“How come no one has grabbed this yet?!” I thought to myself as I try to contain the abundant excitement in me, because before my eyes is a vintage Burberry jacket in windbreaker material, neat condition and has zero flaws. It’s moments like these that make ukay-ukay an addicting experience. Whether it’s a designer piece or something that has intrinsic value to you, finding gems like this in a thrift store make your time definitely worth the while. However, thrifting is nothing like a walk in the park.
In between that beautiful Burberry jacket is a yellow-green vest made out of faux fur with sequins embellished on it, topped with a denim jacket with big, bold embroidered letters stitched on the back saying, “BEN’S ANNUAL BOWLING CHRISTMAS PARTY” as a cherry on top of a messy cake. In a thrift store, you will find everything from too flashy, too ridiculous, to too beautiful and too inexpensive. If I see you wearing a dress from Uniqlo that you bought for a thousand pesos, I would definitely recommend you to try thrifting because I have that exact same dress that only cost me 85 pesos. What I like the most about thrifting is that it makes me explore my own sense of fashion and style without having the need to compromise it by hurting my wallet.
In my experience in the thrifting scene, I have come up with tips that can help if you’re new to thrifting or a pro at it:
Bring the essentials:
Alcohol or hand sanitizer
People from all walks of life have worn these clothes so you have no idea what germs or whatnot these items have, so prep yourself by sanitizing your hands first before walking in the thrift store.
Some thrift stores are not air-conditioned, so I recommend to have a hair tie with you if you have long hair so the search won’t be a hassle.
Most thrift stores give you easily breakable plastic bags after you’ve purchased your items. Bringing a foldable eco-bag where you can place your purchased items is an essential. This way, delivering thrifted gems to your place will be easy-peasy.
Majority of the thrift stores I have been to play AM radio stations that are typically not my cup of tea. If you agree, have your earphones with you and listen to music that will inspire and motivate you even more to go shopping.
Our guide to a successful thrift:
Thrift stores in general are located in sketchy places so as much as possible, avoid layering, fancy clothing or jewellery. Instead, wear something that is easy to put it on and take off because trust me, you will be trying on a lot of clothes.
Come with an open mind
Having piles of clothes in numerous rows of clothing racks before you may seem overwhelming. Chill, this is totally normal. If you come in with a specific item in mind, you might miss out all the fun. Once you walk in a thrift store, you never know what items you will expect to see so come with an open mind and be ready to explore. You may start rummaging in the very back of the store and work your way out. Here’s a tip: start at the men’s t-shirt section because they always have the coolest graphic shirts.
Don’t be disgusted
Yes, these are old clothes worn by strangers you don’t know but you should also consider the various colors, brands, and styles thrift stores offer you at a low price. Besides, there are many different ways of disinfecting clothes that you can follow instructions online.
Keep an eye on your stuff
As mentioned earlier, thrift stores are a bit shady so while shopping, keep an eye on your things every now and then. Before leaving the dressing room, make sure you leave with your valuable things with you.
Don’t be shy, try it on
Make sure it fits. If it doesn’t, be creative and experiment! Maybe folding the sleeves, tying the hem together, or cutting the neckline will help. If you really want the item but it does not fit you, you can get it altered.
Make sure to check the details
So you found an item, okay great! Now check for flaws like missing buttons, defective zippers, and tears. If there are holes that are small enough to be sewn then why not do so? Also, check for stains whether they are washable or not.
Boring pants? Don’t be afraid to take it home and re-enhance it by distressing the cuffs! Shirt is too oversized? Cut down the hem and you got yourself a new crop top. Just give it a pinch of creativity and the possibilities are endless. Thrifting gives you a way for making clothes be more like you.
Every avid thrifter has their own methods and techniques of thrifting. Some shop by fabric, some shop by the color of their interest, and some shop by not expecting anything. As a new kid in thrifting, you can always have it your way, in any way you can as long you’re having a great time.