A Thrifting Guide: How to shop for vintage clothing!

I get constantly asked how do I shop for my clothes? Where do I go? How much do I spend? I have been a serious thrifter for almost 6 years, starting when I was 19 up until now. I’ve always loved going to thrift stores or vintage shops, perusing through the endless racks of clothing. Being a big girl, it does come with its inconveniences. Especially because vintage clothing is usually, if not always, on the smaller side.

I never gave up on my love for thrifting. Despite not being able to find that many items in my size, the items I have found have become staple pieces in my wardrobe. I’ve always admired a good vintage look with versatile clothing and unique outfits that others can recreate with their own spin.

Too afraid to go thrift shopping? Don’t be! It’s super fun, easy, and definitely inexpensive. Here are some tips and tricks on how I go thrifting/vintage shopping:

  • Pick a day where you do not have any other plans! Thrifting is an all day activity.
  • Google/Yelp some locations before embarking of your journey. Do not go thrifting on a whim if time is not on your side. Check reviews, they save you time and money.
  • Ask if they have specials! Most of the time, some stores have incredible markdowns. Goodwill SoCal locations for example, always have a “Color of the Week” with Thursdays being their “$1 Days”. Check with your local Goodwill.
  • Take your time going through EVERY SINGLE ITEM ON THE RACK. This is where people get lazy. You will not magically find a great item by just moving a bunch of clothes around.
  • Try on the clothes before you buy! I cannot stress this enough! The item may look like it will fit, but again these sizes vary depending on when they were made.
  • If you like an item, DO NOT PUT IT DOWN! Someone else may have eyed it and is just waiting for you to put it down.
  • Stick to a budget. Yes, you are thrift shopping, but you also need to be aware of how much you’re spending. Don’t go too crazy now.
  • Go by yourself or with someone who loves to thrift as well. Not everyone is willing to spend hours going through racks of clothes and different locations. It can be exhausting, but oh, so rewarding!
  • Go in with an open mind. You may think you know what you’re looking for, but do not set your expectations high. Sometimes, you only find one item you really dig and other times, you may not find anything.
  • Don’t be discouraged if there isn’t many items in your size. There are plenty of other locations you can search through where you will find something you will fall in love with.
  • Become a regular. Most thrift shops/vintage shops love returning customers, they may even set aside some pieces that they think you may love. Always be friendly and never negotiate a price unless you can. Most of the time, the prices are so good that you don’t need to negotiate for lower prices.
  • If possible, ask for authenticity. Most shops nowadays carry so many vintage labels like Chanel, Prada, Dior, etc. Check for tags, serial numbers, and/or locations.
  • Thrift at your own risk. Always double check hems, buttons, and zippers. Look for any rips and/or tears in the clothing. If it’s something you can easily mend, then take it, but most of the time, I’ll cost more to repair than what it cost to buy.
  • Most importantly, WASH THE CLOTHES! I recommend hand washing with a gentle detergent that won’t strip the colors. You don’t know how long those items have been stored.
  • Have fun! Thrifting is amazing, especially when you find unique items. Look through all sections of the store; shoes, bags, men’s, women’s, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Should you find some time and courage to go thrifting, here’s a list of my favorite locations I thrift at when I have the time:

  • Goodwill SoCal (any location)
  • Throwback Junction in San Fernando, CA
  • Savers Thrift Superstore in Lomita, CA
  • Value Center Thrift Store in Sylmar, CA
  • Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission in Granada Hills, CA
  • The Salvation Amy (any location)
  • American Way Thrift Store in Burbank, CA

Happy Thrifting!

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