One Saturday, I decided to try my luck with thrifting. I had been skeptical about thrift stores when I was younger. There was a certain stigma about used items, especially clothes, that kept me away. I used to think that all thrift stores were dirty places to send  my unwanted clothes. I was wrong. An affluent cousin had told me about the wonders of thrifting. She always seemed to find stylish, unique pieces that I could never find at the shopping mall. On a quest for vintage denim, I applied my gunmetal lipstick and hit a few local thrift shops. Here is what I learned.

You need to reserve at least half a day for thrifting. 

Thrifting is ‘real’ shopping. You can’t just expect to buy a look off the mannequin and be in and out in 15 minutes. There are so many one-of-a-kind items that you’ll need time to browse through the many racks, which are usually separated by item type. In some shops, clothes are separated by size, making life a tad bit easier.

Not everything is used. 

A common misconception that I held about thrift shops was debunked. Yes, many items are gently used. However, there are plenty of brand new items (some even with the original tags) to choose from. I found this chic, faux leather skirt from Zara at Silver Lining, a designer resale shop in Culver City, CA.

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Yelp is your best friend.

Yelp was the roadmap for my day of thrifting. It helped me locate shops in my area. Perhaps more valuable were the offers I unlocked on the app. Many thrift shops get business through word of mouth, so they offer a discount for those who check-in on the app.

Thrifting truly is hit-or-miss. 

You have to go thrifting with an open mind. Sometimes, you will find what you’re looking for, and other times, you will find absolutely nothing. If you are going to thrift stores to find something specific, you may have an unsuccessful shopping trip. It’s all about the hidden gems that you stumble upon when you’re not looking. I may not have found the vintage denim I was looking for, but I did find my new favorite skirt.

 

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