Because it can totally be overwhelming.
Walking into a thrift store is enough to send anyone over the edge. There is just so. much. stuff. That's why I go hydrated, caffeinated, and just plain fed before I beeline to four sections within the women's department of the store ( I love to check out housewares as well... but that's for another post!).
Keeping to only four sections helps the thrift store sensory overload feel way more manageable. Try zoning in on these clothing categories below, and I'll let you know what I look for.
For some reason, dresses seem to be the easiest to spot for me. What's great about thrift store dresses is that vintage styles usually have longer lengths (knee - midi) with sleeves, which I prefer. I look for neutral colors ( cream, black, gray, etc) because it tends to look nicer and more modern than let's say, a dated teal. The feel of the fabric is key too. I finger through the hangers quickly feeling each dress. A sturdier fabric holds it shape and looks much better than worn-out jersey.
I also love that the 90s are back, so button-down floral maxis your mom might have worn can totally work today! Pair it with a belt, booties, and jacket and you're good to go. I can't wait to dig around for these in the spring.
Ok. I said dresses are quick to spot, but I actually think skirts might be the easiest to find. Thrift stores are chalk full of knee-length or midi skirts in loads of fun patterns. Don't be afraid of something that looks like an "old lady" skirt. Try it on. Picture it with a sleek black turtleneck, silk tank, or simple chambray shirt, and all of a sudden it looks awesome. I forever love the dark floral piece I found above.
I tend to look for classic pencil and midi skirts as well as A-line skirts with a good twirl. Again, first aim for neutral colors because they are easy to mix into your wardrobe. But, if you happen upon a stellar bright pop of color or pattern that you can't live without, snag it;)
Oh, how many fabulous wool coats have I found over the years! It takes a bit of digging, but as you scour through the rack look for quality wool that keeps it's shape. Also keep an eye out for defects...especially vintage coats - they can sometimes have tiny spots of moth damage. (I've probably grossed out some of you who are on the fence about thrifting, way to get this far). Don't worry, every coat I've sold on Ever Thrift is primo:)
[Photo coming at some point, folks]
Once and a while I score pretty sweet shoes that have barely been worn or a vintage pair that have a lot of character. Again, I stick to classic shapes, color and style here. I'm always on the lookout for black or brown booties, black or nude pumps, simple flats, genuine huaraches etc. It takes about 5 minutes to sweep my eye over a pile of shoes to pick those items out. Narrowing down what I'm looking for helps see through the masses.
And, if you still feel like thrift shopping is misery - I'll be on the lookout for cute stuff over at Ever Thrift for you.