One of my biggest traditions with my mother is to go thrift shopping. This included anywhere from Goodwill to Burlington, TJMaxx and the ever famous Stein Mart. Ever since I was young, I had adults asking me, “hunny, where did you get your outfit?” and I would respond with one of the previously mentioned stores above, and it would always follow with an Astounded look.
One good thing for me is that I never grew out of that habit of finding a good thrift! Here are 4 things to note while thrift shopping that no one ever mentions and can repay you and your wardrobe back in the end with long term investment pieces:
Texture/ Fabric: Try to pick fabrics that have a better longevity of life. After all, a garment’s soul is created from its fabric choice. A huge teller of weather an item can stand the test of time is the fabric. Most times wool or tweed fabrics can outlast even the most severe ice ages and decades of usage. You can tell right away because of how rugged the two are that they were made to last. One down side to the thickness of these fabrics is the fact that it can also harbor an array of smells that are tough to get rid of. Be Aware! For lighter fabrics, look for textiles that originated from filament fibers. Filament fibers meaning, longer, silkier fibers. The length of the fibers give the fabric its strength to be able to with stand ware and tear and come out on top of the rest!
Hardware: A good teller of an ancient statement piece is the hardware on a jacket, blazer or even accessories. If the buttons that finish off a blazer, still can catch your eye in a Goodwill store 20 years past its time … chances are they can still make a statement today. Sometimes I find myself buying thrifts just because of the findings on a jacket. If the blazer costs $3.00, most times the value resonates with the detailed buttons or cross-pin that is hard to come by these days. Take the buttons off and repurpose them if you can! Hardware brings the heavy hitter statements everyone will ask about.
Seams: Even garments made from some of the best fabrics in the world cannot withstand wear and tear if they don’t have the proper seams. Coming from someone who was a tailor for four years, I have seen some of the most beautiful gowns and silks unravel apart because they didn’t have the right surging to hold the edges together! It incredibly disheartening. Make sure to check the thread is not rotting or deteriorating before you buy. If it is, be willing to invest in a little fix me up and bring it to a tailor, or maybe even learn how to use a needle and thread for a project or two. It will pay dividends in the end for your thrifting!
Tailoring: For me, the KEY to the best thrift of all, is having the ability to Tailor your garments. I once was offered an interview with a company that was to be set on a Thursday. I have always had such a hard time finding business clothes to fit my petite arms. On my Tuesday shopping venture to the thrift store I happened to stumble upon almost new business and professional ware I would have otherwise, never found. I bought a few shirts for $2 a piece and immediately went home and tailored them to fit. I was in shock with how much better they looked than any shirt I had just purchased from Macy’s and Target. I received so many compliments on my professional look that I began tailoring all of my thrift finds to fit like a glove. Thrifting isn’t just for the vintage, its for everything! And with tailoring, people will begin to assume you spent hundreds on your wardrobe. Its an amazing thing really.