How to thrift like a pro

In a world where a lot of people end up looking the same, there’s something exciting about finding clothes that no one else will have. Thrifting is a bit of a thrill, where you can source and discover unique pieces in some interesting spaces. I’ve been thrifting for around a couple of years now but it’s still great to find one-of-a-kind piece.

However, the first time I scored some cool vintage items was from my grandma’s wardrobe, the original thrifting spot. It’s best way to find some real gems! If you’re also trying to make sure you don’t contribute to unethical clothing practices, thrifting is a nice way to counteract some of that.

In 2019, more consumers are aware about textile manufacturing standards and how unethical some retailers are around the globe. Want to lessen your impact? Buy local (if possible), support small businesses and empower those around you – if their product is worth having, obviously.

Now to shop and thrift like a pro I’ve put together some cool tips that I use to when going to markets, stores or swaps.

Know what you’re looking for

If you have a set list of pieces you’re interested in, you’re less likely to buy things you don’t need. Going to second hand markets can be time-consuming but honestly knowing what you want saves a lot of effort. If you looking for high-waisted pants or a vintage dress then that’s what you scout for. Have a list and keep your eyes wide open!


Get to know the brands/collectives around your city

Do some research and figure out what your vintage style is. Some collectives have a very specific aesthetic for their customers, so knowing what they’re about helps you make your next purchase. Whether you like boho outfits, 70s glam or 90s grunge – there’s literally something for anyone.


Host your own swaps

In some spaces or cities, thrifting isn’t as easy. I’m lucky to hail from the Eastern Cape – home to plenty of retirees who got rid of their wardrobes and hospices who sold things for dirt cheap. If you can’t find any, join ‘em and host a swap with your friends.

Beware of phonies

With the rise in vintage collectives, some people are overpricing their goods or selling really low quality items. Get to know who’s who and don’t hand over your coins to just any old body.

Ready to start shopping? Here’s where I shop online and beyond. 

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