What to Avoid Buying at the Thrift Store

Thrift shopping is a great option for those wishing to expand their wardrobes on a budget.  However it’s important to keep in mind that not all secondhand items are worth buying. Fabrics and other materials wear differently over time, and since most thrift store items have been worn it’s important to keep in mind that some quality issues may appear like stretching or shrinking.  Here’s an easy list of the top five things to avoid when thrift shopping:

  1. Polyester and Rayon Blends

Although polyester can refer to a variety of textiles including chiffons and knits, all show wear differently. However, clothing made from knit polyester blends will start pilling after just a few wears. It’s best to avoid this type of fabric secondhand since even when buying new rayon and cotton polyester knit blends they tend to wear out quickly.

  1. Jeggings

Most of today’s jeggings are fast fashion produced meaning that they lose their shape very quickly. A good general rule is to avoid any sort of pants made of flimsy stretch fabric so the clothes don’t sag when you wear them.

  1. Elastic Waist Pants and Skirts

While thrift shops can be a great place to find unique vintage pieces it’s best to avoid anything with an elastic waist that is more than ten years old.  To see if an elastic has lost its stretch tug on the band and listen for a crinkling sound.  This will tell you if the elastic has lost its stretch.  When in doubt, take a pass on the item.

  1. White Shirts

The majority of white clothing donated to secondhand stores tends to have stains that won’t wash out. Make sure to check out white clothing in natural light at the store to check for stains before buying.

  1. DIY Projects

Avoid items that have been previously altered at home as they’re not always in the best shape or able to be altered further to suit you. Even professionally tailored items should be avoided as they’re now only suitable for the person who donated it. Tailoring also means it is difficult to tell the item’s true size.


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