Lavender cardigan: Banana Republic, $35
Floral top: Old Navy, $3 (several years ago)
Necklace: Icing by Claire's, $5
Navy blue pants: J. Crew brand, $12 (secondhand from My Sister's Closet consignment shop in Spanish Fork, Utah)
Striped socks: TJ Maxx, $4 for pack of two
Leather brogues: Kikit brand, $3 (thrifted at a store in Shelley, Idaho)
As you can clearly see, I took today's pictures in a fitting room, and that fitting room just happens to be located at Deseret Industries in Provo, Utah. Deseret Industries (lovingly nicknamed "D.I.") is a constant throughout the state of Utah (as well as Idaho, from what I know) and nearly always promises great treasures for your thrifting pleasure.
My purpose in visiting D.I. was to find a desk that I can use for both sewing AND writing (hey, if anything wants to last long in this tiny dwelling, it's gotta earn its keep). Mission? Accomplished. But after I found my desk and started glancing at the racks of clothing, I felt rather in-the-mood for thrift shopping. That mood is somewhat rare for me; after all, shopping at a thrift store is very different from shopping at the mall, and it takes a specific mindset to look at each piece one-by-one, efficiently evaluating fabric/fit/condition/style. Here's how I generally approach thrift shopping:
Before I hit the racks
- Grab a cart, even when I don't think I'll need it.
- Make a mental list of the things I'm looking for (tonight, that list included blazers/jackets, colorful heels, and gray skinny jeans). These are the items that I'll spend special time perusing (i.e. I'll look at each individual blazer in the store), while still keeping an eye out for other items that strike my fancy.
At the racks
- Don't put anything in my cart that I feel iffy about; if it's a 5 out of 10 on the hanger, it's not worth my time in the dressing room.
- Try not to take the listed size too seriously. If something looks like it might fit, don't be thrown off by a tag that says the size is much larger or smaller than what I'm accustomed to.
- If I'm considering something, do a quick scan for stains or imperfections on the garment.
In the dressing room
- Start by trying on each individual item. Divide each piece into a "Definitely not" pile and a "For further consideration" pile.
- When trying things on, pay attention to fit over anything else. I'm not a seamstress, and I have to remind myself of this fact every time I find an amazing thing that's a little too big; while I want to believe that I'll take the time to alter something, the truth is that I won't. This is just something I've learned about myself through the years.
- After everything is split up accordingly, look at each item in the "For further consideration" pile and ask myself these questions: Do I already have something like this? Will this fit into my wardrobe? Can I imagine three or more different outfits that can be created using this piece? Is the price fair? Is this "dry clean only" or "hand wash," and am I willing to put the extra effort into maintaining this piece? Is this item uncomfortable in any way? Do I have too many things of this type (i.e. sweaters, bootcut jeans, brown boots, etc.) already? MOST IMPORTANTLY, do I love this item enough to want to wear it out of the store right now? This last question is really key for me, since my tendency is to buy things I only mildly like as long as the price is cheap, and it's a problematic pattern to continue. Anything that doesn't pass those questions gets moved into the "No" pile.
- Before I make a final decision on what I'm buying, I add up the cost of all the things I'm still considering. Ultimately, my bank statement doesn't care if I spent $40 on one thing or $40 on six things - it's $40 either way. I can't justify spending more than I can afford, even if I'm getting tons of great stuff for that amount, so if the final cost makes me uncomfortable in the slightest, I eliminate whatever I need to.
Here's how it all rolled out tonight: I took 20 items into the dressing room (3 gray jeans, 1 pair of heels, 10 jackets, 5 shirts, 1 half-slip) and bought six of them. The total cost was $29. My method did very well for me tonight! (Note: please excuse the angles and quality of the following pictures - it is what it is.)
PURCHASED for $7)
PURCHASED for $6)
PURCHASED for $4)
PURCHASED for $5)
The above purchases total $22. I also bought some genuine suede heels in the prettiest shade of red ($5) and a half-slip ($2). The skinny jeans I picked out were all too small to even fit over my bum, so looks like I'm not the best judge of size in that area! Overall, it was a good day for thrift shopping. Between this trip and my triumphant visit to Junk In My Trunk last week, I think I've hit my quota for the month ... in fact, maybe for the next three months.