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The Ultimate Thrifting Guide - What to Look For and Where to Find It

My top five thrift tips for shopping second-hand efficiently and successfully in Boston!

By: Riya Mahtani

A blonde girl holding a yellow purse
Photo By: Emma Almaraz

If you’ve ever been to a thrift store, you know how chaotic and overwhelming they can be. There are racks on racks of clothes, and it’s nearly impossible to go through every single item. But fear not – here is my list of tips and tricks to help you thrift the cutest things without spending hours at the store. And don’t worry, I’ve also included my favorite thrift shops in Boston for you to check out!

  1. Scan the racks: Going through every piece of clothing in a thrift store is way too exhausting and time-consuming. My best advice is to master the art of scanning. Go into your thrifting trip with a general idea of the colors, patterns, and types of clothes you’re looking for and focus on those areas. Typically, thrift and vintage stores try to organize by item or color, which should help you focus your shopping. My rule of thumb for thrifting is if it doesn’t stand out when you’re scanning, it’s probably not worth the purchase.

  1. Size and fit don’t always matter: Thrift stores are not regular stores. If you’re looking for the cutest clothes that fit you perfectly, you won’t find much. 

My advice? Get creative with your shopping! Focus on finding interesting fabrics that can easily be used to make something else! You can mix and match multiple fun styles and patterns to sew into something unique and trendy. Places like Goodwill (965 Commonwealth Avenue) are great for this because they have so many clothes, making scanning your best friend. 

  1. Branch out with your style: Chances are, if you’re getting into thrifting, it’s because you want cool and unique pieces for a reasonable price. The best way to expand your wardrobe is to look for items that you wouldn’t normally go for. Try out different patterns and styles that will make people ask where you got your outfit from! 

Vintage stores are definitely best for unique clothes. My current Boston favorites are The Vintage Underground (957 Commonwealth Avenue), Sowa Vintage Market (450 Harrison Avenue), and The Garment District (200 Broadway).

  1. Don’t overlook the men’s section (and even the kid’s section): Just because the clothes aren’t necessarily made for you, that doesn’t mean you can’t still rock them! I have found some of my favorite pieces in the men’s section. It’s the best place for graphic T-shirts, jackets, and oversized jeans. As for the children’s section, who said baby tees were out?

  1. Always check the go-back rack: This is easily the most overlooked rack in every thrift and vintage store. A lot of the time, people try on cool pieces that end up not working out for them, and they are often forgotten about and left on the rack by the fitting rooms. Trust me; there’s always some hidden gems here for you to check out.

I hope these thrifting tips were useful and help you find some cute and trendy pieces! Good luck on your next shopping adventure!

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