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A common trouble shared by many students is the dilemma of wanting a new wardrobe but not wanting their wallets to come out too damaged in the process. Living in Malibu, where local stores sell items of clothing more expensive than our laptops, shopping on a budget can be a considerable challenge. Thrift shops present opportunities to hang new items in your closet without regretting each and every purchase made. Whether shopping at stores like Goodwill or Buffalo Exchange, it is important to keep a few pieces of advice in mind.
Tips to consider during every thrifting experience can be understood best with the acronym T.H.R.I.F.T.
T: Try new places
As creatures of habit, it is easy to get stuck shopping at that same store. However, keep in mind that an essential quality of thrift shops is their constant change of inventory. You might find the perfect dress at a certain shop once, but when you go again looking for another dress, you might end up walking out with jeans that fit just right. It is important to recognize the ebb and flow of thrift shops, and realize that places where you may have once had a negative experience could transform into being places that have just what you need. This means that you should not rule out any neighborhood or store. It is all about experimentation.
H: Honestly know your style
You have to be honest with yourself. Thrift shops can be overwhelming. You may enter being one person, and exit with an entirely new style. It is important to be honest with yourself, remembering the things you typically wear. Don’t get too caught up in the bargain, becoming immediately sold on anything less than $5. It is great to get deals and come out with unique finds, but remember that you do not want people actually asking, “Is that your granddad’s coat?”
R: Rock old looks
That being said, it is also important to rock the looks of the past. To not entirely undermine the previous point, this simply means, do not be afraid to bring something back if it aligns with your style. If you like something, go for it. Central to thrift shopping is the ability to be bold and bring back a ’90s denim vest.
I: Initial wash
This is a self-explanatory — and hopefully — obvious tip. No matter where you are shopping, remember that these clothes are donated by absolute strangers. It is very necessary to go home and throw them into the hottest washing cycle. It is great that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but remember you do not know that man nor his hygiene. Save yourself a random rash and trip to the doctor’s office and just wash the clothes before you wear them the next day.
F: Find the right fit
This is pretty standard of any shopping trip, but it is essential to try things on and find the right fit. Many times, the line between men’s and women’s clothes will begin to blur, and you might find yourself in a clothing gray area in which you are trying on items that could be intended for both genders. Keeping this in mind, it is important to make sure that the clothes fit. There is nothing worse than the tragedy of it being very obvious that you just shopped at a thrift shop (because nothing fits).
T: Thoroughly look through pockets
This tip is a fun one to keep in mind, because you never know what you will find at thrift stores. What if you sifted through the back pocket of some old pair of Levi’s and found a $20 bill? Or what if you found a neat Polaroid from the ’60s? Remember that people are indeed bringing their old clothes, and the stores may not be checking what comes with them. This means that you need to be that person to investigate, because truly you never know what you may find.
Thrifting is an exciting experience. Do not let the possible failures of shopping make you afraid to even try. Remember to always T.H.R.I.F.T., but ultimately just have fun with it. How cool is that feeling when you walk into the Caf and watch everyone eye your outfit? You then get to say that you thrifted for it? Now that is a rewarding shopping spree. If you want that feeling, get out there and thrift.
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