lucky bandit: thrifting tips
Showing posts with label thrifting tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thrifting tips. Show all posts

Sunday, April 23, 2017

thrifting tips

lucky bandit blog katelyn carter space koi

I'm a big fan of thrifting. Not only for the savings but for the opportunity to find some great quality items that are sometimes unique. If you've ever wanted to start thrifting or just get a bit more efficient at it, here are some tips that I utilize whenever I go.

Keep a running list and know what you like.

I typically keep a mental list of things I'd like to look for at the thrift shop. I've been hunting for a denim jacket for forever, but I've yet to find one I like, so that stays on the list. It's a lot easier to go in with a plan than to wander around looking at every piece in the store (unless that's what you want to do). I know that I tend to go for oddball patterns, stripes, and sweaters, so I visually scan and find most things that way. I do have days where I just go through the racks, but on quicker visits I've gotten it down to an art.

Learn your fabrics.

If you're looking for clothing, learn to identify fabrics just by sight. When I was sourcing for vintage a lot, I'd learned what polyester and linen looked like just by walking by and seeing them. Granted, there are exceptions as rayon can look really similar to cotton, but with a general knowledge of knits and such, you can easily find things you're looking for.

Have a buddy.

I'm fortunate that my two best friends are thrifters, too! Jess and I meet up for thrifting trips and always find some amazing stuff. It really helps to have someone with you for when you pick up that odd piece and want an opinion on it, or you need someone to talk you out of an absurd wall hanging.

Don't always go by the tag size.

Clothing sizes vary wildly and so do folks' laundry habits, so don't always go by what the tag says. Don't be afraid to try things on or hold them up to your body. Look through all of the size racks and remember, especially if you're looking for vintage, that a size 14 could really mean a modern size 4.

Follow thrift store etiquette.

Don't take things from others' carts, replace items where you got them or on the fitting room return rack, don't bombard the workers that bring new carts of merchandise out, don't eat in the store and then touch merchandise with your greasy hands, and be polite.

If you have any more tips, leave them in the comments! :)

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Monday, August 10, 2015

latest thrift haul - back to school on a budget

I start the fall semester in a little over a week, and right now my budget for new clothing for school is almost nonexistent. Therefore, I hit the thrift store one day while I was in town and managed to grab some pretty nice pieces. If you're not a thrifter, I've included affiliate (and non) links to similar items if you're interested! Take a look!

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

Here's the entire load of clothing I found - just from taking a look at colors and fabrics that caught my eye. 

Oversized Vintage Oatmeal Cardigan - similar: 1, 2, 3

Brown Old Navy Long Sleeved Cardigan - 1, 2, 3

Blue Plaid Vintage Turtleneck - 1, 2, 3

Plum Plaid G.H. Bass Button Up - 1, 2, 3

Coral Lace Front American Eagle Racerback Tank - same brand, or 1, 2, 3

Grey Mossimo Tank Top with Detailing - same brand or 1, 2, 3

Yellow and Pink Vintage Lily Printed Scarf - 1, 2, 3

Boston Proper Multi Colored Houndstooth Mini Skirt - I didn't include that multi-colored houndstooth skirt in the breakdown, however, as I listed it on eBay. It's from Boston Proper and is in excellent condition! It was just a tad too big for me. (similar herehere, & here)

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

I am really too in love with the colors of this button up. I love it, and it's just long enough to wear with leggings and a chunky knit scarf! The two tank tops are for wearing under cardigans - I don't have a lot of nicer tank tops (only plain camis), so I'm excited to pair these with oversized sweaters!

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

You can never have too many lightweight cardigans. They're so useful - I've been trying to build my collection without spending a fortune, so this little brown one from Old Navy was a steal. This little plaid turtleneck caught my eye immediately - I think it'll work nicely with a chunky belted cardigan and boots.

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

This is a nice square vintage scarf. Not so much for the upcoming fall months, but I like the print.

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

This sweater!! It's SO chunky and perfectly oversized. I tried it on and since it's 100% wool (I know, not vegan - I will buy leather and wool secondhand, but I won't fund new items being produced), it felt so warm. I cannot WAIT for the temperature to drop so I can wear it.

Have you been thrifting lately? Show me your finds!!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

thrifting vintage fashion tips

The "thrill of the hunt" is real! Do you thrift? Thrifting can have many rewards, both in the way of great deals and retail therapy. Heather from Spunky Real Deals, Ashley of Frugal Coupon Living and I teamed up to bring you some thrifted vintage posts this week!

If you're looking to start thrifting, here are some tips to get you started!

thrifting tips vintage fashion katelyn carter lucky bandit

You don't have to go to a vintage store or online to find great vintage pieces to add to your wardrobe. With a little time and patience, you can easily build your collection of vintage clothing and accessories at your local thrift store!

Here are some things I've learned:

Scope out local stores.

Chances are, you're probably surrounded by a lot of thrift stores, secondhand shops, or donation based stores. (If you're like me and not directly in the city, there are probably some within an easy driving distance.) The best times for clothing is around the change of seasons - people are cleaning out their closets. For vintage clothing, stores near elderly communities are usually more lucrative, as the clothing has normally been worn and just been replaced with newer styles.

Do a little research.

With a little studying, you'll be a vintage finding pro. Once you have a grasp of what to look for, it will be easier than ever to find items. Definitely check out The Little Guide to Vintage Shopping, it helped me a lot! Here are some basic tips I've picked up:


Get to know fabrics, structure, and colors.

Polyester was very popular for clothing of the vintage nature. Normally, this fabric can be picked out by eyeballing it. Thick knits, plasticky polyester, beaded and sequined pieces, and thin cotton fabrics can be picked out easily once you have the hang of it.

Older clothes weren't all made for "hanger look", meaning they were meant to look good worn, not on a hanger. The structuring is different. This one takes a bit of time to get the hang of, so really study photos and vintage pieces you may already have. Silver steel zippers are another thing - most newer items have plastic or colored zippers.

Colors can give away a piece as well, but since retro clothing has made a comeback, that's not always the giveaway it was. Once you've defined an era of which you're looking for clothing, you can usually get an idea of the colors that were popular then. I tend to float toward 70s styles, which have a lot of muted greens and purples, and rich oranges and reds.

Accessories are fairly easy to spot. Most of us know the styles of older bags, and I don't have many tips for those - I'll honestly say that I don't shop for vintage bags often, and I Google these mainly.


Check tags - and know their meaning.

Union tags are a fantastic giveaway for vintage clothing. You can find a list of union tags here for research on the different tags and how to identify the era the garment is from.

Designs on tags are often a big clue for vintage items - those kitschy, glittery, or retro looking one usually mean jackpot! A lot of times the tag in vintage items isn't at the back of the neck - be sure to check along the inner side seams!

Just like with any hobby, it takes time to learn something. Vintage fashion is no different, but can be easily learned!

Google is your friend.

If I'm in doubt of whether a piece is vintage, I instantly turn to Google. An item doesn't have to be vintage for me to buy it, but sometimes all I really want is to pick up older stuff.

Brand names can be gold. Normally, a quick search can tell you about the company in question and you can make a quick decision. If you're holding an item where the company is still around, it may take some quick sleuthing and clever keywords. Instead of 'brandx scarf' try 'brandx vintage scarf patterns' to quickly find older styles.

Location can give you a clue as well. I found a few Hawaiian shirts that were made in Hawaii - a quick search revealed they were true vintage, and in excellent condition.

Keep a list and have a goal.

Trying to find cigarette pants but keep forgetting when you get to the thrift store? Or a red scarf for the upcoming holidays but get distracted by the coats? Keep a list - just one in your phone will do.

I am guilty of this. I get so caught up in the search that I forget what I'm actually looking for. If I go in with a goal - say, a blue pencil skirt - I'll look for that first. If I don't find any (or do!), then I can resume my normal perusing.

A lot of thrift store tip guides will say to quickly scan the whole store for gems before really looking at racks. If that's how you want to do it, go for it! I personally take the 'fate' route. I'm a very habitual person. I start at one part of the store and make my way around. If I find something, great! I'm meant to have it. If someone snatches up something before I get there, I wasn't.

You don't have to wear everything.

There are so, so many uses for vintage clothing and accessories! Don't limit yourself to just wearing them. If you find a fantastically printed secretary dress that has a irreparable hole or stain but is in otherwise good condition, scoop it up! You can upcycle the fabric into a wall hanging (throw it in an embroidery hoop or staple it over a canvas!) or sewing project. That skirt's too big? Refashion it! If you find a skirt for $4 but it's a few sizes too big, you'll still have less in the garment with tailoring than if you bought one new, and most likely a one of a kind piece.

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Finding vintage items can take some time to perfect, but it's a rewarding and interesting experience. You're finding history! With every piece you'll fall more in love with the eras from which the clothing came. Have fun with it!

Be sure to check out Heather's thrifting vintage fashion post (what a great dress!) at Spunky Real Deals, along with Ashley's vintage inspired post (love those pumps!) over at Frugal Coupon Living!
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