Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PS Behrend chapter.

With the resurgence of older styles from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s coming back to the forefront of fashion, thrift shopping is officially on trend. Thrift shopping, though, is a beast in itself, taking more patience, a stronger stomach, and a bit more creativity than shopping at department stores.

Huge stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army give the largest, most times dirtiest, selection of clothes, although there are also specialty vintage shops which create a specific ambience and an entire shopping experience. Because vintage shops not only tend to sell you an experience, but they take out the battle of going to Goodwill and rifling through duds. Also, the price is an inordinate amount more compared to going to the huge stores that accept all donations.


Looking cute and saving money comes to the perfect culmination in the brick and mortar thrift store, although there are three things you must keep in mind before entering the abyss: Keep your vision flexible, know your measurements, and be prepared to spend time.

Keep your vision flexible:

    When going thrift shopping, much like with an other type of shopping, it’s always best to know what kind of items for which your looking. This could be as broad as just categories like pants or shirts, but it can as specific as “a maroon off the shoulder with embroidery detail.” The latter is much more suited for online shopping, so I suggest knowing what type of silhouette you’re interested in buying if you’re physically going to a store. For example, are you looking for a bodycon dress or a flowing maxi dress? Are you looking for baggies shirts and low rise pants or more form fitting shirts and high waisted pants? Knowing this allow you to move past quickly what you don’t have any interest in while still being flexible in pattern and material, cutting time in half while also giving you the freedom of choice.


Know your measurements:

    Thrift shops are donation only, which means there are clothes coming from multiple different stores. Because all clothes are coming from different places, the numerical size on the tag doesn’t mean much of anything. Instead, there are usually tags on the inside of the clothes that have the waist in inches. Once you get into thrifting, it’ll become easier to look at a pair pants and know if they’re going to fit.

!!! Pro Tip: If you don’t have measuring tape to take an exact measurement at home, use the size chart from the store where you got your favorite pair of jeans to know what waist size fits you most comfortably !!!


Be prepared to spend time:

    Thrift shopping can easily become an all day event. If you are willing to take your time to make sure to look through all of your options at different thrift stores and find the perfect piece, know it’s going to be time consuming. You may get lucky, but a majority of thrift shopping is just devoting the time. Thrift shopping is much more enjoyable when you go with a friend with whom you can bounce around ideas. Bring food! Snickers was right, you’re not you when you’re hungry. Grab a snack to go so when you hit that wall of hunger and frustration it’s easy to plow through it.


Going thrift shopping for the first time can be overwhelming, but take a deep breath and relax. I believe in you, the perfect find is so close!

Image Credits: 1 2 3 4 5

Communication Major at Penn State Behrend Intersectional Feminist Do More Of What Makes You Happy
Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Kayla McEwen

PS Behrend

Kayla A. McEwen: President and Campus Correspondent  Senior at Penn State Behrend Marketing & Professional Writing Major Part-time dreamer and full-time artist Lover of art, fashion, witty conversation, winged eyeliner, and large cups of warm beverages.