Hi there! I’m Maggie from the blog 2ndhand Knowledge (link to blog: http://2ndhandknowledge.com), a personal style blog. My mom owns a consignment boutique, so 99% of my wardrobe is secondhand. I love showing how versatile, high quality, fashionable, and unique a wardrobe can be when shopping primarily secondhand. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite secondhand shopping tactics with you.
1. Learn to sew – Don’t pass on a pair of jeans because they’re too long or because they’re wide-leg and you like skinny. Don’t forgo a skirt because it’s an awkward length. If you can sew, those things are easy fixes. Invest in an inexpensive sewing machine. Needles and thread are cheap. Naomi here on Patterned Love is great inspiration. She’s almost always wearing an item that she altered or upcycled, and they always look fantastic!
2. Learn your fabrics – Cotton, polyester, rayon, spandex, silk, wool…if you know a little about the different materials clothes can be made with, you can easily gather whether something is high quality or cheap, regardless of whether you’re familiar with the brand/designer. You can check the tags, but also try to become familiar with the feel of the fabrics so you can still gage quality on tagless items. More high end items will last longer because they’re made with more durable fabrics and/or better construction. It’s okay to get things of lesser quality, just know that you shouldn’t be paying as much.
3. Shop when you travel – I’ve been to thrift and consignment stores all over the country, and the stores in Arizona are totally different from the stores in, say, Missouri or Florida. It’s fun to explore what different locations have to offer, and some of my favorite and most unique pieces I got while traveling. Do a little research before your next road trip or vacation, and schedule some time for a bit of resale shopping. My sister and I are itching to plan a trip to Asheville, North Carolina just to spend a day exploring all the thrift and consignment stores there.
4. Go online – I love hats, but I don’t find hats very often in the stores I frequent. Also, I wear a size large hat, and they’re hard to come by. For unique things like that, I go to Etsy, Ebay, or other online vintage shops. Etsy is my favorite. Tons of options for whatever you could dream up. You can filter your search results to fit your wants/needs, and new stuff is always being added.
5. Get up early – I love yard sales. How much? I get up between 5:30 and 6:30 am every Saturday to be a yard sale “early bird.” The early bird gets the worm! I mostly get housewares and other odds and ends from yard sales, but I typically score a few cute clothing items or shoes each week. Almost all of my heels are $1 finds from yard sales because I don’t wear heels enough to be willing to spend much on them. They’re nice though! I went to one yard sale about a year ago where the lady wore my size and was getting rid of a ton of really nice Nine West shoes. Other cool finds? I got a designer chair worth $800 for $8, a telephoto zoom lens for my camera for $10, some vintage wire baskets worth $80-ish for a few bucks, a flat panel TV for $25, and my sister got a super nice electric piano for $50.
6. Have an imagination – If you don’t wear crew neck sweaters but love the color of one you found at a thrift store, turn it into a cardigan. Chop off the top half of a dress and make a skirt. Replace the buttons on a sweater with some new funky ones. Look at items for their potential rather than what they are. Of course, only invest if you’ll actually make the change or you’ll soon have a bin filled with to-do projects that you’ll probably never get around to.
I hope my thrifting tips are helpful to you. Most importantly, just have fun!