Thrift store shopping has become super popular lately, and if you’re like me, you were a little confused at first. Aren’t thrift stores just for hand-me-downs? Can you find anything fashionable there? Yes, but yes. Thrift stores can be a gold mine for students on a budget, and I’ve found some really unique and designer pieces at my local stores. If you want to get into the idea but aren’t sure how to go about it, I have some tips and tricks to achieve the best thrifting trip.

1. Research

Before you hit the racks, it’s important to do a little bit of research, both on the stores in your area and what you may be looking for. There may be better or bigger stores in your nearest city, and some may specialize in certain items you do or don’t want. If you go in looking for a specific piece, make sure that’s a realistic expectation for the store you’re hitting. It’s also fun to plan a day with a route of different shops to hit!

2. Take your time

Thrifting is not the same as fast-fashion shopping. You have to be super patient and sift through everything in the store, especially the sections you think may be pointless. You can find cool pants in the pajama section, or a lacey top in the lingerie section. Being a smart shopper is super important to having a successful shopping trip.

3. Think about styling

At first glance, most things in a thrift store are not that exciting. That’s why you have to be critical and really think about how pieces would work with your existing wardrobe. Think about how you can style a big Harley Davidson t-shirt or that pair of jeans, and maybe whether you could cut or distress things to make them look better. The awesome thing about thrift stores is you find such unique pieces, so it’s important to know how you are able to make them work for your vibe.

4. Be open-minded

Again, most things probably won’t jump out at you in the first minute at Goodwill. If you go into your experience with a specific preconceived image, you probably will end up disappointed. As a shopper, you have to be open-minded and able to take risks; see things for what they could be instead of what they currently are. Step out of your style comfort zone-if an item is $3, you might as well try it out!

5. Be quality conscious, not brand conscious

While it can be amazing to find some vintage Dior or Louis Vuitton, 90% of the time you won’t even know the brands at the store. It doesn’t matter what brand it is, as long as it’s decent quality. Even though it’s cheap, you still want to buy something that will last long and look nicer than it is.

If you follow these tips, I can almost ensure that you will walk out of Goodwill or Buffalo Exchange with tons of bags at a tiny price tag.

Cover Photo: Sabrina Kogut

What has your experience been with thrift shopping? Tell me in the comments section!

Want more? Check out: @fashionwithfrankel on Instagram!


Ally Frankel

About Ally Frankel

Ally Frankel is the former editor of our Fashion and Beauty team, now the EIC. As one of the founding members of The Crescent, Ally loves the Crescent City almost as much as her hometown of Philadelphia. She loves to shop, read, eat raw cookie dough, and watch crime documentaries.