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Thrift Clothing: Everything to Know About Second-Hand Fashion

In my piece on how to look good on a budget, I talked about a friend who had a remarkable sense of style. And when I asked to know the boutique she shopped from, I was surprised to learn most of her outfits were thrift clothing.

Some people say they need lots of money to do fashion. According to them, you have to buy clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, and even nice perfumes. But it doesn’t work that way. You only need a good sense of style and enough money to get by. 

It’s not until you wear the latest designers before anyone regards you as stylish. In fact, many people don luxury designer apparel but have a terrible dress sense.

Instead of thinking you have to spend on new, expensive clothes before you look good, invest in thrift clothing for the meantime and work on your style. And when you’ve climbed higher on the ladder of wealth, go ahead and shop from any premium or luxury fashion brand on your list.

If this sounds like a plan, let’s talk more about thrift fashion.

What is Thrift Clothing?

thrift clothes

Any used clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, and other fashion items you buy are thrift clothing. They are second-hand fashion items you buy at a discounted price without having to inconvenience your bank account. You can call them second-hand clothing.

These items are always in good shape although some of them may have a little wear or tear. It all depends on how the previous owner used and managed them.

Thrift clothing isn’t only economical. They are also a recommended way to practise sustainable fashion and green your wardrobe.

Apart from shopping from a thrift store, you can also thrift your old belongings. This way, you preserve their lives and save our planet from more harm.

Most of the time, items from a thrift shop may not be trending at the moment. It’s your ability to get creative and style them in chic ways that matters. For instance, to rock thrift clothing and make a fashion statement, you need to know how to dress with style and how to dress confidently.

And to do that effortlessly, we recommend you follow our guidelines on the easy ways to look stylish.

When Did Thrift Clothing Become Popular?

History of thrift clothes

As Thrift Superstore noted, thrift clothing became popular in the 19th century. According to them:

“Before the late 19th century, people rarely wasted clothing in the US. People wore their clothes until they became damaged beyond repair, and then they would repurpose the cloth. During the late 19th century, the US population grew steadily, and companies began to mass-produce clothing. People were purchasing more clothes than they needed and throwing away excess. Pawn and thrift shops began to emerge, and they became places for people to purchase used clothing and other items at low prices.”

Where to Shop Thrift Clothing?

people shopping in a thrift store

Nowadays, getting thrift fashion items isn’t difficult. You just have to go to a thrift store or contact any online thrift vendor on social media. You can as well go to a market where they sell hand-me-downs.

That aside, below are some of the best thrift shops online:

  • ThredUp
  • Swap
  • Retro and Me
  • Thrift It
  • Soul Orange Vintage 
  • Beyond Retro
  • Patagonia Worn Wear
  • Poshmark
  • All Shades of Denim
  • Luxury Garage Sale
  • Depop
  • Vintage Closet 9ja
  • eBay
  • Thrift World
  • Vestiaire Collective
  • Goodfair
  • Rebag
  • Flyp

Guidelines to Follow When Shopping Thrift Clothing

be patient when shopping for thrift clothes
Be patient when shopping for thrift clothes

If you’re ready to start rocking thrift clothes with style, use these tips when buying any second-hand item.

1. Know Your Measurements

Since you’ll either be shopping online or from a physical store, you should know your measurements.

If you’re shopping offline, you don’t really have a problem as you can easily size up whatever item that suits your fancy or use the neck method of trying out your jeans. But it’s a different case when shopping online.

To avoid buying the wrong size, consult the size chart of the online store you wanna shop from. And when you consult their size guide, compare it with your measurements.

That aside, always remember their UK size 8 may be another brand’s UK size 10. But you wouldn’t know if you don’t check their size guide to be sure the hips, bust, and other measurements tally with yours.

2. Shop from a Legit Thrift Shop

Don’t be quick to give out your money when you aren’t sure the vendor is true or not. To avoid sad stories, shop from verified thrift stores.

Visit their social media accounts to confirm their business activities. Then check for reviews to be sure you aren’t doing business with a scammer. 

To be on the safer side, consult our tips on how to buy clothes online. They’ll ensure you don’t fall prey to a bad vendor and regret your purchasing decision.

3. Be Patient

Most times, thrift stores have a lot of items. This makes it overwhelming to comb through them and find your choice.

But be patient. Don’t be quick to pick the first few items you see. Instead, set them aside and carefully go through the pile of thrift items you see. 

You’ll definitely find others that catch your fancy.

4. Consider Your Style

Never buy an item on thrift just because it’s cheap. Do you really like it? Does it suit your personal style?

Your style should be the main reason you buy a particular cloth, jewelry, bag, etc. If you won’t feel good while wearing it or if it won’t elevate your sense of self, don’t buy it.

5. Look out for Your Hygiene

Although thrifting is an excellent way to get high-end fashion items at a discounted price, you should be careful when you go thrift shopping. 

This is because some thrift clothing may carry harmful germs. So, to avoid contracting an infection, avoid items like underwear, bikini, handkerchiefs, etc., when thrifting. You should also avoid anything damaged or stained.

The general practice is to never wear thrift clothing without washing and spreading in the sun.

You never can tell if the previous owner had a skin infection, bedbug, or any malady you can contract by wearing those items.

Now that you’ve learnt more about thrift clothing, I guess you’re ready to give them a shot. 

That’s good. If you’ll like to rock your thrift clothes with style and make people wonder if you’re actually wearing designers, go through our style guide on how to look good on a budget.

Then practise all you learn there.  

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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