the black blouse in fine silk hanging right beside it. Try to discard everything you are not looking for from your view. Now, thoroughly go through the racks or piles and look for nice prints, good quality denims, nice worn down leather, silk blouses or wool blazers. Ignore the fits and sizing. Start off by only looking (and feeling) at fabrics.

2/ Fits
Now that you have a pile of garments in the right colors and materials, it’s time to further narrow down your selection: estimate the size by viewing it and keep ignoring those size labels. Size labels from other era’s and regions can vary a lot, so it really doesn’t say anything. A ‘too small’ little boy’s blazer could be cropped and boxy on you. A huge ‘too big’ heavy wool grandpa blazer could be your next Yamamoto-style coat.

3/ Select
Look for the potential in these pieces, try to imagine how they would look belted, think about possibly cutting of length (or a frilled edge). Also inspect for stains or damages and keep in mind that these garments will look more polished after being washed and ironed.

Three Small Adjustments
/A dress can be cut at the waist to become a skirt or top. Something I used to do with my dresses when I was about 6 years old.
/Too big trousers can become fold over pants with one small adjustment like I did with these.
/Cut a slit under the arms of a jacket to get a French editor-over-the-shoulder-jacket look like I did with this DIY.

24 responses to “Three Step Thrift Guide”

  1. Awesome tips –
    I have three fabrics that I’ll always buy no matter the clothing item, they are Leather, Velvet and Neoprene
    Everything else tends to fall into place when I find these things.

  2. I love shopping in charity shops. The clothes are always such fab quality and much cheaper! These are really good tips. It can be hard to find good pieces when theres so much stuff!

  3. Hajni says:

    I used to shop at second hand stores a lot and some of my friends always tagged along… When they entered the stores they were saying that they cannot find anything as most of the stuff just don’t look that flattering in the second hand environment. I always tried to tell them (what you basically wrote down) to forget fancy store interiors and try to imagine certain pieces out of the context: which item would you pair it with in your closet, which style does it fit into aso.

    Thrift shopping is definitely something you need to learn and practice, pity I don’t do it that much anymore…

  4. V. says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips! I’m fairly experienced in thrifting myself and sometimes you really need to look for a long time to find anything worth purchasing. But then it’s usually quite a gem, once you do 🙂

  5. ediot says:

    great tips
    really nice post

  6. What a great advice, I always feel a little bit lost in a thrift shop xx GIVEAWAY TIME

  7. My luck sucks when it comes to thrifting. I’ve never found anything I really like so far but maybe I’ll have better luck with these tips. Thanks for sharing.

    The Fashann Monster

  8. Jay says:

    Even though I’m an experienced second hand shopper I think you’ve created a great post.

  9. deadlyinlove says:

    In my case Fit is the main thing Im struggling when Im thrift shopping. Some items are so nice yet they I know wont fit perfectly but I cant resist buying. Whats how end up with pile of cloth I dont wear yet I think they are cool 🙂
    Im working to change the situation, haha 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is soooooo helpful
    Thanku ivania

  11. Maria says:

    Hi! I absolutely love your blog! I live in Sweden and in the end of next month I am planning a weekend trip to Amsterdam. I think it’s very hard to find a decent guide to the city and wonder if you could either share some of your favourite stores, spots and restaurant or if you could give me a tip of where to find a good guide. Thank you so much!

  12. I love thrifting, and these are some great tips! I have definitely learned to shop with my hands (feeling the quality of fabrics) instead of just using my eyes

  13. My new dress arrived in 2 days, and was slightly wrinkled only due to folding in bag, I’d expect it to be worse. But like I always say, who cares anyway. If that’s a big issue, I am still not complaining.

  14. e says:

    great post, great tips! i will definitely keep your advice about the fabrics in mind when i hit the racks. i’m always “too easily distracted by the wild print” 😉 x

  15. Tommy Lei says:

    Ahhh love this post so much. I’ve been wildly obsessing over your blog for a while now, Ivania!


  16. Great pictures, love the white on white effect, very cool.

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