A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING + a list of places you can go - This Wild Home

I’ve always loved thrifting. From the vintage dresses I wore to my homeschool proms to the over sized sweaters that were already worn in from decades of use. Even the smell of the old clothes that’ve been sitting in the back of a closet for years brings a little flutter to my stomach because it’s the smell that say, “There’s a gem in here somewhere.”

WHY CHOOSE SECOND HAND?

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING - This Wild Home.
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING - This Wild Home.

Besides being an extremely rewarding pastime, thrifting is very budget friendly. With our debt, I try as much as possible to only buy the essentials, but every once in a while, I’ll want to buy something nice for myself. This is a way I can do something for myself, do something for the planet, and not completely break my budget.

As I’ve learned more about the world and life and where my values really lie, I’ve found the value in thrifting more than ever. I’ve struggled with the balance between quality goods vs budget items, my impact on the world and the people around me, and finding a way to be a more responsible consumer. That’s why my love for thrifting has surfaced now more than ever.

The more research I do on the world of sustainable and ethical fashion, the more I realize new is not always better. Even new from high quality, sustainable, and ethical brands; it’s not always the way to go.

No matter what, it’s still adding more stuff to a world that is already full of perfectly fine clothing, if you know how to find it.

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING - This Wild Home.

When you shop second hand, it’s simply recycling goods that are already in existence. It’s not giving anyone a reason to make more. You’re not promoting fast changing trends or poorly made clothing. You’re simply promoting the reuse of products that were made, used, and put back into the world to be used again.

It’s not always easy. The good stuff isn’t always on display or on it’s own special rack. Most of the time, it’s hiding away. Waiting patiently for someone to find it and appreciate it for all it’s worth.

When you take the time to look through the packed racks, there’s no telling what you may find.

HOW TO SHOP AT THRIFT STORES

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING - This Wild Home.
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING - This Wild Home.
  • KNOW WHERE TO GO | Beyond just the shop itself, knowing the areas in your town can affect the quality and style of the goods in the shop. Going to second hand shops in nicer areas, while maybe effecting the price by a few dollars, is usually a good way to find newer and high quality items. Definitely look for second hand shops in swanky areas to really strike gold.

  • DON’T FOCUS ON LABELS | This one gets me every time. I’ll be browsing the isles and see something that I know was once an expensive, quality item and I’ll think, “I have to get this.” Whether I need it or not, I’ll put it in the cart and never wear it. It’ll sit in my closet and eventually find it’s way back to the racks of a thrift store.

    Whether you’re avoiding clothes because it doesn’t have the right label or you’re buying clothes just for the label, you’re really limiting yourself. Unless you are a buying specific finds to resell in a store, the labels don’t matter. Whether you like the item or not should be the only thing you focus on. If you happen to like something with a nice label, that’s awesome! But it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

  • DON’T GET STUCK ON SIZES | There are so many reasons why. To start, older clothing sizes are different than modern sizes. Different brands have different size standards. Older clothes can get stretched out or shrink. Sometimes bigger sizes are just more cozy. Plus, the racks aren’t always organized very well so smaller sizes may make their way to larger size sections and vice-versa.

    I don’t like to limit myself to just one size section. It really makes your options slim and you may miss out on items you could really love. Look through all the sizes and if you’re not sure about something, try it on.

  • KEEP A FRUGAL MENTALITY | When everything is $5 or less, it’s easy to say, “eh, if I don’t like it I’ll just give it back.”

    Overtime, $5 really adds up and if you’re not a little stingy, you may wind up coming home with a pile of clothes that you really don’t need/like just because price wasn’t a big issue.

    If you’re not sure about something, try it on. If you don’t need it, don’t get it. If it’s not your style, leave it at the store.

    Thrift stores shouldn’t be treated as a free for all just because it’s a little less expensive. Sure, you may not necessarily be adding waste into the world when you bring it back, but why waste your money, even just $5 of it, on something you don’t love?

  • GO WITH A PLAN | Along with your frugal mentality, it’s important to have a plan. Going thrifting just for the sake of thrifting is better than shopping fast fashion just for the sake of shopping, but it’s still not going to do you any favors. Taking stuff home just because it’s cheap and doesn’t break the bank isn’t a great reason to take something home.

    Before thrifting, I like to know what I need. I like to have an idea of items and colors I’m looking for. It not only saves money, but it’ll saves time in the long run.

    If I know I need sweaters, then I can just look at the sweaters. If I need a few different types of items, I can at least know colors to avoid. Bright colors and really any shade of red are not for me, so I know I don’t need to look at anything in those colors.

    Knowing the gaps in your wardrobe that you’re trying to fill will be helpful in keeping you on track with what you need.

  • GIVE YOURSELF TIME | This is the golden rule of thrifting. It takes time. Sometimes a lot of it. When I go thrifting, I leave my kids at home with dad to avoid distractions and an impatient baby clock. I make sure I don’t have a ton to do. I go during nap time so I don’t feel like I have to rush back to help. I do whatever I need to do to avoid feeling rushed.

    The racks of thrift stores are full, and often a little all over the place. There’s stuff hiding behind other stuff, things aren’t always organized neatly, and you really just don’t know what is there unless you give yourself the time to sort through the racks.

WHERE TO SHOP

  • A lot of towns will have local second hand shops. Looking out for those will hit the mark of second hand, reused, shopping small, and shopping local. Definitely a good choice if you have the option!

  • Goodwill is one that I like. There are some questions surrounding their operations and wages, but from what I’ve found, they really make a point to hire people who would otherwise struggle to find jobs and while their hourly wages may be less sometimes, they get compensated in a lot of other ways with benefits that cater to their specific health and wellness needs.

  • Facebook marketplace, craigslist, and eBay are good options! You have to be a little more careful about who you’re trusting, but you can find some really good stuff for a discount.

  • Apps like poshmark and thredup are good online sources as well. I like stuff like this because you’re directly helping an individual and these two are a little more heavily vetted so you can trust you’ll get what you’re paying for.

SAVE FOR LATER

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING - This Wild Home.
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING + a list of places you can go - This Wild Home
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THRIFTING + A FREE PRINTABLE PLANNER- This Wild Home

ARE PLAID BLAZERS A THING?

So I was on Pinterest, as I tend to be, and I realized I was seeing a trend.

I’m usually terrible at trends. I never know they’re happening until they’re halfway out the door, but I’m on it this time(probably)! Plaid blazers look like they’re making a comeback and I’m into it.

In high school, one of my most prized possessions was a plaid blazer I found from Urban Outfitters. It was my favorite thing I owned and I’m happy to see that this look is coming back around.

What I like about blazers is they add a sophistication to what you’re wearing. What I like about plaid blazers, specifically, is that they are still relaxed. They have a nice low key feel to them so while you can dress up, you never have to worry about being overdressed (which is my least favorite thing).

PLAID BLAZER STYLE BOARD

SOURCE  1 ,  2 ,  3 ,  4 ,  5 ,  6

SOURCE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

It kind of seems like you can throw this bad boy on top of anything and look good. Whether it’s a mini skirt, a long dress, t-shirt and jeans, a sweater, you’re pretty much gonna be good to go.

I think what it really comes down to is, this is a piece you can have in your closet that will make anything you put on look a little more sophisticated. If you’re like me and you don’t want to think too much about what you’re wearing but you still want to look good, a plaid blazer is the perfect way to look like you know what you’re doing whether you do or not.

ARE PLAID BLAZERS A THING? - This Wild Home
ARE PLAID BLAZERS A THING? - This Wild Home

HOP ON THE BANDWAGON

So I’ve rounded up a few that I found that I think really embody the feel of this plaid blazer trend:

The Plaid Blazer-2.png
Exploring The Plaid Blazer Trend: Are they in + How to style them - This Wild Home
Exploring The Plaid Blazer Trend: Are they in + How to style them - This Wild Home
Exploring The Plaid Blazer Trend: Are they in + How to style them - This Wild Home

FALL 10x10 WRAP UP

I have officially completed my first full 10x10 challenge!

I started with a small wardrobe, so the idea of wearing the same thing all the time wasn’t a huge adjustment for me.

I think what I get from the 10x10 challenge is the fact that you share it with people. I don’t have much reason to leave the house too often so I get away with wearing simple, mostly boring outfits. I feel silly “dressing up” just to be at home all day, but for me, making a post about my outfit on Instagram feels the same as going out with friends (yeah yeah, it’s sad I know. Welcome to the introverted life).

So dressing as if I’m actually going to leave the house everyday helped me rediscover the passion I have for cleverly putting outfits together and helped me to be a little more bold.

I had some goals for this challenge, but what I really wanted was to get excited about my wardrobe and find the spark that I let go of a while ago. The spark that says even moms can dress well and feel good in what they wear. Even with the stretch marks and lose skin and inevitable food stains. Even though your family will probably be the only ones to see you that day, it’s okay to try and to have fun with what you’re wearing.

THE OUTFITS

FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home
FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home
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FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home
FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home
FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home
FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home
FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home
FALL 10x10 WRAP UP - This Wild Home

WHAT I LEARNED

This is why I think challenges like this are extremely clever and important.

First, there’s a whole community surrounding it and sub communities that have formed so you get a lot of inspiration, but you also get to see a lot of people who are just like you. Their everyday outfits, the simplicity of putting an outfit together, and the fact that instagrammable outfits are not the standard we all look for.

On a more personal level, it’s a good excursive for learning more about your wardrobe and style. You can take the core of your wardrobe and learn how to build upon it by actually experiencing it first hand.

TO LOVE WHAT I ALREADY HAVE

Between the clothes I wore and styled in different ways throughout the 10 days and the clothes that sat out this round, I felt a new appreciation for both.

I found different pairings and styles that make each piece feel like new. For the pieces I didn’t wear, I’m excited to add them to the mix and see how I can find creative ways to make them feel like new.

TO ACCESSORIZE

I already knew I had a problem with accessorizing. First of all, I don’t have many accessories, but I’ve been lazy with my outfit planning.

I don’t always feel like sifting through a bunch of things to make an outfit come together. On the flip side of that, I get bored easily.

I don’t think accessories have to be complex. In fact, I think having a your go-to’s with a couple wild cards thrown in is a perfect recipe for a well balanced wardrobe.

These last few days have taught me what kind of accessories to look for. I should most definitely treat myself to some jewelry and scarves.

THAT A GARMENT CAN BE MORE THAN WHAT IT SEEMS

I learned that a dress doesn’t have to be just a dress. You can wear it over and under things to change the piece all together. It becomes a skirt, then a shirt, then back to a dress.

The point being, the way you roll your sleeves or tie a knot or let things hang lose can change a piece completely.

I even had a day where I temporarily hemmed a dress with bobby pins to give it a more cutesy flow under a sweater.

Don’t stop yourself from trying anything at least once. You’ll either love it and wear it all the time, or you’ll hate it. But the worst that happens if you hate it is, you saw it and no one else did.

THINGS DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE INNOVATIVE

This may have been my biggest realization for moving forward with my wardrobe.

It’s okay if not every outfit is amazing. It’s okay to keep it simple. As you grow your wardrobe or tweak or upgrade it, keep fabric and quality in mind.

I think when it comes down to it, the care that went into the piece adds to it a whole lot more than a crazy design or flashy cut.

It’s fun to have crazy pairings here and there, but there’s no need to feel pressure to get that every day. Just wear what’s comfortable. Wear what feels right for the moment and you’ll be feeling good all day.