April 23, 2013

Thrift Tips: Quality Check

When I talk to people about thrifting and they tell me their tales of woe, the most common issue is that they have no idea what is "good" and what isn't. Quality is fairly easy to spot in retail stores. 

French seams? Quality. 
Has its own mini-store at the department store? Quality. (I'm lookin' at you, BCBG)
Dinner ware from Fiesta? Quality.

In thrift shops, however, quality takes a trained eye, good judgement, and inspection (i.e.  squinting). In this post I will talk about the essentials of spotting a quality item! Hopefully this will help you find the good stuff on your next trip.


It is imperative that you look at the labels of your items before you purchase. I once accidentally bought a cute skirt, not realizing that it was from F21. I was happy to have purchased it for $2 instead of $35, but the whole idea still irks me.


As you dig through the aisles, be sure to spot top of the line fabrics. Knits and polyester blends are usually a no-no, save for the exception of vintage. 

Good fabrics to look for:

My process for finding fabrics is to dimly brush my fingers against the clothes as I skim the aisle. Not every article of clothing deserves your time. They can face the rejection. They've been thrown out before. 

For me, denim is the most difficult thing to find at thrift stores. Many stores have men's and women's jumbled together and not sized, making it a serious chore finding that one pair that would make The Greatest Cutoffs in the Land. Annoying. I only search through the denim if I am 1) in a good mood 2) not hungry 3) not thirsty, or 4) killing time. However, my testament to their marketing skills are of no relationship to the stack of cool cutoffs I could have in my closet. Call me lazy.

Seams, etc.

Check the seams all over the garment. Gently tug where a sleeve meets the shoulder, if the  threads strain too much, it is likely not made well. Button all of the buttons and make sure they are all there. Unless you feel like hand stitching a button on, get things with all of their buttons. I have to say that word again... buttons

You also want to check any zippers on your clothes before you buy! Replacing zippers is a bit of a pain, so if it doesn't zip, don't buy it. 


Old and vintage clothing is what it sounds like... old. Holes and regular wear & tear is expected. I have purchased vintage clothes with holes before and worn them without caring because at least I didn't make the hole I probably would have made myself anyway. It's like that first spill in your new car. After that, it's lived in and comfortable. Staying on pins and needles is no longer necessary. 

And you know what? I like my clothes better that way.

If you have any specific questions about garments you have purchased or want to purchase, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at thinktwicestyle@gmail.com!

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I have thrifted plenty of times...I definitely get excited when I get a good find. But it does take patience. And you certainly have to be in the right mood.