Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Confessions + The Art of Thrifting

The mister and I have been looking for a second car. Honestly, it has only amounted to a good deal of time on AutoTrader.com and CraigsList, but it has me dreaming of driving something like this:

via
Silly, but true. I'd actually settle for test driving one! Why is it, I'm so intrigued the Brits (as I've mentioned here and here)? I've been dreaming of finding season 3 of Downtown Abbey online, but I think I'll just have to wait until January when it airs in the US. Last night, we happened upon Wild Target via Netflix. It's the story of an assassin (Bill Nighy) who ends up protecting his target (Emily Blunt). Next time, you're in the mood for a British comedy, check it out.

That's enough of my British recommendations for one day. I have a treat for you now. In need of some thrifting tips? Stay calm and read on.

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Hello Dot in the City readers! Beth has graciously offered to let me do my very first guest post today! I am incredibly excited about this and especially about the topic. Thrifting is one of my favorite hobbies. I am the Foursquare mayor of every Goodwill within a forty mile radius of my house (no joke!). After countless stops into stores to browse after work and almost every weekend dedicated to scouting out the best shops in the state, I've pretty much got the process down to a science. 

So often, people are shocked and ask why they never find great things like I do - especially since many of them shop at the same stores as me. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way – and some things I wish I had figured out long before I did.


Shop often. You can't pop into your local Goodwill once a month and expect to hit a goldmine of vintage dresses and Pyrex lined shelves! Of course, luck could strike, but the majority of shoppers find their treasures with time. Many trips will end with empty hands. Make a weekend of it, stop in after work, go as often as you can manage!

Really look. Crouch down and peek at those bottom shelves, sort through stacks of ugly dishes, open up cardboard boxes tucked on the top shelf. Extra tip - browse through the "No Thanks" rack by the dressing rooms. Employees haven’t sorted those back to their original spots yet and someone could have tried on and then passed on something great.

Don’t judge a dress by its number.
 Look in every size section - or at least the size up or down from yours. Shoppers constantly pull things out, show their friends, and then stick it back on the closest rack so you may find things in your size in other parts of the store. Another reason to check those other sections - vintage! Vintage sizes are so different from modern. Last weekend i found a gorgeous 1970's sundress in the large section because it was labeled a 10. I usually fit into a size 2-4 and the dress fits me like a glove! Also, do not skip the kids section! Clothes are generally cheaper and, frankly, nobody will know that your
skirt is really a children’s XL.


Be aware of sales. Thrift shops will often have sales to get merchandise moving. Keep an eye out for half off barb colors or discounts on certain store sections or holiday items. Goodwill and Savers offer discount cards for a percentage off each purchase or on special days. These cards will be completely worth it if you are committed to thrift shopping!

Dress like a pro. Many thrift stores do not offer dressing rooms to try things on. Even worse, most do not offer a return policy. If they do have dressing rooms, you deal with lines. If you're like me, you will fill your cart to the brim - and who really wants to try on 20 tops inside a cramped dressing room with bad lighting? Dress so that you can easily test things out right on the floor. Leggings, tank tops, long button up sweaters, and slip on shoes are all excellent things to wear for an easy, and public, fitting.

Don't go in with a list. Of course, everyone has their dream thrift finds. (Mine: vintage sheets! I have had zero luck!) Thrifting is like treasure hunting, you just don't know what you will find. Try not to be discouraged. Recently, I found 7 vintage aprons stuffed into a basket in the lingerie section. I certainly did not want any stained white bras but the aprons were an awesomely unexpected surprise!


Look for quality. Yes, that designer dress is gorgeous. But, it's stained, torn, and three sizes too big. You do not have to buy it just because you found Coach or Michael Kors at a thrift shop. It's cool, but you will never wear it. Snap a photo on your phone for bragging rights and move on. On the other hand, don't be afraid to ask for a discount if you see a stain or tear that you think you can fix. I once found a gold Betsey Johnson dress with a ripped seam and when I asked if I could have it for less, the woman gave it to me for free!

When in doubt, alter. It goes without saying that not every piece is going to fit like it was tailored to your body. If you are in love with the print on a dress but it's too long for your tastes, consider having it altered! This is especially true when shopping for vintage. Clothing styles have changed over the years and dresses down to your shins are not always flattering. A simple alter and you could have the perfect mini dress! Same goes for non-clothing items. Look at every piece with a fresh perspective. What do you get if you paint that hideous wooden cat sculpture with glossy black paint? A whole new world.

What are some of your favorite thrifted finds? I would love to hear! Bragging is, after all, half the fun! Connect with Brittany on her blog, Twitter or Pinterest.

1 comment:

  1. my friend LOVES mini coopers! her fave!!! also love the thrifting tips!! i am such an amateur but i'm good at finding a bargain for sho!!

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