11 Tricks to Help You Thrift The Best Clothing


I don’t joke when I sayI am a master of thrifting. My wardrobe is around 80% vintage and secondhand that I’ve thrifted myself. I ran a curated pre-loved clothing store online for over a year. And I regularly help clients create a large portion of their dream wardrobe for $100 or less by taking them thrifting for most of their Replenishment pieces.

You don’t need money to have great style. You just need creativity, patience, and intuition. Thrifting is the best option for anyone who is trying to discover their personal style, or who is trying to build their dream wardrobe on a wee budget. It’s also a low risk way to play outside your comfort zone with your style. If you take a piece home and realize it just truly isn’t you, you’re usually only out $5-$10 (instead of $50 or $500) and can consign it to make that money back.

It took me years to develop my methods and always find the best clothing. Now, you won’t have to. Here’s my top 11 tricks to help you thrift the best clothing.

Go through every single row & size. It’s more time consuming, yes, but things get mixed up & this is how you find the gems. I once found a vintage Burberrys cape mixed in with the pants. Seriously. 

Don’t go in with expectations. Have a general list of things you would like to add to your wardrobe, but don’t be super specific. Be open to the possibilities that jump out at you - give yourself a chance to play and be creative. Otherwise thrifting is overwhelming, frustrating and disappointing, and you’ll never find what you’re looking for. 

Be open minded. You never know how something will look until you try it on. Sometimes your favourite piece will end up being the one you tried on as a joke. 

Check the fabric content of a piece. These stores may be inexpensive, but you still want to be sure you’re getting the best quality so you don’t have to do this process again in the month. Try to stick to silks, linens, cottons, tencels & wools. Vintage 50s, 60s & 70s nylons & polyesters aren’t the best for your body (read why here) but they are better quality than the ones today, and they’re usually outstanding, one-of-a-kind pieces of art, so it’s worth it. 

Know that something not fitting or not looking how you pictured it is about the clothing. Not you or your body. There are pieces from different brands, different countries, different decade. There is no possible way there is a standard size, so don’t go by the number on the tag. Try on anything and everything that might possibly fit you; decide what you take home based on how you feel in it. 

Check out the lingerie section, and all of the men’s sections. The lingerie section has vintage slips & camisoles perfect for lounging in, robes that work as dusters, and sometimes silk pants. Men’s vintage jeans, oversized button ups & fisherman knits are staples in my wardrobe. One of my favourite outfits is a fisherman knit over a vintage slip with boots or clogs. 

Always check the fabric section of the store. Sometimes there’s stunning pieces of fabric that would make the perfect scarf or easily be turned into a square top. 

Remember that you can get almost anything tailored. For more details on that, check out this post

Bring wet wipes. I’m not kidding. I once accidentally grabbed a shirt someone had just finished using as a Kleenex. You never, ever know what you will find. Be prepared.

Take the clothing off the hangers & fold it in your cart before getting to the till. It doesn’t take you long while you’re standing in line, but helps the cashier out immensely. So instead of checking Instagram for the millionth time, take a couple seconds to help brighten someone else’s day. It’s these little acts of kindness that help make our world a better place. 

Sign up for their memberships. You get early access to the 50% off sales (and usually any other specials they have). 

PS: I do also go thrifting with clients one-on-one. Learn more here.

Top from notPERFECTLINEN // Skirt thrifted by me