THRIFTY THURSDAY: Size Never Matters — Especially When Thrifting

Do you honor thy fellow thrifters by only buying that which fits perfectly?
Publish date:
March 3, 2016
thrift stores, Thrift Shopping, Thrifty Thursday

For this week's thrifting adventure, I was planning to scout out the local Goodwill. I mentioned this to my mom who enthused that she had been there lots of times before and would happily go with me. When we got there, however, it was not a Goodwill; the sign said Via Thrift Store (which I looked up later and discovered is a small chain of thrift stores in my area). For some reason my mother is convinced that it's the same exact thing as Goodwill.

Whatever. Goodwill or Via, they're both thrift stores, so I gave the place a chance. In the end, I didn't like it very much so I probably won't go a second time; it was small and I had a really hard time finding any clothes that were my style or in my budget. However, I did find a couple of items and — more importantly — I learned a few important thrifting lessons.

The first lesson is that not every thrift store is going to be for you. There are a lot of different thrift stores from independently owned stores to big chains and everything varies — from the prices and quality of the merchandise to the size of the store. Don't feel discouraged if you go to one thrift store and hate it. Check out several in your area in order to find one that you like. Make a day of driving around to different thrift stores, even.

Also, never feel bad about browsing for a while and then leaving without buying anything; I probably would have done exactly that if my mom hadn't been with me (that's another argument for my usual rule of going thrift shopping alone).

The second lesson that I learned is in regard to sizing. It can be hard enough to figure out your size in a store that carries one brand of clothing, let alone a thrift store with hundreds of brands, all with their own unique sizing system. Instead of relying on the size on the tag, I just eyeball the item of clothing and then if it seems close enough I take it into the dressing room. That's how I ended up trying on both a size large cardigan and a size 2 dress, neither of which would normally fit me, and having them both fit perfectly.

I bought the watercolor print cardigan for $8 (not the red wool cardigan pictured, which was hilariously bulky). It was hard to leave the dress behind, which was very pretty but ultimately not really my style. I really liked what commenter "Skeleton" said in last week's comments: basically that leaving behind something that's not quite right for you might end up making someone else very happy.

I don't really even wear cardigans now that I no longer work in an office, but the watercolor print of this one was too pretty to pass up. It would be easy to style it for work (just pair it with a dress or slacks and you're set) but the real challenge for me, as someone who works from home, was figuring out how to style it with my usual casual wardrobe.

In the end I wore it with high-waisted, dark wash flares. A cardigan looks cute with any style of jeans, but I chose this particular pair to create a very put-together outfit for a date. If I wanted to dress the cardigan down, I would probably choose ripped up boyfriend jeans instead.

Here are a few watercolor-print items in case you're feeling inspired by my cardigan:

If you're on a really tight budget, this cute top is only $15; and if you like the watercolor print but don't want to wear it, this iPhone case is a great alternative.

I also picked up this lace pillow for $4; I couldn't resist its shabby-chic charm.

So don't forget to check out the furniture and knick-knack sections, which many thrift stores do have. And if you like this particular pillow, Etsy has tons of similar ones such as this one.

Now here are the best thrifting finds that you guys shared last week:

Share your latest thrift store finds in the comment section below and I'll feature the best ones next week and — of course — feel free to share your stories about thrifting with your mom, weird sizing, or whatever else you'd like.