Article specially written for www.goodwillnm.org by Aline Harper
Clothes are a great way to express yourself but buying into fast fashion is not the most practical or environmentally friendly. An estimated 100 billion new garments are made yearly to satisfy demand. From this, a whopping 85% of textiles in America goes into landfills.
That’s why it’s not surprising that more people are opting to buy preloved instead. Secondhand items are usually more affordable and help lengthen the life cycle of a garment. Many fashionistas are even able to find vintage designer gems at a bargain. If you’re new to thrift shopping or want to do it like the pros, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Dress Appropriately
This rings true for any shopping trip where you plan to walk around. Since you’ll want to cover as much ground as you can, make sure you aren’t in any attire that will be restrictive or uncomfortable. Not all stores have dressing rooms, and the ones that do are often occupied. This means you may have to try things on over your own clothes. Hence, your thrifting outfit should be form-fitting and breathable. Sneakers, leggings, biker shorts, and tanks or slim tees are the most ideal.
2. Know Your Body Type
Many preloved items, especially vintage ones, may not have labels. This can make it difficult to gauge whether an item will fit you properly. To remedy this, measure yourself beforehand. The most important vitals to note are the bust, waist, inseam, and hips. Of course, your build and silhouette should also be taken into consideration. There are no hard rules but generally you want to elongate and accentuate. Stylists agree that plus-sized ladies are blessed with curves they can complement with peplum or pencil cuts. Meanwhile, knee-length sheath and V-neck dresses will elongate smaller girls as noted in a guide to dressing for petites by Pretty Me. Notably, pieces like trench coats and wrap dresses are universally flattering.
3. Plan your shopping list
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the endless bargains around you. It’s likely that you’ll end up buying more than you need and spending more than you meant. To avoid unnecessary purchases, create a physical shopping list. Write down specific brands and pieces that you’re looking for so you have a goal. You can even save pictures that can help you remember. Fashion mood boards, as suggested by The Good Trade, help visualize your style. At the same time, it also helps to review your current wardrobe before a shopping trip. This way you’ll know what items you already have and what new additions will fit in.
4. Don’t feel pressured
When you start shopping, try to focus on just that. We don’t even realize it, but we let our minds think of a dozen different things at once. But researchers at the Cleveland Clinic say multi-tasking doesn’t work. They even go so far as to say it makes us less efficient and prone to mistakes. If you’re out shopping, relax. Make the rounds of the store and focus on just this task. You don’t have to buy anything, either. If what you want isn’t there, save yourself some time and just go to the next store.
5. Know the staff and store
It’s always a good idea to be familiar with the staff. Not only can they help you find elusive pieces, but they’re likely to give you shopping tips. Many clerks will be happy to let you know when a new drop is coming or when they expect to see certain brands pop up. In smaller thrift stores, some clerks also handle the acquirement of each new shipment. They’ll likely know whether you can expect anything special. Many stores have special promos or discounts, too. For example, Goodwill offers a VIP Shopper program where shoppers receive exclusive coupons and advanced notice of sales. You can sign up here www.textgoodwillit.org
Think of shopping for preloved clothes as a stylish adventure that won’t hurt your pocket or the planet. With a little patience and some simple planning, you can unearth dozens of one-of-a-kind treasures.