The Art of Thrifting / by Katie Turner

Thrifting and I go way back. Ever since I was in middle school, my parents and I have been hitting up thrift stores in the Chicago suburbs. It started off as looking for discounted clothes, then as my love for fashion grew it turned into a hunt for unique vintage finds. Now, as a college student, it's easy on the wallet and it's sustainable. My first job was even at a thrift store! Friends, family, and strangers have been asking me to help them thrift ever since I started, and as much as I'd love to accompany everyone who has asked, writing it out in the form of a blog post is much easier. 

1. Make a plan

Before you go, take a look through your closet and see if there's anything you need*. Write a list of the things you plan on looking for while at the thrift store. It can be specific like "high-wasited light wash skinny jeans" or simple like "jeans that fit well". Also - be sure to block enough time out of your day. The other night I went in looking for one thing, and I spent a good 2 hours there with my mom (we usually take a long time, but I'll explain more why later).

2. Go to store 

Head to the store! Once you're there, it's good to head straight to the section where what you're looking for is placed. Most thrift stores break up the racks by category. If you're ISO jeans, go straight to the denim section! Do not let the nice sweaters in the front of the store distract you until after you have what you need. 

3. fill your cart / try things on

This may seem contradictory because as of late I'm preaching the art of minimalism, but you never know how something is going to look until you try it on. Give things a chance and fill your cart up with every "maybe" you find because it could actually look a lot better on you than it does on the hanger! A lot of things you think you'll love might turn out not so great once you try it on, so it's good to have backups. By no means should you be purchasing everything anyways, that's where the art of minimalism comes into play, edit your cart down to a reasonable size before heading to the register. 

4. bring your squad

Bring along your friends, your significant other, your parents, anyone. Having another person(s) there to help you filter through the racks and help you narrow down your choices in the fitting room is important. If they really know you, they're the ones who will help you decide whether you'll actually wear it or not. If you're lucky, they'll be the one to snap some sense into you out of buying those impulse buys. 

5. enjoy it

There's nothing worse than thrifting and hating the process. You've already accepted that you'll be spending a good chuck of time sifting through each and every rack in the place, so why not make it enjoyable! At places like Goodwill, there always seem to be that scent of dust in the air and you end up leaving with your hands dryer than the desert, but finding ways to enjoy the process make it that much more worth it. When I thrift, I usually Snapchat the process! Whether it's snapping a photo of a ridiculous George W. Bush mug, or showing off the great faux shearling jacket I found as a #mirrorpic, it keeps me entertained. 


bonUs tips 

- always grab a cart. you never think you'll need it until you really need it.

- keep hand lotion handy (pun intended). 

- wearing basics that day makes it easy to change in and out of clothes for a better time in the fitting room. t-shirts, jeans, and socks for sure if you plan on trying on shoes. 

- keeps your hopes up. if you don't find what you're searching for, try again another day or try out a different thrift store! new "product" rolls in every day and because the price is so low, it's worth the extra searching time. 


Shots from my most recent thrifting trip!

clockwise from top left: faux leather jacket that is now mine // the three jackets I purchased even though it is almost spring // Clark's booties I purchased! // shearling and suede jacket that I did not end up buying. The skinny jeans and sneakers were previously thrifted items!