From time to time, I get asked on 'how' to go thrifting and where to find to good stuff. The truth is, thrifting is all about looking closely and being torough. Having knowledge about fashion history, different brands and fabrics will give you a big advantage. Here I will sum up some handy tips on how to uncover those hidden treasures yourself.
1. Do not let the smell and messyness of a thriftstore scare you off. You need to examine every item with potential separately. Dirt and most smells can be washed off when needed. This is a part op thrifting, most clothes will be used and that is the first fact to accept. I will give you the confidence to continue.
2. Take your time. I always feel that the best thing to do is making an orientational round first... and then to make a second, torough round in the opposite direction. It's amazing how much you will see when going round for a second time. You will notice a lot more after the brain processed the first impression. And some things just need to be looked at from a different angle...
3. Do not gaze at a rack/pile in total! Because that will enhance your chances of overlooking pretty things big time. Have a look at the items in the racks, seperately. Use your hands, feel the fabrics and let your eyes go over details (labels etc.) Same goes for bags, belts and shoes.
4. Be open minded. Try different things on... create the opportunity for yourself to be suprised. You'll be amazed how some items will look on you. Don't let the way something looks on a hanger fool you (judging books by their covers and all haha.) Experimenting with this will teach you how to recognize different kind of fits as well.
5. As said before; knowledge gives you a huge advantage. Try to learn a bit about fashion from the twentieth century. You can do this by reading of course, but watching tv shows and movies that take place in the previous century is a fun way of learning as well. Look at the clothes, how they move... the colours. This will help you recognize vintage treasures way faster. As for modern fashion; magazines will help you a lot. Really try to remember brands and labels... magazines publish thousands and thousands of different brands, and you will run into items from those brands in thriftstores. The key is to recognize them for what they are (worth) :)
6. If you want to increase you chances of finding valuable items; go to thrifstores whose content is provided by 'richer' communities. Find out (on their websites) where the stores get their things from. Rich people tend to own more expensive stuff, and are more likely to donate them after a short period of ownership ;)
I hope these tips will guide you to your own treasures! Use them for thrifting, fleamarkets, garage sales etcetera. Some of them may be used when going through vintage stores as well. But I'll make sure to write an article about vintage shopping and how to date items specifically soon :) So the question is.... When will your next treasure hunt take place?