Advice from a Seasoned Thrifter

Posted November 3, 2011 by in Shopping

Natalie Garza–the savvy fashionista from The Closet de Natalie, is here to teach you how to thrift. With her one-of-a-kind thrift finds mixed with her one-of-a-kind outfits, we felt there was no one better for the job.

How it all got started: I started thrifting back in high school, because I was obsessed with finding and wearing cool vintage t-shirts. When I first moved to Austin for college, I was so inspired by all the great style around me that I became confident enough to experiment with my own style.

I started thrifting regularly, because it was the only way I could afford to shop as much as I wanted without going broke. I quickly learned that thrift stores were the best places to find truly unique items that no one else had. I received so many compliments on my thrifted and unique outfits that I started my own personal style blog, The Closet de Natalie, to show everyone that it’s entirely possible to look chic for cheap. I’ve become such a huge advocate of buying thrifted and secondhand clothing whenever possible.

♥ Natalie recently started another blog promoting, buying and wearing secondhand clothing in Austin, Texas–Recycled & Reworn.

Thrifted leather boots ($12)

Some of the things I’ve learned during my experience as a determined thrifter:

1. Check Your Closet: Before you even leave your home to go shopping, look into your closet just to get a refresher of what you already have. Most of us have so much stuff, we often forget what we have and don’t have. It will also remind you of what you’ve been wanting to add to your wardrobe so you can look for it at the thrift store.

2. Know You Will Have to Dig: In a thrift store, you have to literally look through entire rows of clothing to find those hidden treasures. It’s not like walking into a retail clothing store where your eye is automatically drawn to the well-merchandised display showing you exactly what’s in style.

3. Don’t Go Thrifting Tired: You’ll need energy to make it through the many racks or bins. I usually drink a small coffee or latte on the way for a little energy boost!

4. Know Your Size: Measure your favorite items of clothing that fit really well to have a visual idea of what sizes to look for. Sizing can be a little weird in thrift stores, so it helps if you can eyeball your approximate size.

Remember: Many thrift stores don’t have dressing rooms.

Thrifted top

Nine items, only $25.98.

5. Have an Open Mind: Go into a thrift store with an open mind and without any expectations. One of the most exciting things about thrifting is that you never know what you are going to find.

6. Don’t Impulse Buy: Don’t let the luring low prices cause you to make bad choices. Try imagining everything you’re about to buy as already a part of your wardrobe. What outfits can you create with a thrift find, using what’s already in your closet? If you have to buy something else just to wear it… put it down.

7. Do an Item Check: Check over everything before you buy it. Look for stains and tears, check zippers and buttons, and even sniff for weird smells. Don’t forget to wash everything before you wear it!

8. Have Fun: Any sort of shopping can be fun! Bring a friend and make a day of it. Try stopping by every single thrift store your town or city has. Not only will you find amazing one-of-a-kind items, you’ll be surprised by all the money you’ll save!

♥ The next time you go shopping, I hope you’ll consider stopping by a thrift store before the mall. I promise it will be worth it!

“Goodwill is one of my favorite thrift stores. Wearing thrifted shoes ($5), thrifted blouse ($2), Zara jeans ($50), thrifted purse ($8), and Ray-Ban sunglasses I’ve had for four years ($125).”

Still need help?  Check out one of my posts “How I Thrift” on Recycled & Reworn, or feel free to e-mail me specific questions. I’ll try to offer suggestions on how to have a more successful thrift store experience. T: @nataliebgarza, E: [email protected]