Hey guys!

I'm a huge fan of thrifting, and with the majority of my wardrobe is thrifted I've come up with tons of tips and tricks over the years to help me find those hidden gems and great quality pieces.

Before going to the thrift, come up with a game plan. I find collections and boards can really inspire what purchases you make at the thrift store.

Whether it be clothing or housewares, having a list is essential. I find there is just simply too much going on when I get there to remember what I really came there for, and if you don't find it that trip, you will have a reminder to check the next time you're in!

When I go thrifting there are three categories that the item must meet in order to purchase it:

QUALITY:

Quality is a huge factor for me regardless of what the item is. My preference is 100% fabrics, and tend to avoid mixed fabrics, there's a great conversation about different fabrics and what they do on Reddit which I will link that below.

*Reddit Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/femalefashionadvice/comments/1khr5r/a_primer_on_materials/

MUST 'LOVE' IT

If I feel that I can walk away from the item without any issue, I will not purchase it. If the word "meh" crosses my mind, or comes out of my mouth, I will not purchase it. I have to be genuinely excited in order to purchase an item. I find many people needlessly purchase things at the thrift store because they are cheap, who cares?

If I'm not going to wear them, and I know from the get-go, why would I spend $4 now in order for it to end up right back here, when someone else may absolutely love it? That's my thought process during

IS IT NECESSARY?

Is the item I'm looking at necessary in my life right now? I've had to ask myself this question while staring at a prom dress at age 22, and almost had to slap myself to walk away. It was just so beautiful, but I didn't need it. When was I going to wear that? I've had my shot, leave it for the next girl. It was hard to walk away, but I knew I didn't need it. Had I of purchased it, I would have a lot less closet space, and a strange longing to go to a high school prom. No thanks. You see my point?

WHAT ITEMS TO PURCHASE AT THE THRIFT STORE

I'm certain we've all had a that moment of walking in the thrift store and just seeing something that should not be there. Mostly out of sanitary reasons, and you're left wondering... well, what do I buy in this zoo? I'm here to tell you.

Dishes:

Yes, dishes. They typically sell entire sets for under $30 that would typically cost upwards of $100. When I moved into my first apartment, Value Village was our saviour. We were able to purchase some pretty great things within our budget that fell in all 3 of my categories.

So what entails quality in a dish? Firstly, you want to avoid plastic as it is porus and can start to collect some gnarly stuff after awhile, as well as anything cracked.
The things you do want to look for are uncracked ceramic sets, glassware (crystal looks so luxurious, but can be found frequently), Pyrex dishes (just do not put them in the dishwasher), cast iron pans, cute mugs, serving dishes and silverware!

Other things to avoid: stains, cracks, peeling decals, etc.

Cleaning & Seasoning Cast Iron Pan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46nRKacPWPs

Books & Music :

Most of my book collection has come from the thrift store. I've found most thrift stores do deals on books like buy 3 get 4th book free, etc. I still preform my never ending quality check to ensure there are no ripped pages, no stains, no writing in the book, the binding is okay, etc. The book genres I tend to purchase from the thrift store are: coffee table books, cook books, biographies, classic literature, and reference books.

As for music, thrift stores can have some pretty rad CD, vinyl or even tape finds. That being said, I've found my best luck with the CDs, and the occasional out of this world vinyl to gift my step-dad.

Furniture:

I love the prices at the thrift store for furniture! In terms of quality, you want to look for something made of real wood, and avoid particleboard. If the furniture includes fabric, ensure there are no permanent stains or rips.

Depending on the deal, I can overlook small issues with the furniture, and either paint it or repurpose it later. That being said, these are small projects that I enjoy taking on. If you're not big into the DIY's, avoid issues that annoy you or you will have a problem with.

Decorations:

I've decorated my first and second apartments with decorations from the thrift store. Some of my favorites are: framed art, picture frames, framed mirrors, lamps, vases, storage, etc. By now I feel that you may have a handle on the 'quality' portion.

Clothing, Shoes & Handbags:

This is my favorite part. I am always combing through the racks trying to find things that really catch my eye.

I will not purchase anything that is stretched out, faded, has holes, or permanent stains. I will, however, overlook a missing button or zipper depending on how much I love the item as they are cheap fixes to an already cheap item.

**Keep in mind of the original price of the product brand new when purchasing an item that will require a repair. For example, I would not purchase an Aeropostale shirt that is missing a button as the quality of the garment does not warrant it.

I look for the quality in the stitching and fabric, the fit (always try your items on), and then finally, the brand name.

Although many will say the brand name doesn't matter, it does. Especially at the thrift store. Not so much for the pretentiousness of stating the brand you're wearing, but the quality of the brand. You have the opportunity to find amazing quality pieces that are branded that you would never have though to pick up otherwise, and your world will be changed by the difference between an H&M blouse and a Ralph Lauren Black Tag blouse.

I've compiled a list of my favorite brands that I tend to purchase at the thrift store and put them into three categories: Common Finds, Semi-Rare Finds and Rare Finds. I prefer my basics and workwear from the Semi-Rare Finds/Rare Finds categories and my night out and casual outfits from the Common Finds category.

Next to each brand, I've put what like to purchase of that brand from the thrift stores.

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COMMON FINDS:

  • Adidas (sneakers/sportswear)
  • Aldo (shoes)
  • American Apparel (casual daytime/nightime)
  • American Eagle (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • Anthropologie (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • Banana Republic (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • Champion (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • Converse (shoes)
  • Columbia (outerwear/sweaters)
  • Gap (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • Jansport (backpacks)
  • J. Crew (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • L. L. Bean (outerwear/sweaters)
  • Lucky Jeans Brand (denim)
  • LuluLemon (leggings/sportswear/bags)
  • Patagonia (sweaters/outerwear)
  • Reebok (sneakers/sportswear)
  • Roots (bags, shoes, sweaters)
  • Sperry (shoes)
  • Topshop (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • Urban Outfitters (casual daytime/nighttime)
  • Vans (shoes)
  • Zara (casual daytime/nighttime)
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SEMI-RARE FINDS:

  • Burberry (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Calvin Klein (basics/denim/handbags/sportswear/workwear)
  • Club Monaco (basics/workwear)
  • DKNY (basics/workwear)
  • Espirit (basics/workwear)
  • Free People (basics/workwear)
  • Kenneth Cole (basics/workwear)
  • Lacoste (basics/sportswear/workwear)
  • Le Château (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Levi Strauss Co. (denim basics)
  • London Fog (work outerwear)
  • Nine West (basics/workwear)
  • Rag & Bone (basics/workwear)
  • Steve Madden (handbags/shoes)
  • Tommy Hilfiger (basics/denim/handbags/workwear/sportwear)
  • Vera Bradley (handbags)
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RARE FINDS:

  • Acne Studios (basics/denim/shoes/workwear)
  • Alexander Wang (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Chanel (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Chloé (basics/handbags/workwear)
  • Christian Dior (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Diane Von Furstenberg (shoes/workwear)
  • Dolce & Gabbana (handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Donna Karan (basics/handbags/workwear)
  • Eileen Fisher (basics/shoes/workwear)
  • Fendi (handbags/shoes)
  • Giorgio Armani (basics/handbags/workwear)
  • Givenchy (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Gucci (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Hermés (handbags/shoes/outerwear)
  • Hugo Boss (basics/workwear)
  • Kate Spade New York (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Louis Vuitton (handbags/shoes)
  • Marc Jacobs (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Michael Kors (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Miu Miu (handbags/shoes/workwear)
  • Prada (handbags/shoes)
  • Ralph Lauren (basics/handbags/sportswear/workwear)
  • Stella McCartney (handbags)
  • Tory Burch (handbags/shoes)
  • Valentino (basics/shoes/workwear)
  • Vera Wang (workwear)
  • Versace (basics/workwear)
  • Yves Saint-Laurent (basics/handbags/shoes/workwear)

That pretty much wraps it up. Never purchase anything that you cannot clean, and enjoy it! Take your time, touch the fabrics and think of the possibilities!

Much Love,
Cassie