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Insanity at the Thrift Store. A.K.A. 50% off Days

(Just might be my best 50% off find. Silk, leopard print wrap dress that will always look current.)

50% off days at the thrift store?
I feel like I should love them and I certainly appreciate them, but I much prefer a quiet Tuesday night with the thrift store almost all to myself. I know I say this all the time, but I get a lot of thinking done as I browse through the racks searching for the next find.
That said, prices keep creeping up at the thrift store and when a whole store is 50% off, it's certainly worth taking the time to go. You need to be prepared though because as the younguns say 'that sh*t cray'. On half off days, I've followed people to the cash to snag their carts. I've changed in the aisles. I've stood patiently behind a guy buying an entire shopping cart heaping with shoes.
I figured I should put together a post with some tips on how to handle the 50% days. I deleted the tip where I suggest that the ends justify the means and you may use your shopping cart to take out potential competition. That's because I love you Mom...

1. Dress accordingly.
Chances are the thrift store will be busy and you might not get a chance at a change room. And if you do, you want to rush (yes, note to self: this is not a time to instagram or facebook my options...) because there is a line-up behind you that has no time for you to agonize over that cat sweater. In case you don't want to wait for a change room,  always wear a fitted tank underneath so that you can try on tops in front of any mirror that might be available. I usually wear my tight, comfy, stretch jeans that easily fit under most skirts and dresses, making change rooms a luxury, not a necessity  A cross-body bag to leave you with free hands is also a good idea.
2. Time it right.
The best time to hit up the 50% off sales is at 7 a.m.. I know, that's early and ridiculous. But it's usually not so busy at that time and the store hasn't been picked over yet. All the possibilities lie before you! I have been known to do a quick thrift run before work. Priorities. I get it though, 7 a.m. won't work for everyone. Just try to avoid the 5 p.m. rush. It is madness because everyone is stopping by on the way home from work.
3. Have a plan.
On 50% off days, I don't have the time, the patience and the energy to do the full sweep of the thrift store. It doesn't hurt to make a little mental or actual (in your fancy moleskin) note with some items you are on the look out for. Always check the sections you have the most luck with (for me that is dresses and skirts) and then look for specific needs and trends you are wanting to try out.
4. Check the most expensive sections.
The showcase, the leather goods and the coats and jackets are great on a regular day but are freaking gold mines of 50% days. Some thrift stores don't do half off on the showcase, but if they do, the fancy jewellery and some better brands and vintage pieces can be found at great prices. In the thrift stores I frequent (and yes, this varies based on location), I've noticed that the every day casual wear is the most popular kind of item on half off days. This may be because not everyone thinks having a dozen sequin shirts is normal... This also leaves lots of wonderful vintage coats and leather pencil skirts in all colours of the rainbow on the racks. I think that every time I go to the thrift store, I can find a jacket or a something in the leather section, but these sections are also the most expensive, so if I am at all unsure, I put the items back. It's a lot easier to commit to an aqua suede skirt (like in this last thrift post) when it's $10 instead of $20.
5. Have fun.
Thrifting on 50% off days is busy and crazy. But that shouldn't stop you from having fun. Everything is 50% off!!! I've talked about getting into thrifting and making the mistake of seeing potential in everything and buying all. the. things. Buying stuff, just to buy stuff, is not smart and it's probably an emotional thing and yes, I struggle with this constantly. That said, take a risk on 50% off days! That crazy vintage dress that you love but it kinda scares you? Just get it! It's not a huge investment and it's a cheap and fun way to branch out your style. I bought the jacket below probably about a decade ago on a 50% off day. I loved it and I have worn it over the years but yet, it probably took me 7 or 8 years to feel like it could just be part of my regular wardrobe. I always knew it was a beautiful coat, I think I have just finally found the courage to just enjoy fashion on my own terms and not be intimidated by an unusual piece.
I recently got featured by Wardrobe Oxygen for her series on True Fashionistas and I gave the same advice concerning how one should go about finding their own style. Maybe I am just running out of things to say, but I think when it comes to both fashion and thrifting, having fun is a pretty good place to start.



Jennifer said...

I get so much anxiety about going to a thrift store when it's 50% off that I usually stay away lol

xo Jennifer

Ladies in Navy said...

that dress is so pretty!
kw, Ladies in Navy

MisisD said...

Beautiful dress and I love your booties!

Unknown said...

These days at thrift stores are crazy but I live for those moments <3 :)

Natalie said...

Yes crazy days but if you find something amazing AND it's half off, it's totally worth it. If you don't, then you are just cranky & in need of a coffee. At least, that's me :-) LOVE both of these outfits & that dress is such an awesome find. Is it DvF?

Asher said...

That leopard print dress looks seriously fabulous on you! I'm especially diggin' those ankle boots with it!

Secondhand Stella said...

I can't go on 50% off day... its not worth it to me!

LOVE LOVE LOVE that last pic.

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Thanks for the great tips. Love the cross-body bag suggestion. I always wear slip-on shoes. I hate having to struggle with getting my shoes back on, either after trying on shoes {duh}, or after trying on clothing.

I haven't been to a 50% off sale for a long time, but I just might hit the next big one armed with your caveat to have fun. If I can get a parking spot, it's meant to be.

Groovy dress Jentine. Love it!

Sue xo

Anonymous said...

Great dress! Good advice on the thrift stores. Because I live in the thrift stores in close
proximity , but....have found some
good buys on etsy and ebay. Some real duds also but since I don't go
over my set budget it's o.k.

Thriftanista in the City said...

The pricing has forced me into 50% of days. Argh! I don't like the crowds but the prices are significantly higher theses days.

Ayessa said...

Thanks for these tips! I always struggle with buying a lot of stuff when thrift shops hold a sale. And I agree with buying stuff that kinda intimidates you. These intimidating pieces have led me to finding my own style. :D

And I love your dress in the first picture! Gorj! <3


Rachel Frend said...

I usually work Saturdays which is when my local thrift stores have their 50% off days. I think though the next time I managed to have a Saturday off I'll try and hit it up and follow some of your tips.

Unknown said...

There are two things that could even come close to being as awesome as 50% off day

1.) Pumpkin bread
2.) A really good book.

And I'm talking REALLY close, because 50% off day is probably my favorite days ever - they are like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one. And I know it gets a little insane, but I think that is what makes it that much more fun!


Vang said...

These are great tips! The leopard print silk dress and vintage coat are both beautiful finds!

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Sydney said...

Such a great post Yen! (can I call you that? I feel as if we are thrifting sisters... sorta. Except we never met. And live in different countries. And never thrited together). I love all of these tips - our thrift stores will often do 50% off of colored tags, etc, but scoping out the boutique sections on these items is a perfect idea! I also love that coat - it is beautiful and such a great thrift find!

Unknown said...

You are an amazing thrifter! Love your style as it is so not Jcrew/Ann Taylor-ish(Mall-ish) but very classy, edgy and fashion forward!! You an enviable closet..

Lady of Style said...

I love wrap dresses and the leo print is awesome. What a great find!!

Lady of Style

Unknown said...

All I can say is... you have nice legs :) ox
and I like the dress as well.

Rebecca Jane said...

I have never yet braved the chaos that is a 50% off whole store thrift sale.. but if I do, these are some good tips!

Manda said...

Aaaack, that leopard dress is just perfect. I covet ;)
Thrifting is slim pickings here in Ottawa, but you are inspiring me to give it another chance - I miss the unique finds :)

Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog said...

These are great tips! Makes me look forward to going to a thrift shop again. There are days when I look at what I'm wearing, and most of the items were bought at thrift shops. Love!

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Unknown said...

You have very well figured out the 5 tips which a shopper should keep in mind on how to prepare for the 50% off days in a thrift store. I really appreciate for mentioning the best time to hit up the 50% off sales which will be helpful to people who are interested in shopping during that time. It is true that the 5 p.m rush should be avoided as there will always be a line up at the cash counter as well as at a change room. Thrift Store is a really good place for people who enjoy both fashion and thrifting. The beautiful silk, leopard print wrap dress which you have shared through your post is really amazing.

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