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Thrift Day. The Route.

thrift route

Every time I go to Talize, I make my way around the store in the exact same way. If I am with a friend and they go off course (do they know who I am?), I always have to part with them and check through my route first. In little thrift stores I tend to scour the whole place but if I go to a department size store, it's good to have some direction.
While I won't punish you too heavily if you veer off my route, I do think my system has a little bit of thrifting wisdom to impart. First things first... put on your game face...

thrift route1

Whoops, not my game face... just a chance to flaunt the cuteness that is Kyle asleep in my underwear drawer this winter. Yes, the bedroom is a mess and he is actually not allowed to sleep there but for that one time... he was too precious. OK, back in the thrift game, let's do this...

Accessories- Just by the way that my local favourite thrift store is set up, I start my shopping experience at the display cases, check the jewelry, peruse the shoes and finally on to the purses with a pinch of belts and scarves. It brings me around in a neat little loop. If I only have 5 minutes to shop, these are the places I go first. Accessories are fun, cheap and don't require change rooms, so if you are a novice thrifter and are unsure where to start, the accessories loop is a good way to go. There are always some fun jewelry, belts or purses to be found! These items are also easy to clean and hence sit low on the hypothetical ick factor chart. I know that some of you have an aversion to thrifting shoes. I can respect that... though I do often find brand new shoes... just saying...

Favourites- I admit I don't need anymore dresses... or skirts, for that matter. But they are my favourite and if I have time and don't check the racks for these, I would feel as if I could have potentially left my next DvF vintage dress for someone else to snag. That would not be good, we call it thrifting, not kindergarten, sharing is not important.
I kid... mostly. But if I hadn't checked the dress section the last time I went thrifting, I would not have a vintage lace Victor Costa dress hanging in my closet... the perfect dress for my brother's wedding this September.
Dresses and skirts might not be your favourite thing to wear; maybe you fall hard for blouses with bow-ties or acid wash jeans (together?) but whatever is your clothing of choice, make sure you give that area a quick scan.

Trends- Some of you may have time to check every section in the thrift store but I don't. I am too busy frittering my time away on the Internet for that kind of craziness. So after I check the accessories and look through the racks of dresses and skirts, I look for trends that have recently caught my eye. Bright pants, faux fur vests and my latest addiction (I needed a new one after I quit Diet Coke... more than 3 weeks baby!), silk shirts, are all crucial parts of a fashion blogger's rite of passage and can easily be found second hand. Get inspired before you go to the thrift store! This way, the 80's pleated skirt is suddenly a prized possession waiting for a golden sunset, a camera and some likes on Weardrobe. Don't laugh but I am seriously on the lookout for a pair of denim overalls. I want them to be not crazy baggy, like the ones that were cool in Grade 6 and not crazy tight, like the ones that were cool in Grade 9. Somewhere in between. So far no luck. Mostly due to my height and fitting issues in the crotchular area. But it's going to happen, I can feel it... after I find silk shirt #9 and #10.

Do you have a thrift route or do you need some thrifting GPS?


Chandra @ShiftC said...

My thrifting route:
1. Dresses
2. Blouses
3. Skirts
4. Accessories behind display class
5. Shoes (usually don't buy thrifted shoes, though)

When looking I browse for:
1. high quality
2. current trends for the season
3. staples (pencil skirt, feminine blouses, wrap dresses)
4. actually vintage pieces (1980 and before)

Chandra @ShiftC

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

and then it's an abstract tangental race to the finish!

amanda said...

depends on where i am. my very favorite manna center? skirts, dresses, shoes, blouses....then if there's time, accessories.
salvation army in town? shoes, blouses, dresses, skirts, accessories.
my all time favorite goodwill in the next town over? sweaters (i know right?) dresses, skirts, blouses, shoes.
i'm weird and it really all depends on the store. but i have a routine in each one i go in on a regular basis. makes things way easier.

Frannie Pantz said...

What a great and helpful post. Funny you mention overalls and thrifting because I just got an adorable pair of green and floral overalls for a dollar a couple of weeks ago! Good luck on your quest.

Katie Dodd said...

Omg I went to see Spiritualized last year and saw this chick in a killer pair of pinstriped overalls - train conductor style - rolled up at the ankle with super high wedges, a simple yet pretty tank under and glorious jewels. I took several sly, yet drunken photos and have been on the hunt for a pair ever since. No luck yet, but I believe!!

Stella said...

Dude, what? (Ok, wait, Dudette!) I have a pair of overalls that I was planning on selling at a garage tall are you? I think it's a size medium, though. Maybe it's too baggy for you?

Vintage Cat's Eyes said...

Great post! I think every serious thrifter develops a routine/route. Congrats on the fab dress for your brother's wedding!

kelsey williams said...

I just KNOW you are going to rock those denim overalls!

Great post and tips. I am on the hunt for a silk shirt!

Anonymous said...

3 weeks no Diet coke? I should try that, it's seriously my addiction! Kyle looks so adorbs on the drawer!

Cess O. <3 The Outfit Diaries

Sidewalk Chic said...

I'm so glad you tackled this, because I was thinking about this the other day and how I have a pattern whenever I thrift. I usually make a beeline towards the dresses first, because I feel like there are a lot of well-made gems in there, and hell, if you find a great one, it's a whole outfit in itself. Then I go towards skirts, blouses, shoes, and then accessories. And then I do another lap around the store to see if I missed anything. Sometimes I'll (kinda creepily) wait to see if the staff brings out new stuff on the floor, too.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I always hit accessories last.

I generally do dresses first (although I certainly don't need any more, either) tops and sweaters next since that is my weakest area, then skirts. Then everything else - outerwear, shoes, etc.

pomomama said...


1. shoes/handbags (same area)
2. shoes (on the lookout for 'the next size up' for my wee guy)
3. dresses
4. jackets/coats

... think i'll plan a trip today ....

keren said...

Hi, great question. We actually highlight out thrifting adventures/priorities on our blog, but I start and end with jewelry. My favorite things to shop are dresses, skirts, then top. Because of my build, I only buy pants at a store that has my fit all the time.

Think Twice Style said...

I have an organized browse too! I usually start with dresses, then skirts, then quickly scan the pants and little boys'. If I am in a hurry I usually only check the jewelry, because it is generally at the front of the store. It's difficult for me to go with anyone other than my mom, because no one else understands my system!

myedit said...

Stella- I am 5'11 but I can roll if the overalls are too short... here's hoping? Pant size is probably an 8... does that help?

Sierra - Closet Full of Happiness said...

Man, I've been a little turned off by the "ick factor" in the past but after listening to you rant and rave about all your swell thrifting finds I'm feeling an itch - an itch to thrift! As if we need more clothes! haha

Savannah said...

I totally do a similar route, It's an important part of the process. And can we talk about that tired Kitty for a second? How precious!

Katie Mac said...

My thrift route is jewelry first, handbags, shoes clothes and then I go back again in the same route. Just want to make sure I don’t miss anything!

Unknown said...

This post is majorly helpful (See what I did there? I used the word majorly to fit in with the era of the overalls). I was in need of some thrifting GPS. One thing I'll never miss though, is the blazer section.

Sara said...

Ugh, I need thrifting GPS. I'm still new to the thrifting scene, so I tend to stand in the middle and turn around in a small circle with panic rising in my chest...I'll work on that.

Unknown said...

I always take the same route too, it's usually:
1. skirts
2. dresses
3. silk shirts (I've been obsessed with those too lately)
4. shoes
5. purses.

Shopping and Spreadsheets

Karla said...

I love that kitty picture! Aren't they just the cutest? I must have like a zillion pictures of them in the oddest places as well.

I do have a route but it has more to do with how my favorite thrift store is set up than what I like to look for first. When I walk in I look for blouses since it's the closest to the entrance. They have a wide variety so I tend to skim and then come back at the end after I've hit up my favorite spots. I then go to the blazers. I have found so many of my favorite blazers that I really don't need another one but I just can't help myself.

After this I hit my favorite, the dress section. For as big as the place is, their dress selection is quite small. However, I almost always find something I love. Then on to skirts. By this time I've spent over an hour in this place so I try to wrap up fast and look through my pile to see what's really going home with me.

I almost never look at the accessories section so I may have to work on that.

Col said...

Um....cutest picture ever! Your cat, not you...this time.

Anonymous said...

Wow ...I just recently stumbled upon your blog and it is quite fabulous. I too am a Talize addict and thank goodness you don't live in my area as we seem to like a lot of the same things(brown leather, oh yah!)

Ever since I found a $600 calf hair & leather handbag in pristine condition by Cole Haan for $12.99, I definitely head straight to handbags ,then on to coats then back to scarves & belts and lastly jeans (James Seun, Fidelity, 7 for all mankind),gotta luv Talize for keeping me in premium denim.

Look foward to seeing more of your finds!!