If I’m ever feeling sad, I know that there’s always one thing that will make me feel better: thrift shopping. After a particularly hard day, there’s just something about walking into my local Goodwill or Salvation Army that provides me with an escape. I love the thrill of the hunt: digging through racks and racks of clothing to find those unique wardrobe staples that I know will be in my closet for years to come.
One of my favorite feelings of all time is when someone asks me where I got something and I can say, “it’s thrifted!” because I feel so proud of my find. Of course, thrift shopping or shopping secondhand online has numerous other benefits in addition to the pure excitement. It’s better for the environment, you can shop more intentionally, it’s usually budget-friendly, and shopping at thrift stores often supports a charitable initiative.
Through my years and years of thrifting experience, I have learned that there are a few clothing pieces that are even better secondhand, especially when it comes to wardrobe staples. There are certain things that were just made to be more durable in the past, such as denim, handbags, and jackets. But there are also some pieces that are so readily available secondhand that I almost never buy them new, like oversized button-ups and graphic tees. These are the items I’m always looking for at the thrift store:
One of my absolute favorite pieces to wear for work is a sleeveless sweater. During the colder months, I wear them under a blazer, and in the summer, I pair them with a great pair of trousers or nice jeans. I have had so much luck finding gorgeous vintage ones at tons of different thrift stores, and I always get compliments on them. I’d also recommend checking out the regular sweaters for high-quality chunky knits.
As previously mentioned, there is always an abundance of button-ups at any thrift store. Personally, I shop the men’s section because I prefer a more oversized and relaxed fit. No matter what style you’re looking for—classic white, Coastal Grandma blue, striped, or even linen—you’re pretty much guaranteed to find an option that you like.
A favorite thrift store activity of mine is walking up and down the jeans and shorts aisles (both men’s and women’s), looking for that iconic Levi’s patch. Vintage denim is high quality, extremely flattering, and usually a lot more affordable than the Levi’s you can buy new today. Also, some of my go-to denim shorts are cutoff jeans from a thrift store.
I’m a firm believer that the thrift store handbags section is often slept on. If you’re ever in need of a unique bag for a specific season—like a bright color or rattan bag for summer or a sherpa bag for winter—I’d highly recommend checking the thrift store first. Also, if you’re looking to make a designer purchase, shopping secondhand on sites like The RealReal or Rebag is a great place to start.
No matter what season it is, I always make a point to browse through both the men’s and women’s jacket sections at any thrift store. You can find some super unique or very high-quality pieces here, including suede, genuine leather, and chic oversized blazers. Some of my most special wardrobe staples are thrifted jackets.
6. Graphic Tees
Look, I love an Urban Outfitters graphic tee as much as the next girl, but oversized T-shirts are so much more fun when they come from a thrift store. The men’s T-shirt section is one of my absolute favorites because you can really find some wild and unique stuff. Plus, these T-shirts are usually perfectly worn in, making them some of the comfiest pieces in your closet.
7. Pants & Trousers
There’s been a major resurgence of linen pants, wide-leg trousers, and even elastic-waistband “grandma pants” over the past few years. Not only do thrift stores have tons of fun vintage options in gorgeous colors and unique patterns, but I also usually find myself reaching for my thrifted pants over my new pairs more often than not. There’s just something about these vintage-style pants that is so comfortable and easy to wear.