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How to Make the Most Out of Thrifting

Thrifting and shopping second hand is not only affordable, but more ethical and environmentally conscious than buying from large clothing chains. Here are five tips on finding the perfect thrift store find:

1. Get inspiration online

Lots of folks look to the internet for fashion inspiration. Depending on the size of the thrift store you go to, it can be intimidating to sift through rows of clothes without knowing what you want. Instagram is the perfect place for putting together cute outfits from thrifted clothes. Personally, I have trouble putting together pieces off the top of my head. Hashtags like “#thriftstorefinds,” “#goodwillfinds” and “#thrifted” are perfect places to start! Many lifestyle and fashion channels on YouTube post thrift hauls as well.

2. Don’t be afraid to try new things out

One of the best parts of thrifting is being able to explore your style without breaking your budget. I always find myself going for pieces I would otherwise be too skeptical to buy while I thrift. So I say go for those purple corduroys! Don’t be afraid of plaid slacks! You’re more likely to pull them off than you’d think. You never know what you may like!

3. Go beyond your size

There are a ton of clothes beyond your size range that could be perfect for you. I’m a personal fan of oversized sweaters, t-shirts and jackets. If you (or a friend, roommate, thrifting pal, etc.) happen to own a good pair of fabric scissors–don’t be afraid to modify a piece of clothing. I’ve done my fair share of cutting pants so that they’d fit, and if you’re nervous about hemming a new (old) pair of mom jeans there are YouTube videos for that.

Related: How to Stop Contributing to Fast Fashion

4. Make sure the thrift is durable

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the thrift smell. Some thrift stores have it worse than others, but it’s generally inescapable. Because of this, you want to make sure the clothes you thrift can withstand multiple washes in a row. Go for pieces that aren’t too damaged and are made from quality materials. The good news is that it isn’t very difficult to find well-made clothes from expensive brands at a meager price.

5. Have patience!

This is something I have to tell myself all the time. It can be disheartening to go through rows and rows of clothes you don’t like, but trust me, the good stuff is out there! I suggest going thrifting with a group of friends, but if you’d rather shop solo, a great podcast or favorite album will do as well! Remember you might not always find something on every trip but the inventory is always changing and you’ll find something next time!

6. Donate your old clothes

We all have those clothes we’ve lost interest in just sitting in the backs of our closets. Keep your local thrift stores going by donating or selling them! Bring your old clothes to a second-hand store first and simply donate the rest of the pieces you aren’t able to sell. Then, bask in the joy of a decluttered wardrobe.

Happy thrifting, collegiettes!

Sarah Mae Dizon

George Mason University '21

Sarah Mae Dizon is a sophomore at George Mason University majoring in Communication with a minor in Social Justice and Human Rights. She is a proud Filipina-American who, in between cups of coffee, likes to write a thing or two.
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