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How to Be a Savvy Thrifter- Step Two

Divide and Conquer

I was just thrifting this last weekend.  And I’ll give you my strategic plan.  I was on the lookout for spring basics, something we’re all wishing for right about now.  I was looking for specific colors- mint and peach are big colors for spring.  I was also looking for some ankle jeans, Capri’s and great boyfriend, broken-in, read-for-sand-and-firepit jeans.  Lastly, I wanted to look through the jackets and blazers because you just never know….

By Photo by Neesa Rajbhandari The S.W.A.P. Team [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

First stop, blazers.  And for the second stop, jackets.  These racks you can file through very quickly.  Both of these are easy to try on right at the rack, eliminating the need to fill your shopping cart with things that don’t even fit.  If it is handy, you can even see how you like how they look on your body by making use of a mirror in the store that isn’t in the dressing room. Second stop, the jeans rack.  All of the items I listed on the pants search list would fall into the jeans category.  And find jeans really can be overwhelming, even for this veteran.  But you have to know a few secrets.  One, if it looks too small on the hanger, most likely it isn’t worth taking it to the dressing room.  Hold it up to your body.  Here is a trick I remember reading- if you take pants and button the button and wrap the waist of the pants around your neck (like a scarf), if the ends touch, then they’ll fit your waist. Essentially, your neck is half the size of your waist.  Saves some time while you’re in the trenches to eliminate “waist.” (Sorry, bad pun.) Two, labels don’t lie.  If you know you will never, ever love the way you look in Lee jeans, then don’t pick them up.  End of story.  Secondly, each size is different.  While Old Navy tends to run small (I don’t even want to tell you the size I fit into there), somewhere like Banana Republic tends to run pretty generous.  They call it vanity sizing.  I call it, thank you for making my day.  So know your sizes in the labels you like.  And don’t forget that in general, if you pick up something made by Ann Taylor you’ll probably feel a difference between that and No Boundaries.  Not always, but most of the time. My final stop was the blouses.  This is where time stops in the thrift store.  Jeans have a common theme, but shirts, they can be so different.  And when there are miles to sort through and maybe they haven’t even been sized.  Whew.  You can really get bogged down.  The key here is color.  Know what color of blouse you are in need of- it’ll make going up and down those aisles so much faster.  And if you happen to see something wonderful on the way, that is the treasure in this hunt. If I don’t get through a thrift store with a pile to try on, something just isn’t right.  So tomorrow’s tips, the dressing room.

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