I’m a girl who loves a rummage in a second hand shop. Thrift shops are amazing if you want to save money, reduce waste or just snap up some amazing vintage find. Thrifting is even better when the shop in question is an ethical nonprofit like my go to consignment emporium Glad Rags.
I also know there is a myth that see plus size gals can’t do this kind of shopping. Well, I’m here to tell you different. It can take a little more dedication, but trust me, there are plenty of fat sized gems to be unearthed. Here are my top tips for finding them.
Ignore the label & try everything
Sizes are anything but standard. We all know we can be a variety of sizes depending on the brand. If you’re like me you will have clothes in your wardrobe that technically should never fit you. When you thrift the nonsense of sizing is amplified. The clothes can be anywhere from a season to decades old; sizing has changed. Clothes can also have originated in a whole other country (a US12 is not a UK12), so basically, the sizes don’t necessarily mean much. If you like it & it looks like it might fit on your body, try it on. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Check for a plus section
A really quick way to scope out your size is to check for a plus section. Most thrift (& even charity shops) are organised into sizes. If you don’t have much time or don’t want to try everything, heading straight to your size is a good bet.
Get to know the staff
I’m lucky enough to have been able to build an excellent relationship with the guys at Glad Rags & a few of my local charity spots. Not only is it nice to meet lovely new people, but it aids my fashion foraging. If you are friendly with the folks in store they’ll point out things they think you’ll be interested. They may even keep something aside if you become a valued customer.
Take your time
Second hand shops are completely reliant on what patrons donate. They simply can’t maintain stock in every size. If your plus you might have to play the long game. Keep checking back to see if new stock has arrived. Try setting aside a day for thrifting; then you can hit a number of shops & really devote some hours to the search.
Utilise Social Media
I follow my fav spot on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. They post new stock, events & special offers. If you see something you love don’t be afraid to shoot them a message. If you can get into store fairly quickly there’s a really good chance they’ll hold that dream item for you.
Shop the menswear
Or women’s wear. Basically forget gender roles & rules. Check out everything & if you like it, buy it.
Lots of clothes can be altered if they don’t quite fit. If you find something that you don’t want to live without, grab it & head off to the nearest alterations place. Most thrift shops will be able to point you in the right direction in their location. You will be amazed at the magic a seamstress (is still the right term???) can work without breaking your bank. On a similar theme…
Lots of items can be repurposed or customised really simply. A men’s shirt can easily become a cute tied crop. An oversized t shirt dress can become just tee a on a bigger body. Sometimes a wee bit of thought can go a long way.
Know your measurements.
If you know your measurements you will be able to see at glance if some garments fit. Lots of proper vintage & menswear items will only feature measurements on the label. If you want to be able to grab & go this is a great tip. It will also come in handy should you want to have anything altered.
So, there you have it. Thrifting is for everyone. I hope these tips may give first time fatties the confidence to explore the second hand world. I assure you there is nothing like the thrill of finding your heart’s desire for mere pennies. When you’re helping your community too, your cup will indeed runneth over.