You know what they say... don't pay attention to the size label in the clothing, find something that fits you and looks good.
If that rule is important in that place infested with teenagers (ie. the mall), it's 3X more important in the thrift store. There are three huge reasons why you need to place little importance on the the size tag...
1. Vanity sizing. It's not an unfamiliar concept to any of us... At Old Navy I grab a size 6 and head to the food court for some fries and at Guess, I can't button up a Large. OK, I never shop at Guess but you know what I am talking about... At least when you shop regularly at a certain store you get familiar with their system of sizing but at a thrift store, you never know what you are going to get.
2. International sizing. Every country has different sizing standards and number systems. It confusing to you but it's often confusing to the thrift store stock person as well. Items are often hung on the wrong rack. (Little tip: this happens at Winners/T.J. Maxx too... they get European brands which get hung on the wrong rack and so get left for deep discounts. Yeah! Discounts! And you thought this was just a thrift tip blog... I need to start charging.)
3. Vintage sizing. Different decades have their own styles; even body types changed over the years. When I find truly old clothing, it's a hard fit because I am so tall but on the opposite end, clothing from the 80's (are we really calling the 80's vintage already?) is cut really wide and large. I am going to be Captain Obvious and recommend you try it on...
I hope this doesn't make thrift shopping more complicated. Maybe sizing is the only compass you have when you set foot in a thrift store and now you have no idea where to start. It's not that you shouldn't pay any attention to your size... start looking where you usually fit in but don't be afraid to look at the next size up and down. Shopping at thrift stores requires an open mind and that applies to sizing too.
And now my favourite part of this post... the part where I eat a big slice of humble pie. Remember this dress?
Because I am not a size 12, OK? (note: that is my pride talking in a valley girl voice, waving my hand back and forth, snapping my fingers) Back in the day, I was probably like a lot of teenagers... scarfing down MacDonald's (behind my Mom's back, for the record) and ridiculous amounts of candy, secretly delighting in the fact that I was still slim. And then that thing called metabolism slowed down and I woke up one day and my pants wouldn't go up. And I am aware now that I can't take those things for granted and so I do my best to eat healthy and be active. And that's why my pride told me I couldn't be a size 12. But I tried that dress on and um... did you see the lift it gave my booty? Am I allowed to say that? Turns out I am not consigning that dress. Change the tag from size 12 to size swallow my pride and look good.