Up until recently, I wasn't big on thrift/vintage shopping. My usual go-to stores for trendy cheap finds were always Forever 21, H&M, Marshalls, and the occasional Amazon super deal. But after this weekend, I strongly believe I’ll be changing my frugal ways for good.
Due to my hectic schedule, I have little to no time to run errands during the week. This is why Saturdays and Sundays are my designated days to get my life together. But given the Easter holiday, and my lack of foresight, this past Saturday was a huge exception.
On that day I found myself attempting to cram and accomplish everything I had put off throughout the week; I had to do my laundry, grocery shop, pay bills, clean my room, find an outfit for Easter Sunday with my boyfriend’s family, and manage to pack my bags to go up to Westchester that same evening.
I was losing it.
How was I going to be able to pull it all off in about 8 hours? No clue. What I did know was that it’d be crazy if I left Brooklyn to go shopping for a Sunday dress in the Manhattan. On top of it, I’ve been saving for a two week trip to Europe in the summer and have been on full-on savings mode recently. What was my best option? Williamsburg thrifting.
Thrift Shopping in Brooklyn
Certain areas of Brooklyn tend to stray away from mainstream trends and overly commercial fashion. As such, a bunch of eclectic shops and local thrift stores have found immense success in neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick.
Thankfully, I live in Williamsburg and had no trouble finding an economic alternative to shopping in the City. I had so many options! But I ended up going to Crossroads Trading Co. and finding exactly what I needed in less than 30 minutes.
For your reading pleasure, and if you ever find yourself wondering around my lovely neighborhood, here’s a list of a few other cool thrift stores you should definitely check out:
What Should I Expect?
Anything and everything. While strolling through Crossroads’ clothing aisles, I stumbled upon some pretty sweet gems. I also saw some dirty rags, old and worn out pieces, and a few outdated items. But hey, one man's trash is another man's treasure, right?
When going into thrift stores, you have to have an open mind. It's not like you’re going to Urban Outfitters and shopping for a seemingly vintage piece, you're getting the real deal here. These items were previously owned by someone else, and if you’re lucky enough, their previous owner took real good care of them! So keep your expectations in check and your eyes wide open for some amazing finds. Because trust me, you'll find some insanely ridiculous deals.
What Should I Look For?
First of all, what exactly do you need to purchase? I seldom have time to walk around and window shop (yes, it's that bad), so I'd rather go into a store with a well thought-out list of the things I'm interested in buying. In my case, I needed a cheap, fashion-forward, conservative dress, appropriate for Easter. So clearly, I walked straight into the dresses section.
Once there, I immediately thought about colors. Spring colors to be exact, which eliminated anything dark, extremely bright, or gloomy looking.
Then I focused on length, quality, and comfort. I went through several pieces and fixed my attention on the little details. Was it too long? Too short? Too see-through? Was it clean? Was it still in good shape, high quality? Alas! I picked up 6 items and headed over to the fitting room.
Within those 6 pieces, I had picked up this beautiful white cotton dress, short sleeved, thigh-high, no cleavage, perfect for the occasion. I tried it on and voilá, it was the perfect fit! $16.50 and I had the perfect bag and shoes to go with it.
- Do your research and find one or two (or even three) thrift stores you're interested in scooping out.
- Jot down a mental, handwritten, or digital list of items you're looking to purchase.
- Have an idea of what imperfections you'll be willing to tolerate.
- Head over to the thrift store(s) of your choice and take a few minutes to browse through those sections, which will house the items you're interested in purchasing.
- Once you find a few pieces, examine them in detail before taking them to the fitting room.
- Lastly, try everything on! Once you see how the pieces look on you, it'll be easier to narrow down your choices. And of course, pricing should also be a matter to be considered. I always ask myself if the prices seem reasonable, just as a sanity check before pulling the credit card out.
Thrift stores are great lifesavers. After my experience trying to find a last-minute economic option for a pretty serious event, I feel I'll be coming back to Crossroads for more amazing finds like these. And if you ever try thrifting and feel like the advice I've shared about my personal experience was helpful, feel free to let me know! I love to hear your feedback.