How To Thrift Shop – Tips & Tricks

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved vintage, classic fashion. That old Hollywood vibe, the Audrey Hepburn classic looks from Pretty Face. The classic glamour that never goes out of style. Finding an original, incredibly unique piece that I will love forever is better than anything fast fashion can give me. Think of a designer bag you’ve been coveting for months, a fur coat, diamonds and pearls. This is why I love thrift shopping. If done right, the best statement pieces can be found.

Thrift Location

Location is everything when done right! For instance, in Rhode Island, you can find a decent amount of findings. Head to the city of Providence, and there are better thrift shops. But, in New York, or California, where more people have designer, luxury, high-end items, there is so much more. My last trip in New York, I came across a Dolce & Gabbana gown for $500 at a thrift shop. I’m still kicking myself for not buying it. It was a one of a kind piece! The top was strapless, while the corset fit like a glove. Under the bone corset top, the gown flared out into a beehive silhouette. It was honestly one of the most gorgeous, perfectly fitting dresses I’ve ever come across. (I’m also really wishing I had taken a picture…) Anyways! If you go to a well-to-do area of town, there will be more expensive finds that were taken care of as well.  Research thrift stores beforehand and have an idea of where you will go and in what time frame.

Negotiate

Thrift shop owners are thrifty themselves! They want the best deal they can get and of course want to sell their items. Don’t be afraid to talk the owner down on price. For instance, a $200 Burberry scarf could be talked down to $160. Especially if you mention you are out of town and won’t be able to come back. A Louis Vuitton bag can also be talked down by 10-20% if you mention authenticity. I was able to talk down a thrift store owner 10% because I made a fuss about the bag not having papers. Which brings me to my next tip…

Authenticity

This can be very difficult for many brands. The quality of real leather is usually better than faux. Although faux leathers and fur are becoming less easy to catch, real leather and fur can be felt. Real leather should feel dry, not oily, or slippery. Louis Vuitton is one of the easiest designers to verify authenticity. If papers aren’t available this is important to know. Check the monogram design – it should match, or be a duplicate of itself, on either side of the seams. The seams should also be of quality, and even.

Dry Cleaning

If you purchase clothes, you may steam them yourself after washing to ensure cleanliness. Consignment shops do not wash their clothes, so you may or may not buy a freshly laundered item. If you have more of an expensive piece, like a winter coat, or fur, you’ll want to bring it to the dry cleaner. They should understand that your piece may be vintage, and fragile. This will require special care and handling. And of course, treat your new pieces with care!

Happy thrifting! Here are some of my favorite finds! Including a Burberry scarf, Louis Vuitton bag, silk blouse, and fur shawl. Like what you see? Let me know below in the comments! Looking for more outfit inspo? Check out my Shop page here. 

fur shawl

burberry scarf outfit

new york fashion week

thrift louis vuitton

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Autumn Whewell

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