Adventures of a First Time Thrifter

21 Oct

Adventures of a First Time Thrifter

When I see all the cool outfits people make with thrifted items I can’t help but get a little curious. My friend Brandhyze Stanley of invited me to go thrifting with her at Housing Works this weekend and of course I jumped at the chance!

We did a “Power Hour”, which means we had an hour to sift through all the bins and squeeze everything we wanted into a medium sized bag for $25. Turns out I was only half prepared for this experience…

Form fitting clothes make it easy to try on your finds

Form fitting clothes make it easy to try on your finds

I knew there’d be no proper fitting room so I wore form fitting leggings and tank top with flats to make trying on items easier. My over the shoulder bag kept my hands free and the jacket and scarf fit into my bag when necessary.

Collect what EVERYTHING that looks good, sort through it later

Collect what EVERYTHING that looks good, sort through it later

Brandhyze prepped me by telling me to bring an Ikea bag – and I’m glad she warned me! With so many options and so much to sift through there’s no time to think about what you want. We grabbed everything we thought we might want and stuffed it in the Ikea bag, then went through all our findings at the end to decide what to keep and what to leave.

Inspecting my new finds for holes and stains

Inspecting my new finds for holes and stains

After we went through almost every bin it was time to sort our findings. I literally took every piece and tried it on in front of the mirror. Luckily most of the items fit! A few looked like they will probably need to be tailored but it’ll probably be worth it.


Where’s the left shoe?!

I had only one pitfall through my experience – I found this lovely purple ballet flat by Vera Wang but couldn’t find the other foot! 😦 We tried searching through every bin and it didn’t turn up so I had to leave it behind. Even though I couldn’t take those shoes home, I made out with a pair of boots, a small clutch, a pair of shorts, two scarves, three jackets, three belts, four tees, six tops and a cardigan. When you break it down that’s about a dollar per item – not bad for my first time!

All these goodies fit in one $25 bag!

All these goodies fit in one $25 bag!

So it turns out thrifting is fun, and I’d definitely do it again! After my first adventure I have a few tips for any other amateur thrifters out there:

  1. Dress the part – You can either wear a form fitting outfit like mine or something similar like a flippy skirt and tee. Either of these options give you space to try clothes on and see how they’d actually fit. Warning – a tank top and leggings may make you want to hit the gym afterwards!
  2. Go with a friend – The two of you can look out for each other and pick up items the other might want. Also when you’re sorting, if they decide they don’t want something you get first dibs before they put it back – that’s how I got my J. Crew coat!
  3. Set your expectations low – Most of my excitement for thrifting came from seeing regular thrifters with designer pieces  for under $25. You won’t always find that and you’ll set yourself up for disaster if this is what you expect. It’s great to walk out with a Marc Jacobs bag but don’t be upset if all you find is a couple of vintage tees and a belt.
  4. Move fast – Especially in the beginning. I saw something I thought I might want and when I hesitated to pick it up the lady next to me grabbed it instead.  Lesson learned – You snooze, you lose!
  5. Be friendly – When the two of us couldn’t find my other ballet flat we asked the staff and other thrifters. One of the other shoppers even took the shoe and walked around asking everyone else if they’d seen it. When you’re nice to others, they’ll be nice to you.

So it turns out my first time thrifting was a success, and I don’t really need to shop for a while. How bout you, do you thrift? What have your experiences been like?


2 Responses to “Adventures of a First Time Thrifter”

  1. alissa November 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    love this! i went a few weekends ago and came away with A LOT of stuff.
    (btw, tip: if you roll up the clothing instead of folding, you can fit more in the bag if you go to one of those pay per bag places!)

    • Esta Fiesta November 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      I totally rolled up my stuff – that’s how I fit everything else in that bag!! I can’t wait to go thrifting again. Do you have any more tips Alissa?

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