How and where to shop for the great Finds
Learn how to shop for and choose thrift store items so you
can create your own unique style wardrobe
Merits of Thrifty Shopping
Unique finds from decades past
Find one-of-a-kind treasures
to style in and around your modern
Frugality - The material is always better quality than
what I could afford to experiment with in retail yard-goods. I
get to “play” with silks, wools, leathers, fine
cottons...anything I want.
The Fabrics - I almost never visit fabric shops anymore.
Instead, I recycle the textiles from thrift-shop or bargain-rack
in pre-owned garments
has usually been worn-and-laundered
so its likely not going to shrink, seam-twist,
fade, or stretch oddly after I've put my work into it. Any fiber
or structure issues will have already made themselves
apparent...the easiest form of quality-control, for me.
The variety. I'm not limited to current fashion trends.
There's stuff out there from all life-styles, seasons, and
(well, almost) different time-zones! It truly satisfies me, to
be able to replicate a 30s slip-dress, using authentic fabrics
from a vintage dressing gown.
Best places to Shop
find that the
smaller, independently owned vintage and thrift stores are
where I unearth my best finds.
A good deal does not always equal a “good buy”
Can you use it, will it actually meet your needs, is it damaged
in a way that won't work for you?
Its a waiting game
a few favourite
spots around you and visit them frequently - shops like this
cycle through inventory pretty quick.
if you go enough, there’s a good chance of befriending an
employee and finding when they get new hauls in.
Find a balance between shopping with a urpose and having a
with a purpose - maybe you’re looking for a
belt to complete that dress, or just the right wrap for that
Keep a curious mind and browse a bit after you’ve
your initial “quick-browes”. Some of the best finds are going to
be totally unexpected and surprising.
Carry a tape-measure and a list of required measurements for
those items you need. It really helps to know the width of that
full skirt you're trying to match with some vintage lace trim.
Fabric swatches are handy when you're looking to partner a
vintage vest with an outfit you have at home.
Hand sanitizer – for obvious reasons
or better yet, slim-fitting clothing, so that you can slip
prospects over, to assess the fit. Its not always easy to find a
dressing room, and then who has time to wait in line for one,
when there are other bargains waiting to be found out there?!!
What to look for
Look for prints, textures and colours that
you really Love.
This one is really easy since after awhile
they will practically jump out at you from the rack. Energising
colours, funky prints
Look for Fine-quality and Natural Fabrics.
Read the Fiber-content Label.
Words like Linen, Silk, Wool, Cotton and
Viscous are the ones I'm looking for. They are often blended
with other fibres like lycra for function and wearability,
and that's ok too. Usually, higher the fibre content, the
I love viscous (rayon) because it hold
dye really well and can come in strong vivid colours. It drapes
so flatteringly on the body and is wonderful in bias cuts.
Fragile and turns yellow with age – which can be a charming
quality. Tends to be fragile so you'll often find holes and
tears in stressed parts of the garment.
Linen is cool crisp for the summer and
Silk is the Queen. From luxurious and
flowing, to soft smooth wonderful knits and even to fine crisp
silk found in suits and dresses. My rule is If I find silk, I
Wool from soft sweater knits to fine dress
pants and suits
Large King or Queen- sized fitted bedsheets
in colourful prints.
Great for home-decor,, costumes,
Look for garments that are way too big for
Think of all that extra fabric you get to
Look for garments that have interesting or
complicated fashion detailing
That ornate bow that looks huge on the
neckline, might look much more in scale, when placed at the hip
of a little flip-skirt.
You can salvage the zipper/waistband portion
of a skirt, by strategically cutting it into your new garment.