Come Thrift With Me
Today, it will be a different type of read. Lately, more than ever, I have been sharing (on Instagram) about my love for thrifting. I felt like I should bring up the subject more in depth over here. This passion of mine isn’t new. My grandfather had a reupholstering company. He would reupholster antique chairs, sofas, commercial vintage furniture... He shared his passion with my mom who became an antiques hunter. When I was a kid, we would drive every summer to the USA in Maine for our vacations. On the way back, we would stop to what seemed like a thousand antique shops. I love New England for that. Sometimes we would buy things but most of the time we would only browse. I learned a lot of history because of these antique runs. Maybe it was secretly a history lesson for my brother and I, who knows? There's nothing quite like the smell of old barns antique shops. It grew on me and I came to love it. This is where my obsession with thrifting comes from. Learning to thrift is a skill, finding quality goods, knowing what fabrics garments are made of without even touching them... When I lived around Boston, I went to the biggest flea market in the USA. I had seen it on television and had dreamed of going. I thought I was an experienced ''thrifter'' (term commonly used by people who thrift) and then I realised I still had a lot to learn. You think Thrift stores are unorganised haha, try going to the biggest flea market in the USA. I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t figure out what to buy. I wanted EVERYTHING! Now that I have more experience I plan on going back prepared with a mental list of what I want and actually need. So here are a few of my thrifting tips I’ve perfectioned over time.
DO A FIRST WALK AROUND
When walking into a thrift store it can be overwhelming. I love doing a walk around to get in the ‘’zone’’. It also helps your eyes to get accustomed to all the clutter that surrounds you. At first, it is hard to stay focused and even I still seem to fixate on the clutter. Sometimes, it takes a few walks around before seeing potential in something whether it's a piece of deco or clothing.
KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
You may find a treasure but chances are slim. Go in with a general idea of what you want; rattan deco, tea cups, a winter jacket, an oversized sweater.... Start searching for what you are looking for and then venture in the rest of the store. Often when I find what I came in for it motivates me to continue searching for something else.
GO WITH A FRIEND
Your friend may have a different vision then you. Maybe he or she will see beauty in things you wouldn’t have. With one of my best thrifting buddy we often end up finding things for each other instead of ourselves. It also makes things fun and laid back.
DO NOT DRESS TO IMPRESS
Recently, I said this in one of my reel videos and immediately one of my girlfriend told me she could relate and shared a few anecdotes. Okay, so when dressing up nicely people tend to follow you in the thrift store, either to grab whatever you put down or simply to shop in your basket once you’ve turned around. Looking incognito is the best idea. Nobody wants to feel pressure while shopping. On that note, it is smart to check the end of the racks of each aisle, that's usually where thrifters do their triage.
BRING SOME DONATIONS
When you bring some donations in the big thrift stores you often get discount coupons to thank you for your donations. I don't know for you but I will take any discounts I can get.
EXAMINE BEFORE PURCHASING
This is still something I am trying to ace. Many times, I arrive at home realising the zipper of the sweater I purchased is broken, or the garment is stained, has a hole and so on. I cannot stress enough that you should examine everything you purchase since most thrift stores don't have a great exchange policy.
KNOW YOUR BRANDS/QUALITY OF MATERIAL
Often thrift stores like Value Village or Salvation Army will up the prices of common brands like Zara since they know most people will recognise them. Again, last week I left a nice Zara sweater behind because it was 9,99. It was nice but it wasn’t a quality piece. I have nothing against Zara but if I can buy it new on sale for 10$, I will not buy it second hand for that exact same price. Also, know the quality of what you are purchasing. It may take a while for you to know if something is made out of real wool, leather, cotton... Simply read the tags.
BE OPEN MINDED
Often people ask me where I find certain pieces of clothing and they can’t believe they were thrifted. It is important to see the bigger picture. For example, you are looking for an oversized knitted sweater, get out of the women section, it will take you ages before finding that perfect oversized knit. Make your way to the man section, I can assure you will find a bunch of options.
I know thrifting can be overwhelming but give it a try. It’s fun, it’s ecological, your wallet likes it, you have the opportunity to find unique garments and finally it is good for the local economy since all the money spent stays here. I hope my little tips can help you guys with your next thrifting ventures. And if you are located in the Toronto area don’t be shy, write to me, I’d love to go thrifting with you.