Thrifting 101: Tips & Tricks

Have you ever scoured the internet & other blogs to discover all of these incredible finds people thrift? That accurately describes moi up until late last year. I thought I would never be able to obtain anything so good at a thrift shop. I mean finding a super cute dress for $3? That fits or needs minor alterations? Never. Pah. Well, I’m here to tell you, from an old doubter to a thrift finding mad woman, it’s completely possible. It just requires a few tips & tricks of the trade that I wish someone had shared with me many years ago.

  • Be Patient! Although you wish they would, good finds will not jump out at you. They require a little bit of search & explore. They like to be discovered, as if you are a pirate searching for treasure. Instead of looking at a full thrift shop as a daunting task to look through everything, glance over the store and visualize it as a hunt or a game. The prize is out there, it’s just waiting to be found! Play hide & seek with the shop.
  • Let your mind be free. Stop thinking and start dreaming. Instead of barely glancing at a piece and thinking, “ugh this is hideous. This whole thrifting thing is hopeless…” think again. Take that piece in for what it was made for – it was designed for a reason, & by someone who loved it & the idea of it. Could you find the love in it?
  • Discover & create. Transform that shapeless garment into something new & fresh. For example, I recently found this tent dress at a local thrift shop:
            My first thoughts were, “hahah look at this dress. It’s kind of hideous.” But then I noticed the pearl buttons, the ruffled neckline & the puffy sleeves. I thought to myself, “self – you should try it on. I know you think it’s gross, but humor yourself for a minute, and test the waters.” I would’ve never guessed the hidden gem I had stubbled apon.
  • Visualize what’s in your closet and see how the piece would fit in.See that red dress up there? I’d been searching for a red dress forever. I wanted a vintage feel, but I knew the tent was completely unflattering on a curvy gal like myself. So, I thought about what I had at home that could make this work. I decided to take the plunge and purchase this baby – for a whopping $5. Lo & behold, the item I had at home worked perfectly with this dress, and transformed it into something I would’ve never dreamed of. Check out this ugly little tent dress in it’s new state…a perfect, vintage style a-line dress with puffy princess sleeves. 
  • Last but not least – have fun! Thrifting is all about being creative & having fun doing it. Sure, you will stumble upon some really crazy pieces, but the real gems are there, waiting for you to find them. Lose yourself in the endless racks of clothing & accessories instead of letting it overwhelm & drown you. Let go – you’ll discover the magic in thrifting.

About Kirstin Marie

Hi, I'm Kirstin (pronounced - Keer-stin)! Shoe crazed, animal lovin', vintage addict, and I love dressing up. I live in the moment, and thrive on change & challenges. Contributor to Lucky Magazine & The Curvy Fashionista. Stylist | Plus Size Fashion & Style Blogger | Events Coordinator | Lighting Designer.
This entry was posted in creative minds, thrifting, Thrifting 101, tips and tricks. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Thrifting 101: Tips & Tricks

  1. thanks for the great advice, i just hit red, white & blue in sofla this past saturday and scored the prettiest vtg earrings for $5 just when I had given up hope lol.
    They totally made my day.


  2. Casee Marie says:

    Love this! There are so many consignment shops out here, so far I’ve only been to one but it was a great experience. (And I got a pair of Marc Jacobs trousers for $20!) But I’m still very new to it all so your tips will come in very handy. (:

    P.S. I love what you did with dress! It looks gorgeous on you! xo

  3. Anonymous says:

    I love thrusting but I have such a hard time finding promising things in my size. You have once again given me hope Kir!!

  4. Callie says:

    These are some great tips! Thrifting is honestly one of my favorite things in the whole world. But it’s often hit or miss, which can be a disappointing thing. Regardless, I always remind myself that I have found some of my favorite pieces by thrifting and that it really is worth the time! I love the dress above! It has a little vintage feel and is the perfect example of one of those treasures only a thrift store can provide. Great post, Kirstin and thanks for sharing!

  5. xStroutx says:

    I would love to be a good thrifter. I tend to lack much of the patience required though…

  6. Hannah says:

    I always pick up something new from thrifting tip posts! Here it would have to be visualize how a piece would fit in your closet. I am the worst at that! I just buy it and then end up wearing it once. *womp womp*

  7. Bella says:

    Kirstin, sadly, there’s not a lot of thrift shops in Europe but I’m bookmarking your tips to use when I next go to the States! I can’t believe the transformation of the red dress! Wow! :)

  8. Rosalind says:

    Great tips and that dress truly illustrates the joy of applying imagination to ones ‘finds’. Adding the belt and shoes totally transforms it to something wonderful.

  9. Laura Go says:

    Kirstin, I LOVE this dress on you. It looks like it was totally MADE for you, for realsies! Thank you for these great tips, too!
    ♥ laura
    the blog of worldly delights

  10. maggeygrace says:

    Ah! These tips are wonderful! I need to go thrifting so badly. It’s been so long. I think I have the hardest time being focused. I really have to be in the mood- it’s almost like a game, you know?! I either end up with 5,000 items or none at all! I love that dress. It’s a gem. You look beautiful!

  11. i learn so much about thrifting through you and so many other bloggers since i have actually never gone. love the red dress! you are an inspiration!

  12. Allison says:

    I work at a vintag store & I totally agree with everything you said! I’d also add that you always have to keep in mind that you might need to alter an item… Most of them have already been altered because everything was made to wear back then!

  13. MJ says:

    Great tips on thrifting Kirstin! Hanging with you, Kara, and Veronica have definitely opened my eyes to thrifting and I agree that being patient and creative is key. I think it really helps to have a certain piece or look in mind before you go into the thrift store. It will help with that overwhelming feeling. :)

  14. those are hands down the best tips and tricks. I think either you’ve got it, or you don’t. Not everyone was made for thrifting! Your red dress is beautiful.

  15. great tips, I agree with all of them!

  16. Clara Turbay says:

    It´s great to see your creativity in this blog.

  17. these are wonderful tips! patience is deff key! Your blog is great, im looking forward to more posts like these!

  18. Sara says:

    I need to have more patience! I tend to get overwhelmed, or just frustrated that I’m not finding mountains of cool things all at once…more patience!

    And that red dress is fabulous!

  19. aki! says:

    … I guesssss. Sometimes I buy clothes, thinking something like this will happen but it doesn’t. The item I had in mind doesn’t work out. It’s depressing.

    Keep trying! I feel like if I mess up on one of these items, it’s still better than messing up on a 50 dollar dress.

  20. Great tips! And I love that you used one of your own dresses as an example. This is definitely something I’ll turn to again later :)

  21. Daysha says:

    Very helpful! I love your style and your blog!!

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