How to Shop Secondhand for Clothes
This post is for everyone who has gone into a thrift store or consignment store, been completely overwhelmed and turned around and walked out. I want to help you on this journey and make it as easy as possible to shift your shopping habits to secondhand clothes and accessories. Personally, I find that the layout of nearly all consignment and thrift stores makes it much easier to shop and find what you are looking for. Below is my process for how to shop secondhand for clothes.
Select your store.
Thrift or consignment and check it out one day (don’t plan to shop). Just cruise around and note where things are and how they are laid out. Nearly all consignment and thrift store are laid out the same way – by gender, style (shirts, dresses, shorts, etc.), color and size. This makes it SO much easier for you to find what you are looking for. It’s not like at a department store where you have to check every floor for designer, luxury, “better” (what does that mean, anyway?), and make sure you didn’t miss anything. In a secondhand store it’s all separated out for you based on the characteristics that matter.
Create a list.
Absolutely do not go to a store without some idea of what you are looking for. I typically have short term and long term lists. For example, I recently found a pair of gray heels that have been on my “list” for about a year. I wasn’t in a big rush but knew I wanted to find a pair and eventually I did.
Know your style and colors. This is crucial.
I like to say that you want to shop with filters. What I mean is that you don’t want everything in the store to be available to you. Limiting yourself to your styles, your colors and sizes helps a lot. It’s exhausting to think you need to look at everything, and it leads to decision fatigue. If you aren’t sure about your style and don’t know where to start consider working with a personal stylist.
Measure the Clothes!
I shop by measurement for all of my clients and I recommend you do too. Here are two videos on how to shop by measurement and what measurements to take before shopping. When you shop by measurement you limit the number of items to try on in the fitting room and therefore save a lot of time. Measurements are not perfect, but they are so much better than relying on arbitrary sizing (for women). For men – know your measurements and search for clothes match your measurements. Use your measurements (and measuring tape) to screen clothes that are sized by letter i.e. S, M, L, etc.
Shopping Guide for how to shop secondhand for clothes
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