Four Things to Keep in Mind When Thrift Shopping
I feel like I've been thrift shopping longer than I've been walking or sleeping. But in truth, I officially begun in 2013 when my mum introduced me to the wonderful world of sustainable fashion. Isn't it lovely how we get to buy unique clothes of a superior quality at a cheap price and save the environment at the same time?
I don't really believe in buying things on a whim as a lot of thrift shoppers seem to do - thanks to my somewhat minimalistic lifestyle. So, I carefully plan my purchases ahead of time.
For the novices and even the more experienced shoppers, here are a few things to keep in mind when thrifting:
1. Not all items are great quality
Just because the items aren't the usual mass produced low-quality doesn't mean each piece is good quality. Every item should be thoroughly perused and only if it meets certain standards, purchased. Do not fall into the trap of the low price and be one of those people who say “I bought it because it's cheap". It's a scam, I tell you - and you’re unlikely to get much value from it.
2. Don't ignore flaws
This is one mistake a lot of people make. If a dress needs to be altered, either fix it immediately after buying it or drop it. The dress would probably occupy your "fix it list" for so long, you'd likely get tired and just get rid of it. Like my mum says, “good things never finish”. There’s a high chance you’d find something better. I've learnt to not get too attached to clothing.
3. Take your measurements and/or taperule with you.
Standard sizes are not always accurate. For example, I'm a UK size 8 and a US size 4 and one time, my aunt got me a "size zero" dress that was bigger than me. Size zero indeed! If measurements are hard, try visualising the dress on you or comparing it to your other clothes. The safest bet is trying it on but I'm not particularly fond of that.
4. Bargain like a pro
Start at a ridiculously low price, work your way up then reluctantly give in when the price suits you. These days, I state the exact price I'm willing to pay in a tone that says "Nothing you say will change my mind. I either pay that price or I'm leaving." It seems to be working quite well.
So yeah, that an easy guide for starters!
I hadn't gone thrifting in quite sometime so I needed a little challenge to jazz things up and inspire me. I decided to see how many items I could pick up for N2,000. My favourite place to thrift shop in Lagos is Yaba market because it has everything from basic to unique pieces!
Based on my wishlist, I knew I needed a unique set of pants, interesting blouses and dresses. After a few minutes of minimal browsing as I was in a hurry, I ended up with three items: a strapless peplum top, fitted peach pants and a midi black dress. Simple pieces that are very versatile. And here’s how much I got them for:
Dress: 1000 Naira
Trousers: 500 Naira
Top: 200 Naira
See, I even had an extra 300 Naira to spare! I would have bought another top but everytime I buy new clothes, I have to give out some I already have and I wasn't willing to part with any pieces yet.
The one feature I look for when shopping is versatility because this makes it easier to maximise a small wardrobe. Using the above items you could actually layer the top on the dress and you'd have a new, more festive dress.
If you thrift shop in Nigeria, how many clothing items do you think you could get for 2000 Naira? I once got six tops for 700 Naira - all hail my badassery.
Your turn: Tell me your favourite places to shop, why you love thrifting, your challenges with thrift shopping or if you’re not a fan of it!