Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint or just save a few bucks on a cute new outfit, there’s no denying the appeal of second-hand shopping. From deep discounts on designer goods to one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, thrift stores and other secondhand sellers have some of the best-hidden gems in the world of fashion.
But how does one sift through the literal mountains of cast-off shoes, accessories, and clothes? Use these 20 tips as a guide to secondhand shopping that won’t waste your time — or money.
DO: Take your measurements
Clothing sizes vary dramatically from brand to brand, and that’s especially true when you’re talking about vintage sizes. If you’re shopping online or there isn’t a dressing room at your favorite thrift shop, use a measuring tape to take your measurements in advance and keep them stored in a note on your phone. At the store, use the tape to measure the garment you’ve got your eye on to see if it’s the perfect fit.
DON’T: Buy items that don’t fit in the hopes of altering them or your body
If that gorgeous blouse doesn’t quite fit right, it just wasn’t meant to be. Unless you’ve got strong tailoring skills or want to spend possibly more on alterations than you spent on that blouse, skip it. That goes doubly for items that are too small — don’t buy something just for the purpose of going on a diet to fit into it.
DO: Inspect closely for stains, rips, and other imperfections
Most vintage or secondhand garments won’t be in absolutely perfect shape, but some rips and tears are easier to contend with than others. If there’s a who-knows-how-old stain on the front of something great, it’s probably not going to come out. But, if there’s a small rip in the armpit of a great jacket, that’s something that can be easily remedied at home — or by a good tailor.
DON’T: Buy something without checking out the price online
In the age of the internet, it’s very easy to find out the value of pretty much anything in just a few seconds. When you spot the perfect end table or a designer blazer, give the item a quick Google to make sure that the resale shop has it priced fairly. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and make a major score!
DO: Learn your materials and labels.
Some things, like solid wood furniture and cozy wool coats, never go out of style. While browsing vintage furniture or clothing, take a moment to check out the tags and maker marks to determine the quality and provenance of an item.
DON’T: Be afraid to give your finds a facelift
Sometimes, you find the perfect armoire at a nearby resale shop, but the color’s just all wrong. Fortunately, there’s not much in the world of furniture that a coat of paint can’t fix. Consider giving used furniture an upgrade via faux finishes, new drawer pulls and handles, and even fun shelf liners that provide visual appeal without breaking the bank.
Article by Amy McCarthy for Yardbarker©
Photo credit: ©Tim Leedy/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images
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