The ULTIMATE Guide to Thrift Shopping + $20 Thrift Shop Challenge

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Happy National Thrift Shop Day!

I have been a pretty frequent thrift shopper since high school but to be honest, when I first started I was always buying t shirts. You know, back when vintage t shirts were THE thing to wear – except I bought so many and so many lame ones. I wasted so much money because I just wasn’t a good thrifter. Stay tuned for the end of this post for my ULTIMATE guide to thrifting!

A few weeks (months?) ago, Denise from Beauty and the Pleats invited us to join her on a thrift store challenge. The challenge was simple – $20, one outfit. You might remember I posted a thrift haul featuring everything I got that day.





My whole look (not including jewelry) was only NINE DOLLARS! Those shoes alone probably cost $50+ on their own, and I’m pretty positive they were brand new.

Head to Toe Cost – $34 | Jumpsuit ($4) | Gianni Bini heels ($5) | Ear cuff (Bauble Bar; $20) | Ring – you can’t see it in most of the photos, but wanted to include it in the outfit total cost (Hobby Lobby; $5) | Lips: NYX Round Case Lipstick in Narcissus (exact here)

Photos are by the IMMENSELY talented Stephanie Drenka.


Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this jumpsuit before I tailored it but let’s just say the legs were basically JNCOs. I’m not a huge fan of wide leg pants (I don’t own any culottes…GASP!) so I decided to go ahead and tailor them to fit my personal style – in about thirty minutes I narrowed the legs and added elastic to the bottom. It was a super easy fix, even for someone like me who rarely sews! It took the jumpsuit from SUPER 90s costume looking to something that comes across as vintage inspired (hello lace and button details) but still modern.


On my thrift haul video, I got a lot of “take me thrifting” and “I wish I knew how to thrift” comments, so I decided to go ahead and put together a quick guide for you! So without further ado, here’s my ULTIMATE guide to thrift shopping!

1. Pay attention to condition. It can be tempting to buy something just because it’s pretty and it fits but if it is in bad shape that you can’t fix or clean, DO NOT buy it!

2. Have a few things in mind for what you’re looking for. You might not walk out with them, but it helps to have some kind of guiding factor. It’s easy to get overwhelmed so having something to “look for” makes it less overwhelming and you’ll probably find other goodies in the process.

3. If there are no fitting rooms, don’t try to buy jeans or anything else that has to be a “perfect fit.” Unless you’ve already worn the exact style of the jean before, you probably need to try them on. On a similar note….

4. Wear semi-fitted clothes so you can try on clothes over your existing outfits. Even if the thrift store has dressing rooms, sometimes it’s easier to just throw something on in the middle of the store.

5. Be prepared to look at clothes with new eyes – how can you modify it to make it work? BUT also make sure it’s worth the effort! You don’t want to have to totally rebuild the garment, but if you can make a small change to change the fit, do it! That being said….

6. Don’t buy something you can’t fix. If you don’t know how to sew, don’t buy something with the intention of fixing it “someday” because odds are, you won’t. (Trust me, I’ve been there!)

7. Don’t impulse buy. Just because you find a beautiful sequin shirt doesn’t mean you need it if you already have three. If it’s better than what you already own, plan to pare down your closet to make room for it. Need help cleaning out your closet? I’ve got you taken care of, click here!

8. Know your thrift stores! This is a big one – if you’re in Dallas, Thrift Giant is the jam. For me personally, the Goodwill right by my house is small but ALWAYS has a bomb shoe selection. Know where to go to make the most of your time, and if you don’t know….just ask someone you know who thrifts!

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome blogs below and get inspired! I expect you to report back with all your awesome thrift finds!


Still want more outfit inspiration? Follow me on Pinterest!

Visit Valery Brennan | Affordable Dallas Fashion Blogger’s profile on Pinterest.

13 thoughts on “The ULTIMATE Guide to Thrift Shopping + $20 Thrift Shop Challenge

  1. Thanks for the tips! & PS your hair is #onseriousfleek and you are amazing for having pink hair. I wish I could pull off purple hair or grey hair or whatever the hell the white hair trend is! xx

  2. I really need to figure out the GOOD thrift stores in Cleveland. I am jealous (and impressed) at your $34 total head to toe outfit! Looking so fab!
    xx, Karen
    Glam Karen

  3. Love it!! You have an awesome eye (and talent) being able to see something and know you could change it to fit your style. That jumpsuit is adorable with those heels…nice finds!!
    Obviously we are into thrifting since we are repurposers (word??) of vintage jewelry! Those are some great tips!!
    CS Gems

  4. Love this post!! I’ve always enjoyed thrifting when I can! But, I’m always unsure how to navigate and look for winners amongst everything in the store! Vintage jewelry is one of my favorites!
    xx Bri

  5. I love this look, Valery! And I’m obsessed with your hair ☺️ These are great thrifting tips, I agree 100% – especially knowing your thrift stores. Some I know will always have good decor, but no clothes, and vice versa!

  6. I cannot believe that entire look was only $9… I’ve been dying for a jumpsuit so I am super jelly! And I never know what to look at first, your eyes, hair, or the outfit! Haha you’re just so pretty <3

  7. What a great look for an even better price…great job thrifting and such great tips too! I need to do this way more often, you have motivated me to give it a try soon.

    Brooke | KBStyled

  8. You are amazing my friend! Your photography, your hair, your make-up – always on point! KILLING it! And as Ive said before, I must go thrifting with you!


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