The ultimate thrifting guide

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop ft Wanz

Whilst my friends marvel at their new Zara bag, I'm psyched over a one-off blouse I dug up at the bottom of a bargain bin. I made a vow to myself to shop more independent labels and thrift stores to give back to the environment, protest unfair working conditions, support startups and ultimately - look totally awesome in my authentic £5 JOOP! jeans. 

I used to find thrifting so intimidating, sometimes even pretentious. But once you start you never look at clothes the same way again. You'll walk into Topshop, find a top for £40 and think 'screw this, I can find one in a thrift shop for a tenner'. 

There's nothing quite like walking into a room full of clothes that have a story. Bring these clothes to life again and embed your own story with my awesome thrifting tips:


Keep an open mind
I'm tiny as hell and in my early thrifting days I made the huge mistake of thinking EVERYTHING is just too long or big for me. Remember that sizing has changed over the years and it's a matter of trial and error, clothes look so different on a hanger plus you'd be surprised how well it might actually fit you.

Wear suitable, preferably figure-hugging clothing whilst shopping. 
Second-hand clothes are very likely to be...dirty. Not only that but most thrift stores don't have changing rooms. Be prepared to try on clothes over your own.

Shop tout seul
Nothing is worse than bringing a friend who shops only high-street. He/She will get bored whilst you're going through all the rails. I personally prefer shopping alone anyway as I can take my time and have no distractions. If you must bring a friend with you, bring someone who is a thrifter already or is genuinely open to finding second-hand clothes.

Take your time
It's very easy to get overwhelmed when walking into a thrift store. My advice is to take it one section at a time, really look at every item and grab what you'll try on later. Don't worry too much about the fit (unless you absolutely know it's massive/tiny), you can always narrow down your choices after you've tried everything on.

Is it only £1 and you know you'll wear it? BUY IT
Buy it now or you won't see it again because once it's gone, it's GONE. Yes you can't return these items but it's cheap, it's sustainable and you can always donate it if you have second thoughts.


Shop in order of highest to lowest priority
What I mean by this is if you genuinely could do with a pair of nice tailored trousers, hit the trousers first, then skirts, then blouses - working your way round in what you need the most makes the thrifting experience a lot easier and efficient.

But at the same time, be selective
Though contradictory to the last point, if you already own a dozen of whatever item you have in your hand then ask yourself - do I really need this? Find a balance, although you're saving mega on buying some sweet clothes for cheap; if you only plan to wear them once then don't bother.

Have a budget
It's very easy to go a bit mad on your spending in a thrift shop, trust me. Set a budget and withdraw it in cash. Most thrifting stores are accepting card these days, but it's a trap! In all seriousness though, there's nothing worse than blowing loads of money just for cheap clothes.

Use your sense of touch
Fabrics in thrift stores are so vast, some garments look amazing from the distance but are awful to the touch. Touch everything, get a feel of the clothes and ask yourself if you'd be genuinely comfortable wearing it.


Don't buy clothes you'll get your friend to 'tailor'
I've made this mistake - bought something awesome knowing it's huge and never got round to customising it. Okay if you're someone who keeps to their word or owns a sewing machine then go for it, but I can highly guarantee you probably won't get round to it. Just keep that in mind.

Assess the condition of the clothes
Look for stains on the collars, armpits, everywhere. Any rips, tears, missing buttons should also be taken into consideration. If it's not an item you're compeltely in love with and it has any of those flaws, put it back.

Guys and Girls, don't be afraid to look at each others clothes!
I know guys who thrift in the ladies section and have pulled out shirts with the nicest fabrics and still look amazing. I guess this goes back to keeping an open mind, if you see something you like regardless whether it's men's or ladies, try it!

Keep an eye out for Kilo Sales
Guys, this is a thrifter's paradise. This is basically an event where a space will be filled to the brim with rails upon rails of second-hand clothes and all you need to do is grab yourself a kilo worth of clothes for roughly £10-£15. You can go well over a kilo if you like and some places even discount your purchase if you go over a certain limit! Google Kilo Sales in your area and get down to one.

Thrifting is amazing and you won't realise it until you actually give it a go. I'd say it's a similar experience to shopping in TK Maxx, I freaking hated how unorganised the shop was but it's helped me become more patient as a shopper, thrifter and a person. I guarantee if you put your mind to it, really focus and aim to walk out with something super cool you'll feel like Macklemore:


Have you guys got any recent thrifting finds? Show us! Let me know about your thrifting experiences and any other useful tips.

1 comment

  1. Okay i'll stop stalking you soon..but this is freaking awesome! I really really want to get more in to charity shop/thrift shopping but it's sooooo intimidating. Reading this (and seeing how cool you look), is like "HELL YEEEE" I can do that too! Probably look nowhere near as cool as you, but I can try! You're fab gurl xxx