I’m in the middle of a $50 fashion challenge against blogger SDBargainMama, who is based in San Diego, and I’m turning to used clothing stores to put together a top notch outfit within budget. Here are my tips for shopping vintage.
- Make a bee line for the clearance and sales rack before you browse full-priced items. You may find just what you are looking for at a fraction of the price.
- Hit the thrift stores on Tuesday or Wednesday, after they have processed weekend donations.
- Shop at thrift stores in better neighborhoods, which will have higher quality stuff.
- Shop with a friend who has an eye for fashion and can help you quickly say yay or nay. (This is not me.)
- Inspect clothes carefully for tears, missing buttons, holes and stains. These imperfections may not be easily visible under store lighting. Ask for a discount if you find any blemishes. Chances are the owner has taken the imperfection into account, but it never hurts to ask.
- Ask if they can give you a discount if you pay in cash, especially if you are buying multiple items.
- Don’t dilly dally if you like something. Stock turns over quickly.
- Broaden your search to include consignment stores, teen re-sale shops, flea markets and shops associated with local fashion schools.
- Sign up for the store’s mail/email list. You likely get coupons, advance news of sales, or a birthday discount.
- Go Green Travel Green has 34 tips, including what NOT to buy at a thrift store (underwear, socks, walking shoes, bike helmets).
Looking for a killer thrift store? One of the best way to find them is to search for thrift stores + your zip code. You can also plug your zip code into TheThriftShopper.com’s directory.