I have come to really love thrift shopping at my local Goodwill's here in central Indiana. You can find some real treasures from most of your favorite brands and designers, if you dig deep, know your labels, and have a battle plan.
Create a battle plan
Before you go to any thrift store, come up with a battle plan of what you want to look for while you are out shopping. Do you need a dress for an upcoming wedding/graduation? Perhaps you need new skinny jeans and some tops. Create a list, either a hard copy or mental and try to keep to this while shopping.
Don't get discourage if you find nothing
You won't always find something good every time you go to the thrift store, so don't be discouraged if you find nothing after three, five, or even ten visits. Just keep trying, and don't give up. Who knows? You might just hit the jackpot the next time you visit.
Explore all of the departments & Sizes
Sizing is always changing. One year for J.Crew you might be a size 4 skirt, but a design of a newer year you perhaps might be a size 2. So if a size looks bigger or smaller than normal, you might just want to try it on, it won't hurt to see if it fits ya. Also, look through the mens section too. Sometimes you will find woman's styles mixed in, or even some of the juniors mens sizes might fit too.
Become Familiar with your favorite lables & Stores
I have found that familiarizing myself with the actual designers that stores carry, like: Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Madewell, etc... will help you locate the good stuff. Also, google the names on the labels will sometimes help you with finding out where your find was originally from.
Oh, yeah. I typically only buy brand name stuff at Goodwill. I will only purchase something that was originally from: Forever 21, H&M, Walmart, Target, etc... if it is a trendy piece and I want to test it out, or I NEED it for a new job and I can't find something better. Otherwise I typically only purchase stuff from: Old Navy, Nordstrom, Free People, J. Crew, Madewell, J. Brand, Express, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, LOFT, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, etc... Another tip, typically things that look of good quality are generally from a nicer brand.
I do most of my elimination in the fitting rooms. I have a list of things that goes on in my head as I try on things:
- Does it fit me well?
- Is it too snug?
- It this too oversized?
- Would I really wear it?
- Is the color/shape/design flattering on me?
- Do I see it working with what is in my wardrobe already?
- Do I have a need for it?
- Can I think of multiple occasions to wear it?
- Does it bring me joy?
- Do I feel comfortable in it?
- Are there any stains/rips that I missed earlier?
- Is the price right?
- Will I have buyers remorse if I don't purchase this item?
Once I have tried everything on, I go through everything once more and decided what I will purchase and what will go back on the rack.