Published on september 22, 2017

Thrift School, Part 2: Why You Should Let Go of Those Secondhand Stigmas

written by Team thredUP

Welcome to part two of our Thrift School series! It’s been a blast chatting with so many bloggers who are as passionate about secondhand clothes as we are. Find out what the experts have to say about guilt-free shopping, letting go of thrift myths, and how to plan for  a trip to the thrift store.  All that and more…this way! 

LA Fashion Snob, Heather Petrey

Photo: @LAFashionsnob

Thrifting is one of my favorite pastimes. Today, I’m sharing a few tips that I’ve learned throughout a few years of thrifting.

Go early. I’ve found that the earlier you go (like when they first open), the more opportunity to find those gems, as the stores haven’t been picked over yet.

Look often. In most cases, thrift stores (like thredUP!) get new inventory daily. I try to hit up my fave stores and sites as often as I can.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. 9 times out of 10, you’ll probably want to try things on. It’s nice to wear clothes that move, but also are easy to get in and out of.

Be prepared to hunt! In order to find hidden gems, sometimes you have to work for it.

Be creative and have fun! Most of the time, I just thrift for the heck of it. I’m usually hoping to find something unusual to add to my wardrobe, or something to DIY.

Heather Petrey’s blog is full of colorful stories, travel journeys, and statement outfits. We love her daring use of color and print-mixing. Head on over and get inspired, stat.


One Broke Blonde, Dana Fiori

Photo: @danafiori

Purchasing items full price from my favorite retail stores would set me back a few hundred dollars, and since your girl is One Broke Blonde, I can’t afford to do that.

Search for brands that you love but are normally out of your price range. For me, that would be brands like Free People, Anthropologie, PAIGE, and TopShop. When you find a piece from a high-priced brand for more than half off you’ll be less likely to splurge for the full priced items.

-When it comes to thrifting, buy what you love when you see it!! Thrift shopping is like treasure hunting, once you find a gem snatch it up before someone else does! Generally, there’s only one of that item; unlike retail stores where there are racks and racks of various sizes and colors. So, if you find something you love, don’t contemplate. Just get it!

Things you might see and read about on Dana Fiori’s blog: her fall wardrobe wish list, a beauty roundup, her favorite stores for online shopping (thredUP is one of them!), and SO many cute outfit ideas.


Little House Living, Merissa Alink

Photo: @littlehouseliving

I’ve always believed that there are many things you can do to make the best of every situation and learning how to be a savvy shopper was only one way to be thrifty.

Look for quality fabrics that you may not otherwise be able to afford. Clothing made with natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk, and wool, may typically be too high to fit into your budget. However, when shopping for secondhand clothing you might find that higher quality made garments are well within your budget!

Try and find pieces that can go with anything. When you are shopping secondhand, look for great basics that can enhance your wardrobe in many different ways. A beautiful solid cardigan can be paired with dresses, skirts, jeans, and many other wardrobe pieces. This way you will get the most use out of the piece as possible.

Plan ahead! Most places that sell secondhand clothing have some kind of clearance or sale section and they are often full of articles of clothing from the previous season. Be sure and shop this section even if it’s full of summer clothing and you are heading into winter. Before you know it, it will be summer again and you will be glad that you picked up those bargains when you had a chance.

Merissa Alink’s goal with her blog is to show people that it’s possible to be thrifty in every area of your life and still be able to live a full happy life. She offers frugal living tips, DIY tutorials, from-scratch recipes, and so much more.


The Spirited Thrifter, Nicole Ebbesen Rowan

Photo: @thespiritedthrifter

Many people still think you only find worn-out, out-of-style items secondhand and this is categorically FALSE!

-Shop one section at a time. Large thrift stores or online sites have a huge amount of stock and even little thrift shops can be overwhelming if you try to see everything in one visit.  It’s not like regular retail stores where there are a handful of styles in a full range of sizes; you have to look at all the pieces to find the treasures!  To avoid thrifter burn-out, or if you have a limited time, stick to one section!

-Select first, edit later. As you scan the racks, put anything that catches your eye in your cart (virtual or real!). Don’t think you’ll come back to it, because you probably won’t, and even if you do, the pieces may be long gone and most thrifted pieces are one-of-a-kind. Try on your selections if possible and then edit your cart!

-Let go of thrift myths. You can thrift pretty much anything (clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares, bathing suits, toys, furniture) in every style and size, in great condition if not new with tags! Who knows why people donate brand new items to the thrift store but whatever the reason, THANK YOU for giving someone else the chance to love them!

-One last bonus tip: be prepared for thrifting to change how you shop! Great pieces, great prices, the chance to explore your style or try a trend all without breaking the bank. Once you experience some thrifting success, you’ll be hooked!

Life-long thrifter and Texas-based blogger Nicole Ebbesen Rowan shares her love of thrifting and everyday adventures with her passionate readers. She’s also a mom of three and a pediatric occupational therapist who prefers wine when thrifting online. Yeah, us too. (Just the wine part.)


Laura Graham Beauty, Laura Graham

Photo: @lauragrahambeauty

When I thrift I pay attention to three things: quality, brand, and style. Before I go thrifting I look through outfits in magazines or online that I like and try to copy them.

Have an idea in mind beforehand because thrifting can be overwhelming.

Keep an open mind. Jeans can be transformed into jean shorts, dresses into tops, etc. Get creative!

Get trendy with it—thrifting is perfect when you’re looking for trendy items because you won’t have to spend a lot of money on it if it goes out of style!

A Virgo who is obsessed with boho and ‘70s-influenced fashion, Laura recently launched a new column on her blog called Save vs. Splurge. She says one of her main goals is always about getting the look for less. Hello, thredUP!


The Coffee Mom, Jessi Joachim

Photo: @the_coffee_mom

-When it comes to thrifting, the most important thing to remember is to be patient. You may have to look around and hunt to find that perfect item, but it is usually worth it!

-Just because something is from a thrift shop, doesn’t mean it is a good deal. If you don’t need it then don’t buy it! I know so many people who get caught up in buying things they don’t need just because it is a good deal, but if you don’t need the item, then you are just wasting money.

We love Jessi’s tagline: Hippie Heart with a Gypsy Soul. We’re having lots of boho dreams over here. She created The Coffee Mom to help other mothers who might find themselves struggling with parenthood. Find family-friendly recipes, frugal living tips, and fashion inspo.


Katie Like Me, Katie Lee

Photo: @katielikeme

The great majority of my closet is secondhand, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like to thrift in local independent thrift stores and online and for me this is the best combination! Supporting local thrift stores helps the community and gives back to it, and shopping online is convenient (hello, shopping in an oversized tee, cross-legged on the couch).

-When scoring a deal, look at things that grab your attention. If you like jewel tones and all you’re looking at is neutrals, you’re going to want to refocus your attention. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of needing something, even if it isn’t your style because it’s cheap. Don’t force yourself to buy something if you don’t see yourself wearing it.

-Don’t buy something just because of the price. I’m a sucker for a good deal and I’m the first person to admit it. I know how easy it is to see an item that is severely discounted, and regardless of what it is, you feel like you need it. But, just because something is cheap doesn’t mean you need it!

-Shop with a plan. Think of styles you need, outfits you want to create, and ways to fit the thrifted item into your lifestyle.

Katie describes herself as a skirt devotee, hat connoisseur, and lipstick aficionado, with a love for science fiction and bargain shopping. Her blog is a collection of all her favorite things: fashion, writing, and oversharing.


This is our second post in a three-part series on how to thrift like a pro. Tell us YOUR favorite thrifting tips in the comments below and we’ll include them in a future post!