Thrifting 101: What You Need to Know

Thrift shopping is one of the most sustainable ways to add new life to your wardrobe. The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to climate change, so it is important to make eco-friendly decisions whenever you're able to. As the popularity of thrift shopping continues to increase for college students, here are some reminders and helpful tips for your next shopping experience.

  1. DO NOT BUY COATS IN THE WINTER: This may seem like a counterintuitive statement, but hear me out. Thrift shops are catered to those who cannot afford retail prices. Buying up all the warm clothing, specifically coats, socks, and heavy sweaters can leave less fortunate communities cold in the winter. While finding a nice winter staple may seem like a good idea, it's best to leave those items for those who truly need it.
  2. ALWAYS CHECK THE DECOR SECTION: You may not enter the thrift store with the intent to purchase any home goods, but trust me when I say you will want to. Thrift stores are a perfect place to find cheap plates, pots, pans, cups, prints, and even small appliances! If you're moving into a new apartment, those items will break your bank fast. It's always a good idea to see what items you can find in these areas of the store before filling your cart with new clothes.
  3. CLOTHING HAS NO GENDER: It's 2020. Gender is a social construct. No matter what you identify as, it's a good idea to look in every section for clothing that is in your style.
  4. LOOK FOR POTENTIAL: If you're good at sewing or embroidery, always look for basics that you can alter to make into something chic and new.
  5. CREATE A MOOD BOARD: It is super easy to get overwhelmed at the thrift store, especially if you don't have a solid idea of what you want! Creating a mood or inspiration board is a great way to simplify what your desired style is and what pieces you'll need to achieve it. I recommend using Pinterest, but even saving TikToks or Instagram posts can be beneficial.
  6. LOOK AT ACCESSORIES: I feel like the accessories section is constantly being overlooked, but they're always on trend! Handbags are a really simple thrift and such a staple. Jewelry is also something that can be super expensive in retail stores but can easily be thrifted for over half the price. Typically the belt section is also really hard to search through, but with the early 2000s fashion coming back on trend, that could be your most desired section.

This is definitely not an extensive list, but it can serve as the basic guidelines for your next trip to the thrift store! Once again, please remember that thrifting, while sustainable, was created to help smaller communities get the clothing and supplies they need for everyday life. Be mindful when shopping!