A good 90% of my wardrobe is thrifted. I don't like paying full price, and I refuse to. I call it the "thrift store effect", in which thrift stores have spoiled me with their low prices.
A few days ago, my friend asked me to help her shop for herself--because she hadn't done it in years--which I agreed to. As we shopped in the mall and at the thrift, she noticed that I had two totally different ways of shopping. Here are the tips I gave her:
Keep in mind a set of colors you like.
I like browns and blacks, so I gravitate towards those. If you don't like the color of the clothing in that section, chances are, you probably won't like the clothes either.
Know your body shape.
From then, you can choose what kind of tops and dresses will flatter you the best. Use this guide if you're unsure how to dress it, and this guide if you don't know what it is.
Start out slow.
Don't go into Goodwill thinking you're going to find Docs in your size for a dollar. It doesn't work that way. Go into a thrift store with a certain trend or certain piece in mind, and it makes it easier than roaming aimlessly. When you find the perfect price, price won't matter as much.
Don't buy something just because of its price.
Just because that blouse is $4 doesn't mean you should get it. Factor in it's life: are you going to wear it more than once? Is it going to last a washing? Does it require dry cleaning/hemming/tailoring?
Wash the clothes before wearing them.
Most stores do clean their clothes first but there are a select few that don't. Seeing as there isn't a mass list of who does and who doesn't, it's always a good thing to just pop your clothes in the washer and clean them. But, of course, read the tags beforehand.
Wear slim fitting and easy to remove clothes when thrifting.
A lot of thrift stores don't have a return policy, so once you buy it, you're stuck with it. You can combat this by trying clothes on. Therein lies the problem.
If your thrift store has a dressing room, you're in a good place. But, most stores don't.
A good way to try on clothes without having to undress is to wear slim fitting clothes so you can slip the clothes on without having to remove everything. Like wearing a camisole and a pair of shorts or leggings. You can try on tops and dresses with just a camisole on, and you can try on pants with a pair of cotton shorts/leggings on. It's more difficult to do this in winter, because of the obvious, but wearing easy to remove layers is a definite way to make sure you can try on clothes.
Research stores ahead of time.
I always tell people that if you're going to go thrifting for the first time, go to Plato's Closet. They only accept on trend and in season items, so you're going to find something you like.
But, sites like Yelp can definitely give you a feel for the stores in your area.
If you have any questions about thrifting, leave me one down below!