Thrift Shopping Tips


Shopping for thrifted clothing and accessories is something new to me. I’ve always been open to the idea of shopping thrift but when given the chance, would run away at the sight of unorganized racks of clothing. There is nothing more terrifying to me than a messy store filled with items everywhere. My way of shopping thrift has been through curated boutiques where they do all of the organizing and present me with the best options. However, I’ve decided to get myself into the trenches and find the gems on my own! Shopping thrift is the second most sustainable option we have when it comes to dressing ourselves. The first, being naked. Since I won’t be naked I decided to adjust my consumption and purchase pre-loved items. I used to think that shopping for used clothing was gross, dirty and all of the items weren’t nice and nobody wanted them anymore but the more digging I’ve done, the more I’ve come to realize that I was completely wrong.

With that said, yes, you can find items that are dirty and items that nobody wants anymore but with a little digging you can find beautiful pieces that you can’t find anymore. One of a kind pieces, items from different decades, never-worn items and even designer items. The dress I’m wearing in today’s post was a mere $7.99. from Value Village… I kid you not! Thrifted clothing is just clothing that the previous owner no longer had a use for and instead of throwing it away, they’ve decided to recycle it through the offer of donation or re-sale. As of January 2018, the average shopper buys 70 new articles of clothing & Canadians make up for 12 million tons of textile waste that make it to North America’s landfills. I hate being a statistic… and no, I won’t be stopping purchasing new but I’m going to place thrifting at the top of my list and focus on slower fashion. If you’re interested in also getting into thrift shopping, here are my top tips to shopping thrift:

  1. Take your time – When it comes to shopping thrift, you want to take your time and carefully move through each rack. I’m not a toucher when I shop, I’m an eye scanner… but when it comes to shopping thrift I have to touch everything. Some people go into a shop looking for a specific item and I find that makes for a more difficult experience. Go in open-minded and you’ll be surprised with what you find!
  2. Hands-free – Pockets or a cross-body bag will be your best friend. You’ll want to be completely hands-free when shopping thrift because you’ll want to be holding onto items, touching materials and you’ll probably have a mountain in your hands.
  3. Try it on – Thrifted sizes are much different than shopping in typical retail stores. Lots of clothing is from previous decades and other countries so if you’re unsure if it will fit, it’s always best to try it on. I’m a small in US sizing but lots of items that I’ve purchased are European or just different cuts from different periods. The dress in today’s post was listed as a size 16 but I’m a 4.
  4. Check the materials tag – Not all thrifted prices are good prices. Sometimes an item may have a cheaper price tag but the materials aren’t worth the dollars. Materials you’ll want to purchase: cotton, silk, hemp, linen, wool and cashmere. It’s been a huge plus for me when I find items that are made in Canada!
  5. Google it – If you find a piece that is from a brand you’ve never heard of, Google it! I do this with leather jackets and items that seem a little more expensive. Sometimes brands are donated that are purchased online or out of town and they could be treasures!

My friend Kelly Turner of Fall For Local and I have created our own avenue to aid Vancouver in shopping thrift. This October, we are launching Vancouver’s first consignment warehouse, ARCHIVE! I’m going to share more about it this week on the blog but in the meantime, check out the site HERE for more information.  Stay tuned for my next post on tips for thrifting! Designer thrift maven, Helen Siwak is going to be chatting about her tips on buying thrifted designer apparel and accessories.

If you liked this post, you may like My tips for buying ethical fashion OR the difference between fast & slow fashion. 


Value Village dress | Frye boots | Kara Yoo necklace & bracelet

Images via Melissa Skoda photography. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close Me
Looking for Something?
Post Categories: