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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

Let’s be real: You CAN’T be bad at thrifting. Sure, there might be a day where your thrift trip wasn’t as successful as you hoped, but that’s literally what makes thrift shopping fun. You never know what you’re going to find.

I will say though, there are a few things one must learn before obtaining the way of thrift. That’s why I’m here (with open arms and a Google doc full of notes) because I’m going to give you the everlasting knowledge you’ll need to become a thrift MASTER.

So, young pupil, let’s begin.

1. Make a thrift “grocery list”

Before going thrifting, be sure to have an idea of what you’re there for. Second-hand stores can be overwhelming. There’s always way too much to see and not enough time to get through it all. Instead of scrambling around the store and potentially overlooking all the good stuff, decide what sections you’re going to dedicate the most time to beforehand. The best way to do this is by saving outfit inspiration pictures from Pinterest or Instagram and using those as your shopping guide. I’d recommend making some sort of Pinterest “Outfit Ideas” board or a “Thrift” album in your camera roll so that you can have an organized list to use while shopping. Doing this will not only lessen the chance of you leaving empty-handed, but it will also prevent you from impulse buying, something I’m guilty of doing in the past.

2. make Monday your thrift day

Thrift stores usually assign “colors of the week” where every item with a specific color-marked tag is sold at a reduced price. Awesome, right? Not only are you saving money by thrifting, but now you get the chance to rescue more cash by keeping an eye out for tags?! Love it. The only thing that can be tricky is that not all the items in the store are tagged with the discounted color, making your chances of discount shopping a bit limited. On top of that, not all the items with the discount color are something you necessarily want to buy, so discount shopping becomes, well, difficult. That’s why it’s smart to go earlier in the week; a lot of those marked-down items actually worth buying are still sitting in the store waiting to be adopted into a lovely closet like yours.

Note: Not all thrift stores put up a sign stating what the discount color is, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have one! Don’t be afraid to ask, otherwise, you might miss out on some pretty good deals.

3. dress for the occasion

A lot of the time thrift stores don’t have dressing rooms, and the ones that do might be closed right now due to COVID-19, so make sure you wear something that allows you to “try stuff on” over your clothes. A good example of what to wear is something like biker shorts and a tank top; that way you can throw blouses, pants, or even dresses over your clothes and can tell if the piece works well on you or not.

Also, consider wearing something you don’t plan on donning later that day since your clothes will DEFINITELY need to be washed after trying other people’s unwashed clothes over them. (Sad truth: most thrift shops don’t wash their clothes before hanging them.)

4. learn to scan the aisles

This tip is kind of the inverse of step #1. It’s more for those days when you feel like you need a bit of retail therapy, or for when you decide to have a spontaneous shopping day. Like I said earlier, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the abundance of items thrift stores have, and that’s why you have to teach yourself how to scan the shelves. What color pallets do you wear most? What material feels the best on you? What items match your aesthetic? You know yourself the best, so learn how to scan down the aisles while keeping “yourself” in mind. It REALLY makes shopping a lot easier.

5. Don’t skip the men’s section

In my opinion, this is the one tip you MUST not overlook; it’s too essential! Especially now with “Model Off Duty” and street-style looks taking over our current fashion trends. Vintage tees? Baggy leather jackets? Straight-fit Levi’s jeans? Over-sized button-downs? Statement vests? Say it with me, girls: IT’S ALL IN THE MEN’S SECTION. I promise you, it’s an absolute gold mine over there. The men’s section is a MUST.

and remember,

“What you wanted to buy today but left to come back for tomorrow will be purchased by someone else who had the same thought yesterday.”

Don’t learn this the hard way. You’ll be sad, I’ll be sad, we’ll all be sad.

Second-hand stores near campus:

  • Doc’s Records and Vintage (3.9 miles via South University Dr)
  • Uptown Cheapskate (3.7 miles via S Hulen St and Bellaire Dr s)
  • Family Thrift Center (2.2 miles via McCart Ave)
  • Haltom Thrift Store (4.3 miles via Woodway Dr and Trail Lake Dr)
  • Goodwill on Berry (0.7 miles via W Berry St and Merida Ave)
Chloe Cloud is a double major in English and Journalism at Texas Christian University. She is a fashion fanatic and a (self-proclaimed) thrift queen. When Chloe isn't working as Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus, you can find her at home binge-watching fashion and design competition reality shows. MBTI: INFP | Enneagram: Type 4 | Personality Twin: Carrie Bradshaw x Jenna Lyons' love-child