Thrift Store Shopping

This thrift store shopping segment aired on Great Day Houston on August 17, 2011. The thrift store story starts about 7 minutes into the video.

Happy National Thrift Store Day! Thrift Store shopping has always made your dollars go further…now people are shopping at second-hand stores because it’s green too. When you buy something used, you give it a new life, keep the item out of a landfill, and conserve resources because fewer new goods are needed. Here are some tips for shopping at thrift stores:

1. Know the difference between thrift stores, resale shops, vintage stores, and pawn shops.

· Thrift Stores – Usually inexpensive gently used or new merchandise. Most are run by charities and some are operated for profit. (The Guild Shop, Goodwill Boutique, Salvation Army, Family Thrift Center)

· Resale Shops – Sell gently-used or new items. Items in these stores are less expensive than when purchased in a traditional retail store, but they are not always cheap. (More Than You Can Imagine, Marry Go Round, Buffalo Exchange)

· Vintage Store – Items were made at least 25 years ago – generally from the 1920s to 1980s. Items may not be inexpensive.

· Pawn Shops – Items were sold by owner. Can be a great place for jewelry and high-end handbags.

2. Bring a shopping list – You never know what you’re going to find and it’s easy to get distracted by all the different merchandise. A list will keep you focused on looking for what you need.

3. Buy what you love – it’s easy to be seduced into buying something because it is inexpensive. It’s only a deal if you love it and will wear it often.

4. Go often – The merchandise changes daily, if you don’t fine what you want, so back every couple days or weekly and try again.

5. Try everything on – the label on the item may not reflect the real size. The garment Size may have shrunk, stretched, been tailored or mislabeled, or the brand can run small/large.

6. Wear a skirt or work out clothes – There might not be a dressing room to try on clothes, so wear a skirt so you can slip pants on underneath to check the fit, or try on the clothes over the clothes you are wearing.

7. It’s okay to buy items with a little damage – a tailor can fix tears in seams, missing buttons, or slight fit problems. A jeweler can fix missing clasps, broken chains, and some missing rhinestones. If it’s major damage it might not be fixable or worth the cost.

8. Don’t buy it if it smells – if it smells in the store, chances are dry cleaning or laundering won’t get it out.

9. Check the markdown and sale schedule, the item you want may be even cheaper.

10. Bring something to sell or donate – some thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange buy used items, so bring a few items you don’t need/like to sell and make a little shopping money. If it’s a charity thrift store, donate the items for a tax deduction.

11. Know the return policy – Most thrift store sales are final. Check the return policy so you know if returnable items can be returned for the same value.

Thank you to the Guild SHop for providing all the display items for the segment. Here are some outfits we found there…each is right on trend this season.

Outfit 1 – wear it to dinner or put a jacket over it to make it perfect for work

· Black Xhilaration tank $4.50

· Multi-color Andrea Jovi skirt $6.00

· Black coral necklace $75.00

Outfit 2 – perfect for a day wedding, shower or brunch with the girls.

· Marona strapless denim dress $12.00

· Moth yellow sweater $12.00 (part of a 2-piece dress set)

· Amber and peridot necklace $450.00

Outfit 3 – Date night or fundraising gala

· David Meister black cocktail dress $12.00

· Clear quartz necklace $117

· Pearl and crystal necklace $99.00

Here are more examples of items you can get at a thrift store. This selection of items is from The Guild Shop.


· Mariquita Masterson pink poured glass choker $357

· Judith Jack marquisite New York pin $75

· Iridescent glass necklace $45

· Silver glass necklace $18

· Metal circle necklace with glass drops and earrings (not shown) $30

· Rhinestone and pearl bracelet $99

· Red and black necklace and earrings (not shown) $48

· Red square plastic bangle $6

· Raffia & Bossa black and clear Lucite bangle $99

· Raffia & Bossa white and clear Lucite bangle $99

· Raffia & Bossa tan and clear Lucite bangle $99

· Lucite clear wrap bangle $45

· Sobral multicolored bangle $45

· Sobral polkadot bangle $48

· Orange Lucite stretch bracelet $18

· Yellow carved plastic bangle $18

· Lucite silver ring $24

· Amethyst and sterling silver ring $45

· Barse turquoise and sterling silver ring $120

· Topaz and copper ring $132

· Sterling silver swirly ring $45

· Dr. Pepper sun shades (turquoise purple black and white) $36

· Golden quartz and pearl 4-strand choker $198

· Freshwater pearl long necklace $75

· Mindy Lam amber crystal flower pin $99

· Nina Ricci sunglasses $99

· Pearl, peridot and sterling silver bracelet $240

· Teal pearl 3-strand choker $177

· Big turquoise choker $198

Shoes & Handbags

· Tooled leather purse with horn handle $99

· Brown suede Prada flats (sz 8) $57

· Prada mules $144

· Yellow Enzo purse $12

· Jessica Simpson cream patent leather platform shoes $4.50

· Kenzie black kitten heels $12

· Beaded bag $21

· Black stamped leather clutch $12

· Ferragamo red patent leather hand bag $180

· Jimmy Choo red patent leather sandals $144

What’s Sarah Wearing?

Magenta ruffle-sleeve t-shirt (Elle Must Have T style EL11064, color 500 Byzantium, Kohls $26 on sale for $12), long necklaces (Harwin St., $3 each), Black Magic pants (Gap, $50), Cole Haan platform pumps (Macy’s, $250)

I had planned to wear this fantastic top I found at The Guild Shop ($4.50!), but the fabric was so thin, I wondered if my bra would show through on camera. I decided not to chance it!

If you liked this post, you might also like Retail Is The New Retail and A Tailor Can Revive Your Closet

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