A Guide to Thrift Shopping + A summer look book. (How I style my thrifted finds & the cost).

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

Okay. I’m going to be completely honest with you… I never used to like thrift shopping. Crazy, I know! The thought of going through unorganised clothes and sizes overwhelmed me and I often set myself up for failure before I even began. Can you relate girl?

Thrifting is an art and I truly believe anyone can do it and do it well, you just need the right tools to set yourself up for success and I am here to give them to you!

Before we jump into what I believe to be the 4 main points of how to thrift shop, I want to give you a little info + background about the fast fashion industry and the impact it has on not only the economy but society too.

Fast fashion definition: inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.

These are just a FEW stats I found when doing some deeper research on this topic:

• According to non-profit Remake, 75 million people are making our clothes today, and 80 percent of apparel is made by young women between the ages of 18 and 24.

• Garment workers, primarily women, in Bangladesh make about $96 per month. The government’s wage board suggested that a garment worker needs 3.5 times that amount in order to live a “decent life with basic facilities.”

• A 2018 U.S. Department of Labor report found evidence of forced and child labor in the fashion industry in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and other countries.

• Making a pair of jeans produces as much greenhouse gases as driving a car more than 80 miles.

• Discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years.

• It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, enough to meet the average person’s drinking needs for two-and-a-half years.

Information above was directly from this website.

Not only are women and men treated poorly in this industry, children are also forced to work in dangerous conditions and work long hours.

I still have a long ways to go when it comes to educating myself on this topic but I know enough to know what I want to put my money towards and it’s definitely NOT fast fashion industries. It absolutely breaks my heart to know that human beings are being treated so terribly at the cost of people having the latest and greatest trends. It’s disgusting and it’s something we should all be thinking twice about when it comes to where and how we shop. This is one of the many reasons I LOVE thrifting. It is easily one of the more sustainable ways of shopping without breaking the bank. By choosing to thrift shop means you are purchasing recycled clothing. This is having a lesser impact on our beautiful planet AND you aren’t directly supporting the cruel acts done towards garment workers.

My mum LOVES to thrift shop, we actually call it op shopping in Australia! Haha. Every time we went together I just wanted to be done, because as I wrote above, it often overwhelmed me, up until about 2 years ago. As I started learning more and more about the impacts of fast fashion, I knew I didn’t want to be supporting that but I also couldn’t afford to buy from sustainable brands at the time. That’s where my love for thrift shopping was birthed. It’s taken me years to get it down to a tee but let me tell you, if you follow these next few points, I can almost guarantee (depending on the thrift store you go to of course) you are going to be met with success.

First and foremost, Go in with an idea! This step is SO crucial for your thrifting adventures. I used to go in with no idea of what I was looking for and usually ended up with pieces I wasn't completely in love with and had no idea how to style. I highly encourage you to create a mood board before you head into the shop. I am a visual person and being able to have something to refer back to when I’m out is always amazing. I’m not a fashion expert by any means but this is something I have recently started doing and have found it to be quite the game changer. I usually create my boards through pinterest. I can link mine for you here if you want some inspiration.

Second order of business, Know your style! We are all created so differently — we have different body shapes, sizes and preferences when it comes to fashion. Fashion is one of the many cool ways you get to express yourself. My best advice is to own your style and don’t stray from it. It’s okay if it looks different from someone else style, this is one of the many incredible things that makes you, YOU!

Let’s break down the knowing your style section a little more.

  • You should have created your mood board already so you have an idea of what you're looking for. Ask yourself... Is it going to be a day focussed on tops (specifically T-shirts, crop tops or singlet tops). Or maybe you are only looking for a dress for an event you have coming up. Orrrrrrrr you want to go wild and buy a whole new thrifted wardrobe. What ever it is, make sure you stick to it. Another little tip in this section is to try and see clothes beyond what they are in the store. You can always add or take things away, you can crop large t-shirts to fit you better and hem long pants if you need to. Thrifting is a creative process. Don’t forget to have fun with it!

  • One of my favourite pieces of advice when it comes to thrifting is to stick to a colour pallet!!!!! This is truly something I wish I had been doing a looooong time ago. It would have saved me SO much time, money and stress. I literally used to wear rainbow clothes. That was actually my style. Haha! While that’s happy and brings out so much statement, I’ve grown a lot since then and find that neutral tones are such a good fit for me. Like give me allllllllll the earth tones, burnt oranges and whites. It’s literally my jam. Now when I go thrifting those are the colours my eyes are drawn to. I don’t go searching through the bright purple and red sections because that’s not the pallet I’m looking for. Narrowing it down has helped more than you know and I highly recommend you find a pallet that works well for you and go for it girl.

Third tip. This may seem pretty obvious but it’s important… Make sure you’re actually going to wear the item of clothing you purchase. In the past I have been guilty of buying things that I’m not 100% sure I’ll wear, but because it’s cheap I purchased it anyway. In all honesty, those pieces have sat in my cupboard or drawers untouched and back in my donation bag a few months later. Buy clothes that you actually need and know you are going to be able to get good use out of. Basics are one of my fav things to buy at thrift stores because they are SO versatile.

Another little note when it comes to thrifting. I ALWAYS cycle in and out of my clothing. If I'm buying new pieces I like to go through my wardrobe to see what item I can donate in place of what I have just purchased. I wouldn't call my self a minimalist but I'm more on the minimal side and try to buy things that I know I will get use out of, especially when it comes to clothing items.

Last but not least, When and where to shop! My goodness, this point is so important. Since moving to the States I usually choose to thrift shop at Goodwill.

Goodwill works to enhance people’s dignity and quality of life by strengthening their communities, eliminating their barriers to opportunity, and helping them reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.

This is Goodwills mission statement found on their website. I will link it here for you to read more about their company.

I love, love, love being able to support businesses like this and I really admire the work this company does for our wider community.

As for when to shop. If you asked me this a year ago, I would have told you that 99 cent days are the best days to shop. I mean you can get 20 items of clothing for $20. Who doesn't love that? BUT, hear me out. Those aren't the best days to shop in my opinion. I much prefer to go on normal weekdays when you have the time + room to shop and look through each item of clothing thoroughly. I do still go to 99 cent days but unless you get there right as the doors open, a lot of good pieces are already picked over and it’s a little more stressful because it’s PACKED. I have been super successful in my thrifting trips recently and I am okay to pay a few extra dollars because it’s a much more enjoyable experience.

Okay! This is a fun little portion of the blog I wanted to add in! I want to show you guys a summer look book, how I style a few of my recent finds (there's too many to fit into this full post. Keep an eye out on my instagram because I might do some fun little hauls + OOTD's on my stories) and how much everything cost me.


First up we have these beautiful levi denim shorts. I picked these up at a sweet little thrift store in downtown Lincoln for $6. They were originally jeans but I decided to cut them into shorts because I didn't love how they fit as jeans!

You truly can pair anything with denim and it's going to look amazing. I've paired these with a neutral beige singlet top. It has some ribbed detailing. This singlet was $3.99 from goodwill.

In the bottom photo of the collage I have also paired the shorts with the same colored t-shirt. I told you I'm absolutely loooooooving neutrals recently. This t-shirt was also $3.99 from goodwill. I got it over sized so I can tuck it or tie it in a knot.

I found these fun little paper bag denim shorts on one of my most recent thrift trips and I'm seriously SO happy with this find. They are definitely a size too big for me but I wear them with a belt and I'm good to go. These were $4.49 from goodwill.

I usually pair loose bottoms with a tighter top but for the sake of this blog I wanted to showcase as many thrifted finds as possible for you guys. I paired it with a striped white + baby yellow t-shirt which isn't super clear in this photo. This t-shirt was only 99 cents!

I have been looking for a pair of shorts like this for a while now but never wanted to buy any from fast fashion retailers. Although it's taken a while to get my hands on these, I feel good knowing I waited. I found them for a much cheaper price, like literally a fraction of the cost and supported my local thrift store instead of the fast fashion industry.

I am SOOOOO freaking happy with this sweet find. I found this incredible dress and instantly fell in love. It is corduroy with buttons all the way down AND it has pockets!!!

I love buying dresses because they can be such a versatile item of clothing. As you can see I have paired it with this super cute cropped white t-shirt but I could also wear it without.

I got this corduroy dress for 99 cents at goodwill.

The cropped white t-shirt I got for 99 cents at goodwill too.

This outfit is truly effortless and it cost me $2. This is one of the many reasons I love to thrift. You can find so many hidden treasures for such incredible prices!

If you can't tell by now, I am a sucker for demin and t-shirts. These next few finds were truly incredible. I had been looking for a denim skirt to replace the one I already had at home. I found that the one I already had didn't fit me right. I wanted one that was a little longer and a different colour denim. I stumbled across this amazing find at my local goodwill and instantly had to get it. It fits me so nicely and it's super comfortable. I love that it has some distressed detailing at the bottom, it can be paired with anything and it's going to look good. This denim skirt was $3.99.

I paired it with the white crop top that I wrote about in the previous look.

I also found this beautiful tie top recently. I love the colour and the fit. I'm right into burnt orange at the moment. I think it's such a statement colour without being too much. It was $3.99.

Below is a little collage of a few more of my fav pieces. Each of the shirts in the top left hand corner + middle right were between 99 cents and $4.

The sweet little corduroy shorts on the top right were 99 cents. They were originally pants but I have cut them into shorts and love how they look. I am going to sow the sides so the rolled bottoms stay up a little better.

Well, there you have it my loves. That is my guide to thrifting and the top tips I stand by when it comes to second hand shopping. I truly hope this post has helped you and inspired you to embrace the thrifting soul that's inside of you waiting to break out. Remember that thrifting doesn't have to be overwhelming. Follow the tips I have given you and I promise you will be golden. I would also like to add that no one is perfect, including myself, when it comes to how we shop. I have just tried my best to be a little more intentional about how and where I spend my money over these past 2 years. It's a journey and I'm still learning so much but I'm giving myself grace along the way. I would love, love, loveeeee to see any little treasures you find on your thrifting ventures. You can tag me over on my instagram. I'll leave it for you here.

If you would like to see more posts similar to this one, be sure to let me know. I'm always thrifting so I can definitely do look books for each season!

With love,

Bethany xx


The Good Trade - The truth behind fast fashion

The Good Trade - What is fast fashion

World Resources Institute - The impacts of fast fashion