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Guest Post: October Rebel

Hello, I’m Anna of October Rebel. I’d like to thank Kristina for inviting me to post on her blog, and I wish her all the best in her adventures in parenting.
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It’s no secret I get a lot of my clothes from thrift shops. All great thrifters have their own system for successful shopping. I loved Kristina’s Thrifting Vintage: a few tips for finding and dating vintage clothes from December. I don’t consider myself a great thrifter, but I have a system of my own that keeps me focused in the hectic and confusing environment of the thrift store. These are the guidelines that make thrifting and “vintaging” easier for me:
  1. Look for things I need or can use (I often make a list first)
  2. Look for things I like among the things I need or can use
  3. Check the size (if applicable)
  4. Assess the condition of the item
  5. Read the label (if present)
  6. Go home empty-handed sometimes.

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1). When looking for items on your list, sometimes you have to dig. For instance, this fantastic beret was at the bottom of a big pile of grubby baseball caps, and these like-new pumps were hidden near the bottom shelf, surrounded by sketchy and odorous sandals.2). Sometimes this guideline comes first. For instance, this amazing tapestry bag caught my eye and then I realized I could use another practical purse. But it was also so unique and so very much my style, I had to pick it up.

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3). This is one of the most obvious guidelines, but sometimes so easy forget. I’ve walked home with shoes that I thought fit, but were actually quite uncomfortable after wearing them for more than a minute. With the above black pumps, I tried them on and wore them the whole time I was trying on other things, that way I knew they were comfortable.4). Make sure the item is like new. If wool, check carefully for moth damage. Look for sneaky stains or holes. The only time I’ll buy something that’s not in really good condition is when it’s a really special find and I know I can fix it.

5). Always look for a label. It will tell you something about the item. I wasn’t sure I wanted a beret from the bottom of the grubby hat pile until I saw on the tag that it was an angora-wool blend. (I washed it gently with shampoo once I got home). If you find a union tag, it can help you date a vintage garment.
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6). It’s okay to go home empty-handed. It’s also okay to buy something you weren’t initially shopping for, if they meet these other requirements. For instance, I was more interested in vintage dresses on my last excursion – tried on several, but found nothing that fit. These black mary jane pumps came home with me instead. Although I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, I knew I could really use a pair of black dress shoes.

After bringing something new-to-me home, I usually get rid of something old I haven’t been using recently. All these guidelines help me keep my small space less cluttered, and ensure I’ll use the things I buy.

Do you have any tips for buying second-hand?