Thrift Store Shopping 101

Posted by: Dylan Pyne - October 3, 2013

If you can get past the idea that the clothing once had a previous owner, there is a tremendous opportunity to get well-made and unique clothing for pennies on the dollar through thrift shopping. Essentially, "thrifting" is the art of buying used clothing. A complete outfit pieced together and purchased at a thrift store could cost less than $30. However, thrift store shopping is an art and as such takes skills and knowledge.

The most important aspect of thrifting is purchasing the items you want the day you find them. Unlike a traditional store, there is no extra merchandise in the back and there is no possibility for it to go on sale and be offered at a lower price. If you see an item on the floor, the only opportunity you will have to purchase that item is right then and there. If you hesitate and think to yourself,"If it’s still there tomorrow, I will get it," you will likely never see that item again.

Other traditional shopping rules go out the window as well. While the standard retail market is driven by name recognition, with some brands being significantly more expensive than other brands, in the thrift shopping world items are typically sold by category. A Brooks Brothers shirt and a Kmart shirt are likely to be sold for the same price, and that price will likely be under $5. In situations like this there are huge opportunities to get name brand merchandise at a great price.

On the flip side of name brands, it’s important not to get too hung up on name recognition. Fashion is fickle and frequently evolving, and a name brand that is hot today will be gone next week. More attention should be paid to the construction and material of clothing while thrift store shopping. It’s a best practice to stay away from synthetic materials such as polyester, dacron and terylene. Clothing made out of cotton and wool will be the highest quality, most durable and most comfortable.

Now go out and go pop some tags!