12 THRIFT STORE CLOTHES SHOPPING TIPS
Hey guys, Dan Thomas from Image Doctor and Improvemant.com and watch the video above or read the article below to learn 12 THRIFT STORE CLOTHES SHOPPING TIPS.
The saying one man’s treasure is another man’s gold is highly applicable to thrift store shopping and whilst thrift stores sell a wide variety of goods including home-wares, appliances, furniture, jewelry, clothing, books, DVD’S and CD’s, today’s thrift shopping tips are relating specifically to clothing.
This is because I actively thrift shop for clothing items but not any of the other items and I would prefer to only offer tips in which I have first hand experience. So let’s first take a look at the key benefits of thrift store clothes shopping.
BENEFITS OF THRIFT STORE CLOTHES SHOPPING
Thrift sopping can provide incredible value for the money you spend. There is a perception that thrift store clothes are all covered in dust and moth balls and whilst some items can be a bit worse for wear, just as many if not more items are still in good condition.
The average man wears only 20% of the items in his wardrobe 80% of the time. This is most commonly because men dislike clothes shopping and approach the task in a rushed and often frustrated frame of mind which results in ineffective clothing choices that are barely worn before being thrown out.
In addition to this point, many people will buy new clothing and then commonly put on considerable weight or less commonly lose considerable weight and throw out there clothes as a result of either of these body changes.
The result of all these cases is that many of the clothes found in thrift stores may have only been worn a handful of times and are actually great quality and very low prices.
Thrift stores can be a gold mine for very high end and usually high priced brands that are a mere fraction of the price they would sell for in the brands retail or department store. Finding an item you like and then discovering it’s a brand you could not usually afford can be a very exciting and valuable benefit of thrift store shopping.
THERE IS FUN IN THE UNKNOWN
Thrift store clothes shopping brings with it an element of the unknown which can be a fun and exciting process. Instead of walking into retail and department stores after seeing clothing items your friend or colleague is wearing, on their online website or in a paper catalog, you can walk into a thrift store and leave empty handed or leave with a bag full of high quality but low priced clothing items and it’s this lottery than can be very fun and exciting.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Another nice benefit of thrift store clothes shopping is that all the proceeds of your purchases are being reinvested into the missions and objectives of that stores charitable endeavors. For this reason you can feel as though your shopping efforts are in turn making a difference in the community that’s linked to that charity.
So that’s some of the key benefits of thrift store clothes shopping and now I will go through a range of thrift store clothes shopping tips for you.
12 THRIFT STORE CLOTHES SHOPPING TIPS
#1 – SEASONAL THRIFT STORE BLITZ
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #1 is to locate a range of thrift stores within a 30, 45 or 60 minute drive of where you live and block out 1 day at the start of each quarterly season to go on a thrift store hunt to find some clothes for the new season.
#2 – VISIT LOCAL THRIFT STORES REGULARLY
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #2 is to make a habit of visiting thrift stores that you drive or walk past regularly to check for new arrivals. Unlike retail clothing stores that tend to have the same items for a whole quarterly season, a busy thrift store can be receiving new clothing items every week or fortnight.
#3 – DRESS CASUAL
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #3 is to wear very casual, loose clothing that is easy to take on and off such as flip flops, shorts and a tee shirt. This is especially the case if you employ tip number 1 and spend a half or full day travelling around to different thrift stores in your city.
#4 – CLOSELY EXAMINE GARMENTS BEFORE BUYING
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #4 to to very closely examine clothing items for tears, rips, holes and stains before trying on and buying them. You also want to test the zippers and buttons of any items to make sure that they are in working order.
#5 – TIME YOUR SHOPPING TRIPS
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #5 is to time your shopping trips to take place just after the start of the 4 new seasons and also in the early new year. These are the best times as people will be going through their wardrobes at these times and discarding items they no longer wear or fit into it.
#6 – DON’T BUY ITEMS YOU WOULDN’T BUY IN A RETAIL STORE
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #6 may seem very ironic and counter intuitive but I strongly suggest that you don’t buy items that you would not be happy to purchase in a clothing retail store.
It can be dangerous to have the approach that you will buy items just because they are very cheap as opposed to buying them cause you know you will wear them routinely. Only buy items that you are confident you will wear often, otherwise you will end up purchasing many items you never wear which despite all being quite cheap, will collectively add up to be a relatively large waste of money which negates part of the reason for thrift store shopping.
#7 – YOU CAN MAKE ALTERATIONS
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #7 is to be aware that if an item of clothing is slightly too big for you, but is great quality, a good brand and a style that you really like, in most cases you will be able to take that item of clothing to a tailor and have it altered to fit your body.
Using a blazer as an example, a very cheap, poor quality blazer in a men’s retail store will cost around $100. A mid range men’s blazer will cost between $200 and $350 and a higher quality blazer will cost between $350 and $700 or much more.
So let’s say you find a blazer in a thrift store that is a brand that creates mid range blazers for around $250 and the blazer you have found is still in good condition, priced at $30 but is too long in the sleeves, in the body but fits nicely on the shoulders, back and torso, you could have the sleeves and jacket length hemmed by a tailor for around $30 which means a blazer that normally costs around $250 will only cost you around $60.
Please be aware though that a suit jacket or blazer can be altered in most areas such as sleeve and jacket length, the tightness or the arms and the jackets circumference around the back and id section can be made smaller. However the one area that can’t be altered is the shoulders so if a suit jacket or blazer does not fit on the shoulders, don’t ever buy it as a tailor can’t fix how it fits and looks there.
You can also have suit pants, dress pants and jeans altered by making them smaller in the waist and more tapered in the leg. Be aware though that it is generally only possible to have pants that are too tight in the waist let out a maximum of 1 to 2 inches if the pants are good quality and house extra fabric. If the pants are bad quality, they will have no extra fabric and it won’t be possible to increase the waist size at all.
You can also alter a dress shirt that is too loose around your back and torso but fits well on your shoulders and arms. In this case a tailor can create what is known as darts in the back of the shirt which will make the back and torso tapered and well fitting.
#8 – MAKE SURE THE JEANS ARE NOT WOMEN’S
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #8 is to double check that any jeans you like the look of are actually men’s jeans. For some reason, it is very common for women’s jeans to end up in the men’s jeans section so if any jeans are sized in low digits such as 8, 1o, 12, 14, 16 and through to the mid 20’s they will be women’s jeans as opposed to men’s jeans which start as low as a size 28 and go through to a size 4o or more.
#9 – WASH BEFORE FIRST WEAR AND CHECK POCKETS
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #9 is to make sure that you wash the clothing items before the first wear and also check the pockets for any tissues, paper or loose items or objects that should not be put through the washing machine.
#10 -ASK THE DROP OFF SCHEDULE
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #10 is to ask the staff how frequently they receive new clothing items, the day the new clothes arrive and how long it takes for those clothes to be transferred from the storage area onto the clothing racks.
By understanding this information, you will be better placed to visit the stores when there is new merchandise available to be snapped up and utilized within your wardrobe.
#11 – LOCATE THRIFT STORES IN AFFLUENT AREAS
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #11 is to search for thrift stores in affluent areas. Whilst this is not always the case, thrift stores in wealthier suburbs will often have better quality clothing brands and items because it is the local residents of those wealthy surrounding suburbs who are donating the clothes.
Keep in mind though that each thrift store branch sets their prices independently and the clothing items found in thrift stores in more affluent areas will often be priced higher than branches in less affluent areas.
#12 – TREAT STAFF WELL
Thrift store clothes shopping tip #12 is to keep in mind that in almost all cases the staff at thrift stores will be volunteers and should therefore be treated with considerable respect. It would also be a nice touch to make mention of or thank them for volunteering their time and services to highlight your gratitude and hopefully make them feel appreciated.
That’s 12 solid thrift store clothes shopping tips and now let’s discuss the best and worst clothing items to buy at thrift stores.
BEST CLOTHING ITEMS TO BUY AT THRIFT STORES
Dress shirts are without doubt the best and most widely stocked clothing items that men can find in thrift stores. By visiting thrift stores regularly you will find dress shirts that are of exceptional quality in terms of both their condition and brand of clothing. And despite by those factors, the majority of thrift stores will sell their dress shirts as low as $8 and it is very rare to find a dress shirt for more than $20.
Thrift stores always have a large surplus of men’s jeans and because denim is a very sturdy and durable fabric, second hand jeans can still offer great longevity. Add to this the fact that worn out jeans can actually result in a cool, distressed look and this is yet another reason to check out your local thrift stores regularly.
Thrift store jeans will typically start at around $8 and may be sold for as much as $25 depending on the brand or quality. Either way this is a huge saving and great value.
Along with jeans and dress shirts, most thrift stores will house a large selection of men’s suits. Whilst it can be very tricky to find a suit straight off the rack that is an ideal fit, if you just keep in mind my earlier advice regarding the alterations that a tailor can make to most sections of a suit jacket and pants, buying a second hand suit that is in good quality and having some alterations made can be a very cost effective way of presenting well in a corporate or social setting that requires you to wear a suit.
Just be aware that the areas of a suit that are not able to be altered is the suit jacket shoulders and letting out the pants waist more than one size in most cases. It can also be difficult to find 2 piece suits and there is always far more single suit jackets than suit jackets and matching trousers.
But when you do locate a full 2 or 3 piece suit, this can start at around $20 and be as high as $100.
Leather jackets sold at retail stores are generally very very expensive and it can often be hard to know and trust if the jackets themselves are in fact real leather or not. Thrift stores commonly sell leather jackets which are heavily reduced in price and by keeping your eye out and regularly checking any new leather jackets that arrive in store, you can find some great items at excellent valued pricing.
Leather jackets can vary greatly from branch to branch and also depending on whether the jacket is real leather or not but you can find a leather jacket as low as $20 and potentially as high as $150.
Outerwear includes items such as pea coats, trench coats, military jackets, bomber jackets and any other similar types of men’s jackets. These items are all traditionally very expensive in retail stores so it’s worth keeping a regular eye out for any good quality, well priced outerwear options to add to your wardrobe.
Generally speaking you can find outerwear options starting as low as $20 and as high as $50 or more.
WORST CLOTHING ITEMS TO BUY AT THRIFT STORES
For some reason the ties in most thrift stores are just very dated in both style, design and often not the best of quality. I hope you have better luck than I have with tie spotting in my thrift store travels.
Not only do thrift store shoes tend to be very outdated styles, but the idea of wearing second hand shoes is all together different to purchasing second hand clothing items that can be washed in a washing machine or at the dry cleaners.
I have had very limited success in my own thrift shop adventures when it comes to finding tee shirts that are not very outdated styles and not of the novelty or sports variety but I wish you greater success in your own thrift store searches.
Quality knitwear is another difficult clothing item to locate at thrift stores. I believe this is due in part to the fact that knitwear such as lightweight knitted sweaters and cardigans are often very thin and susceptible to lose their shape even when taken care of in your own wardrobe at home.
I’ve found the knitwear in most thrift stores to be distorted in shape which I believe would be due to how it’s stored when transported to the thrift stores and the fact that they are hung on thin, wire hangers.
And I will finish by listing the most accessible and widely available thrift stores chains in Australia which you can see below.
BEST THRIFT STORES IN AUSTRALIA
- ST VINCENT DE PAULS (AKA VINNIES )
- LIFELINE OP SHOPS
See all Australian Lifeline store locations here >https://www.lifeline.org.au/About-Lifeline/Lifeline-Locations/Lifeline-Locations/default.aspx
- SALVATION ARMY
See all Australian Salvation Army store locations here > http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/en/find-us/?nearest=store
- RED CROSS AUSTRALIA
See all Australian Red Cross store locations here > http://redcross.org.au/stores-store-locator.aspx?gclid=CjwKEAiAvPGxBRCH3YCgpdbCtmYSJABqHRVwukoOpnyiEUc8NWJa-8HqyluYAMXmV_jkqo-z8jmRvxoCyrDw_wcB
THRIFT STORES FOR BOOKS
And I just wanted to finish this article by also pointing out that all the thrift stores above are also an incredible place to find an amazing selection of books at very low prices. This includes all categories of books which can be as cheap as $1 and generally no higher than $5 per book.
I have purchased and read literally hundreds of books which I would say have been an average price of $3 each when they would have cost between $20 and $35 per book when purchased in store or online so if you too are an avid reader then thrift stores are an absolute gold mine for you.
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And if you would like some help or guidance to improve or update your current your style and image, you can see all my men’s personal styling and clothes shopping services here at myImage Doctor website