I’ve been thrifting for years, way before Macklemore. Since high school, these shops have been my source for my magnum opus of outfits. From my jersey collection, to my hat collection, to my large collection of windbreakers, I thanks stores like MyUnique and Goodwill for keeping my closet stocked with all of the flyest vintage gems for “the low”
The Low- N. an profoundly discounted price or cost for a good or service.
Thrifting is similar to an art, a process. Alot goes into making a trip to a thrift store, it is nothing like a day in the mall or a quick run to a retail clothing store, especially if you want to make good finds. So just like Biggie Smalls, I wrote me a manual, a step by step booklet for you to get your game on track ( The Notorious B.I.G- Ten Crack Commandments) :
Rule numero uno- Never let no one know what your shopping for in the store.
The way thrifting works, its every man for themselves. There is a strong likelihood that you wont know what you are looking for, as most people in the store. Do not give anyone an idea in their head on what to look for because it can make the difference of you snagging that Starter Windbreaker jacket versus someone else taking it home. Thrifting is a game of seclusion, silence, and selfishness so you can find the best of the best. Think of it as using a metal detector on the beach to find hidden treasures in the sand. Keep quiet and move in silence.
Rule #2. always keep a cart on you
A cart is an essential because there are days where you will find gems as soon as you walk in the store in one aisle. Don’t expect to be able to run back and grab a cart and return to see that Champion crewneck still on the rack, because it won’t. Usually I would grab a duffle bag from the bag rack and use that as my own personal shopping basket if a cart is out of reach.
Rule#3. Do not trust anybody
Refer back to rule number 1. The thrift store is a den of thieves with no honor. If you leave your cart unattended or your stash out of plain sight, someone will rummage and pillage your findings with no hesitations. There have been times where someone would eye my cart as I was rolling it down the aisle, their have been times where I have stepped no more than a foot away and someone would snatch and go. There is almost a 99.9% chance that there is someone who was eyeing an item and will follow you discretely around the store until you put that jacket down. Be mindful that thrift stores have one of everything, so if you pick it up, then you have the last one. Treat it as such and be attentive.
Rule #4. Have enough time to look at all the supply
Like I said in the intro, thrifting is an art and it is not as simple as walking in and immediately finding precisely what you want as you would with a normal retail outlet store. Yet, at thrift stores, there is a period restocking of shelves. So you have to go thrifting when you have enough time to be in the store. I normally find a nice 1 1/2 to 2 hour slot. Because after the shelves get slightly empty, they bring more items from the back to put o the shelves. So if you have enough time in the store, you will see the sheer variety and you will find some of the gems I have found.
Rule #5. Do not walk in with set expectations
Refer back to the introduction. They may not have exactly what you want so be open and have an general idea, such as ” I am looking for a jacket” not ” I am looking for a nike jacket”.
Rule #6. For ladies, feel free to look in both the men and women’s sections. For men, don’t trust the sizes, try clothes on.
Ladies you have the best of both worlds, being able to look in both sections for clothing because that is typically what the fashionistas before us did in the 1990s and beyond. For men, try on the items if possible because it may say a large and fit like a small or it may be size 10 and fit like a 9.
Rule #7. Keep on trucking, refer back to #4 and #5
Thrift stores are a hit and miss, so have enough time to keep looking until you find but do not get discouraged if you do not find, there is always another day to thrift as well as another store to thrift at.
Rule #8. Do not go with a buddy, at least not me.
Go thrifting solo, unless its someone of the opposite sex or different size. I have almost lost friends over a retro 76ers jersey that he stole out of my cart.
Rule #9. Go on the right day
Holidays and set discount days are the best because you will be grabbing jackets and coats for as low as $5. However, on those days I recommend going in the morning or midday. Most stores are busiest in the afternoon.
Rule #10. Location is key
The location of the thrift store does have an effect on what you will find. Some of the best thrift stores I have been too were in cities, versus townships and towns.
This is a step by step booklet to get your thrift game on track. Follow these rules and you will be sure to find some gems, and if this doesn’t help, stick to retail .