7 Thrift Shopping Tips to Score Vintage Gems

Though it’s difficult to find stylish items secondhand, you can still give it a try if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind look, or you’re you want to look stylish even you’re on a small budget. The key is to know which clothing sections you should make a bee-line for and which ones you should just avoid. So, keep on reading for the 7 thrift shopping tips that will help you to score vintage gems.

  1. Look for a-line or fit-and-flare dresses with a timeless style.

vintage checkered dress with camel coat

vintage dress with heels

Your chances of finding a gem are higher when you look for dress section because they tend to be more universally flattering. Just look for a-line or fit-and-flare dresses with a classic and timeless style. This way, the traditional fit of the dress will tone down any bold print you are sure to find. Also, plaids, stripes, checks, fruit prints and such are some of the creative patterns that can make your style unique.

  1. Opt for skirts with lining and quality stitching.

chic vintage skirt with pastel top pastel pink top with vintage skirt

If the length hits at your knee and cinches you at the waist, you’ve already won half the battle. You may also look for vintage skirts in bright colors, quirky prints, and bold floral patterns. Generally, vintage skirts have lining and quality stitching that will make it last longer. Also, look for high-waist styles that look too big for you on the hanger. Usually, the tapered fit just makes the hips and rear of the skirt look bigger than they actually are, though they often fit you.

  1. Spot for high-end shirts in good shape.

button down shirt with mermaid skirt and bow tie white dress with chic button down and birkenstocks

A quality retail button-down can run up to $100. At the thrift store, you can find high-end brands for $2 within seconds. Typically, these high-end shirts will still be in good shape and button-downs are more universally flattering. You can find office-appropriate fitted styles, but you may opt for vintage prints like gingham, checks, plaid, and such that look more creative and intentional over plain white shirts.

  1. When looking for blazers, make sure the shoulder pads are removable and not sewn inside the shoulders.

vintage blazer with suit colorful vintage blazer with frayed shorts

The boxier blazer fits from the 80s and 90s are exactly the ones you want to go for as the effortlessly cool “borrowed from the boys” look is especially on-trend right now. However, make sure the shoulder pads are removable and not sewn inside the shoulders. Also, you may still opt for lightweight and chic blazers made from tweed that look feminine.

  1. Look for vintage coats made from wool and have linings.

baroque print coat with vintage outfit

Vintage winter coats from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s are usually made from wool and have linings, pretty buttons, and maybe even a fur collar. Nowadays, affordable coats are thinner and often aren’t lined. However, just be ready to spend some money on dry cleaning as thrift store coats especially hold in the moth ball smell.

  1. Simply avoid pant section as it usually get more wear and tear overall.

lace pants with printed blazer

Finding a pair of flattering pants is completely dependent upon your unique body type and height, so if you’re in need of a new pair of slacks or jeans, your chances of finding a pair at the thrift store are slim to none. On the other hand, if you’re looking for breezy pants, flared trousers, and lace ones, you may find a lot from thrift stores. However, pants usually get more wear and tear overall, so finding a pair in good condition is even more uncommon.

  1. Look for vintage tees rather than basic ones.

graphic tee with blazer and dress pants colored skinny jeans with graphic tee

Unless you’re on a quest for the perfect vintage band tee, take a pass on the massive t-shirt section. Thrift stores receive a high volume of tees since people tend to own tons, making the t-shirt one of the most common donations.  However, you can still find more personalized tees that look vintagey that you can add to your collection. Just dress it up with a chic topper, a statement necklace, and classic pumps to make your vintage tee polished and chic. By heeding our tricks and narrowing down your search to only a few sections, you’ll feel less overwhelmed by the endless sea of clothing and it’ll become much easier to find vintage gems of your own.

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