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  • The Trojan Tribune Staff

A Guide to Thrifting

Generation Z’s awareness of the impact of climate change is surpassing that of past generations, largely due to their knowledge of dangerous pollutant emissions in fast fashion. The current fashion trends of distressed items and streetwear are on the rise and some people are becoming more environmentally and culturally inclined to find quality items at second-hand shops.

Thrifting for clothing and other items can often be overwhelming. Nonetheless, anyone can develop a good eye for the perfect pieces.  Even as a novice, you can implement some helpful tips that seasoned thrifters utilize while shopping to minimize the stress and increase sustainability.

An important guideline to keep in the forefront of your mind while thrifting is consistency. If you want to try and strike gold for something personal or to resell and make a few bucks, frequently browse local spots. Even if the exterior of the yard sale or store does not look stocked to your liking, you never know where your next favorite find will be located.

An anonymous long-time consigner and picking expert said, “I am not tall, so I always look in the kids section for misplaced items; I have found coats and designer jeans that were mistakenly stocked because they looked small.” They have also had luck while looking through the pajama aisle, where they have found flowy pants to wear at the beach.

Many have found concert tees and Pendleton style button-downs in the men’s section; you can also search through the women's section for overalls and slacks in a range of sizes. Shopping year-round and in all sections may increase your chance of finding what you are looking for because inventory stocking and sorting is never an exact science.

Another possibly helpful tip to remember is that if you see a small flaw, like a rip, snag or stain, it never hurts to ask for a discount, because you might save more than you would expect. One of the debatably most rewarding aspects of thrifting is finding originally-expensive designer items, or even old-school style pieces, for a much lower cost. Sometimes, in another applicable thrifting tip, we can search for high-quality, cheaper pieces that may not fit as well and use our own creative patching, cutting and sewing powers to design something new to you.

It may take some time to find a balance in your thrifting technique; from finding quality items to ensuring wearability. The anonymous consigner said, “If a skirt or dress shirt is gorgeous but it has to be dry cleaned, I might pass on it. Dry cleaning is expensive and takes up too much of my time. I will hand wash or throw something in the washing machine in cold water any day.”

Try to keep in mind that you may have to explore all sections, despite mainstream stereotypes of gendered clothing and decor labels. Remember that used items can be altered to your preferences, but also look for quality of fabric and ease of care. After a few thrifting trips, many are able to survey the racks and displays by touch alone and feel around for items that are worth the search.

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