What used to be your mom’s embarrassing back-to-school budget-cutter is now a national trend in shopping.
Thrift shopping is more popular than ever in the U.S. About 20 percent of people shop in thrift stores regularly, up from 14 percent in 2008, said Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America’s Research Group, in USA Today. He attributed much of the growth to young shoppers turning their attentions away from the mall.
But it’s no trip to your average commercial retail center.
“It’s a treasure hunt,” said Richard Guerra, manager at Savers on North Mesa. “You don’t know what you’re going to come across from one day to the next.”
From amazingly priced brand-name items to finds from decades ago, the beauty of thrift shopping is in the discoveries. You can find a retro top in a trendy color for a great price all while remaining fashion forward.
So if you’re looking to make a statement with your style without crying over your credit card statement, hit up your area thrift store. Here are some tips to help you make it thrifty.
• Maybe those mom jeans look a little dated, but with a pair of scissors they can be a perfect pair of high-waisted shorts.
• Try shopping in the men’s sections if you’re a girl, and vice versa for boys. Women’s shirts or blazers offer a wider selection of colors and patterns than the men’s section does. (Try to imagine what the item would look like tweaked with a few items from your own closet.) And for women, oversized men’s shirts paired with belt can make cute shirt dresses for the summer.
• Think outside the box while sorting through items. “I’ve bought denim jackets, cut the sleeves off and made them into vests,” said Bryan Lugo, a local thrifter. “With certain shirts that you really like, you can buy some dye at Walmart and just dye it whatever color you want.” If you’re not the creative type, a trip to the tailors can make that $5 blazer look extra classy.
Ask about sales
Don’t be afraid to save more money. Goodwill has a Facebook app that allows you to either share the link to save 25 percent on your next purchase or keep it to yourself to save 20 percent. The Family Thrift Center has 50-percent sales every day on specified colored tags and departments. Savers has a featured tag everyday that goes for 50 percent off or for 99 cents. Savers also gives daily discounts to military, senior citizens and college students. “Never spend too much – I wouldn’t go above $5,” said Vicky Camacho, owner of Golden Goose Vintage, an online Etsy vendor.
If you plan on finding something great, take your time. There will be times when the perfect item pops up within the first five minutes, but most often you’ll have to dig. Take your time and sort through items with a keen eye. It helps if you go into the store with a specific item in mind. One day, look through the furniture section, and the next, look through the shirt racks. This can help make the seemingly endless amount of merchandise less intimidating.
Try it on!
Most thrift stores have no return policy, so make sure it fits. Wear form-fitting clothes so if there isn’t a dressing room available, you can improvise. If you know it’s not going to fit, save your money and leave it for someone else to find.
Explore the entire store
You can find those final touches to your home or dorm room just by expanding your horizons by stepping out of the clothing section. Put on your creative goggles while shopping through the furniture section. You may see an ugly painting that has the frame you’ve been searching for. The possibilities are endless.
Via Cora Davis