Fashion & Beauty

How Teens Can Save Money Shopping for Clothing at Thrift Stores?

Teens on a budget can find shopping at thrift stores to be something like a game. You can go into a store with the goal of purchasing a lot of clothes for a few dollars, looking for designer labels sold for a fraction of the original cost, and exploring styles of clothing you may not have risked with more expensive garments. If you are living an earth-friendly life, this is one more form of reusing items that already exist.

Thrift stores usually get their clothing donated by other people. Some clothing may have never been worn. In other cases, something was worn once (particularly formal wear), the owner’s body shape changed and her wardrobe stopped fitting, or she was just cleaning out the closet. What didn’t work for one person could work for you.

Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

Shopping at thrift stores is different than going to the mall, or even discount stores. Instead of racks of the same style shirt in a few colors and multiple sizes, every shirt will be a different style – and the style that captures the shopper’s eye might not be in the desired size.

Set a spending limit: It’s a challenge to go in with $10 or $20 and discover how many items can be purchased for that amount. Just like when shopping at the mall, don’t buy just for the sake of buying something. However, if a piece of clothing captures attention, grab it, particularly if the size is right … the item probably won’t be there tomorrow.

Check labels: If an item catches your eye, the label will let you know the designer, size, and fabric care. Skip dry clean only clothing – the process adds cost to a great deal.

Examine the condition of the items: Check for stains, holes, and tears (particularly under the arm), broken zippers, and missing buttons. Yes, zippers and buttons can be replaced, but do you know how to do that? Or, will the item sit in a pile of things to do (or that you want someone else to do)? Look for pilled and faded fabric, this can’t be fixed.

Try things on: Not only do different manufacturers and designers have their own sizes but a size 12 from the 1990s is likely going to be different than a size 12 from the 1970s. Wear a tank and leggings just in case the store doesn’t have a dressing room. (And even if they do, there’s no telling when a garment was last washed; which means, launder whatever is purchased.)

Develop Your Personal Style

Thrift store clothing is a great option for trying colors you wouldn’t normally wear or trying different clothing combinations (feminine with menswear; bohemian with sporty) that give you an individualized look. The low cost of thrift store clothing allows for experimentation without financial regrets.

Since the vast quantity of clothing at some thrift stores can be overwhelming, go in with a plan – look for sweaters or a prom dress. Some stores organize by size, others by colors, and others will just group women’s tops together.

An advantage to this form of organization is that shoppers might find things that they would have never found in a department store – the sleepwear pants perfect for the gym or the nightgown that makes a cute dress.

Thrift store shopping can allow a teen to fill her closet for a fraction of the cost of shopping at the mall. Clothing at thrift shops changes from week to week and is a great place to find “one-of-a-kind” items that can help you create a unique personal style.