Here in Kitchener we don’t have the easiest access to flea markets to find those one of a kind pieces to add to a wardrobe or even home decor. Instead I’ve come to rely on thrift stores and vintage stores. When exploring these stores, it’s easy to get distracted with all the fun patterns, textures and colours; but I’ve compiled a couple tricks that can help you find the perfect addition to your wardrobes or homes.
1. Have an idea in mind for what you want to get, it allows you to be a bit more focused on your trip, but gives you the chance to pick up other items you see along the way (for my past trip, structured bags were my focus).
2. Decide on a budget (more for vintage). Sometimes you find the perfect dress, but the price is marked up above retailer options, your goal is to avoid that. Have a limit on how much you are willing to pay for the perfect dress and that will help you determine whether it’s a yes or no.
3. Bring a friend. Shopping trips are always more fun with a friend, and a second opinion is always reassuring, especially when looking at vintage pieces (I always bring my best friend who I know will be completely honest with me).
4. Bring cash. Although all stores usually have interac, sometimes you get a deal when paying with cash (no HST).
5. Have the right transportation. Sometimes you can find some great furniture at thrift stores, that only needs a bit of touch-ups for the cost, so make sure you have somewhere to carry it home with you!
6. Focus on quality. When I see an antique item that has worn well, I know that it will make for an excellent addition to my home. Minor scrapes and such can always be buffed out or fixed relatively inexpensively. In the same regards, with clothes, make sure there are no big tears, or problems with it, minor issues can be fixed – but you have to think, is it worth it? (I do this a lot with jewelry, making sure nothing is broken that I can’t fix)
7. Look at the trends. Make sure the piece of clothing can be versatile, you don’t want to buy something that should have stayed in the 80’s (I love to find vintage blazers that are a bit different than what you see in store: patterns, cuts, etc.).
8. Be open-minded. Within these stores it’s easy to get overwhelmed considering they’re packed with racks of clothes, but don’t fret, just relax and take your time sorting through all the treasures.
9. Alterations 101. Like I mentioned in #6, there can be minor issues to the garment, or the fitting isn’t perfect – which is expected. So search for the perfect tailor for you because believe me, they will become your best friend
10. Have fun. These places make for the perfect treasure hunt!