Thrifting For The Holidays

Written by: Beth Britton
Freelance fashion journalist and lifestyle writer. She searches for the best in vintage and bargain shopping for high fashion.

It seems that stores everywhere are throwing up 'Sale' signs these days. Word is, the Recession is over, but many people are still struggling with making it work. Especially with the holidays coming, here are a few tips to help you shop when you are out rummaging the sales racks.

  • Map out the stores and sales via paper or sales websites before you leave home. Saves you time and energy. That is unless you’re like me and enjoy shopping till you drop.
  • Bring your calculator just to help you quickly do the math. When you’re surrounded by 10, 15, and 25% off signs you can quickly lose focus of how much you’re saving, or not saving.
  • Check the condition of the clothing. Sometimes clothes that have been damaged are tossed in the clearance racks, and they aren’t always labeled "as is".
  • Is it Seasonal? Is it a piece that you can work into your current wardrobe either by layering or with a jacket? If not, do you have the space to store it until next year?
  • Buy in bulk. Take advantage of bundle sales. You never know when that favorite shirt may get a stain, or you may have that friend that’s terrible about returning clothes you loaned her.

Vintage clothes, thrift malls, yard sales

  • Bring Cash. This isn’t Saks 5th, they likely won't have a card machine.
  • Don't be afraid to haggle. Stay away from "How much is this?" or "Is this your best price?" Instead try:" What is the value of this piece." "What's the lowest your willing to go?" Especially when shopping Vintage, keep in mind these dealers go out and search and dig for these clothes themselves, price them, clean them, and store them. Not to mention, these pieces are most of the time hard to find and one of a kind. So be considerate when asking about its price.
  • Check the condition
  • Look for the Unique. Thrift stores and the like are places where you can take chances. Use this area to add a little fun to your wardrobe ·
  • Know your measurements. Vintage clothes are often labeled in measurements and not the sizes we know now. A lot of times you will find that vintage clothes run small and are narrow fits. (I've yet to find a vintage hat to fit my head.)
  • Can it be repaired, or tailored? Think outside the box. Maybe you like your hem line a little shorter or the waist taken in a little bit? For a small fee at your nearby seamstress (or do it yourself for free) you can make a piece fitted just for you!
  • Bundle. This is for the seasoned thrift store shopper but with a little practice you can make it work for you. Take a few pieces, calculate the total, and then ask about 10% off that to the seller. If nothing is priced, you have to know about what each thing would sell for on the market then make an offer. If you’re confident in your pricing then, after the seller quotes you their price go a little lower and see if they will meet you there. If not, try somewhere in the middle. Keep it friendly though. You don’t want to insult the seller.

Above all, keep in mind 'Is this a piece that will enhance my wardrobe?' and 'Can it be worn with more than one thing?' Nothing is worth spending your hard earned money on if its only going to hang in your closet and never gets worn.

Besides, when you do that it keeps the rest of us that will wear it the pleasure of enjoying it.