How to fall back in love with thrifting

George Metcalf on 23 June 2023
woman browsing the racks of a charity shop

Thrifting is where the heat is. Here’s how to get the best deals second-hand shopping.

Once upon a time, thrifting was the best way to look steezy on a budget; Vintage stores would be abundant with £5 Champion jumpers and Dickies, and charging more than 30 quid for a Carhartt jacket was literally insane.

But alas, as with most things in this world, once people realised money could be made the game changed for the worse. Suddenly those £5 rails were £20 rails, “urban renewal” sections popped up in major retailers and swarms of Wavey Dons and Depop Girlies took to internet to flog WHP-worn Polo Sport and fucked up 110s.

Suddenly, thrifting was as expensive (if not more) as buying brand new. Which is a shame. Buying second-hand clothing is great for the environment as it obviously helps reuse material rather than just throwing it away and producing more. It’s also great for your wardrobe; the right thrifted garment is gonna have way more character to it than something off the rack.

All is not lost however, as that original feeling of thrifting can be found again, just in some less likely places. Check out our tips for reigniting the romance with thrifting…. 


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Shop around

Because they’re second-hand sellers, most vintage stores can charge whatever they want, so by shopping around you get to know who’s actually pricing stuff fairly (and correctly) and who’s just jumping on the bandwagon and trying to make a profit. 

The same goes for charity shops. You’ve gotta figure out the best locations, places on the high street or near campus will get checked regularly, but shops off the beaten path will get looked at less. Also, if you charity shop in more affluent areas you’re more likely to find designer brands. 

Get off the apps

Some things in life need to be found in person. Swords. Tarot decks. Crystals. Vintage adidas shoes. All these things need to find you. 

Thrifting is about the thrill of the hunt, and you don’t quite get that on apps like Depop or Vinted (no hate to them obviously). Take your search for some cheaper garms offline, it’ll be way more fun.

@shewearsfashion This is what £20 gets you at the carboot #comethriftwithme #comethrifting #carbootsaleuk #carbootsalehaul ♬ Lofi Vibes - Gentle State

Carboots and yard sales

Another person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Carboots, yard sales, neighbourhood clearouts, pop-up markets; these are the new battlegrounds of thrifting. You’ll find all sorts of cool stuff here and cut out the middleman aka annoying sellers and price-gouging shops. 

The one caveat is that you gotta get up super early but that’s a small price to pay for what could be the greatest haul of your life.

Embrace imperfections

The better the condition of a vintage garm, the more expensive it’ll be. But if you’re cool with a couple of holes here and there or some minor signs of wear then you’ll likely get a better deal.

Disclaimer: there is a massive difference between a piece of clothing having some character and being sold something that’s got no wear left. Make sure you know the difference to avoid being ripped off.

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George  Metcalf
George Metcalf on 23 June 2023