GoodwillNyNj’s Guide to Thrifting, Part 3: the 60-Minute Tour du Thrift

Last week we covered the 20-Minute Thrift Run our How to Thrift series but this week, we’re raising the stakes. That’s right; it’s time for GoodwillNyNj thrift expert Emme Bonilla to show you how to make the most of a slightly more serious style adventure: the 60-Minute Tour du Thrift. Get your walking shoes & cameras ready, voyagers – this one’s going to be a wild ride!

Can you find a new thrift style in only 60 minutes? With Emme's help, you better bet your smart thrift buckaroos you can!

Here’s the keyword, 60-minute thrift explorers: Focus. Just like you’d aim for the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, you’re better off if you enter that Goodwill with some kind of a plan. It helps if you go in with a clear idea of what you need, whether it’s a pair of shoes or a floral dress.  When you narrow your options, it makes the decision making process easier (i.e. “I need a long-sleeved button-down shirt in a dark color.” or “I want a mid-length skirt in a bright color.”) so you can filter out the things that don’t meet your requirements.

Still, some people just prefer to wander the Louvre. That’s okay too; they discover incredible artwork they’d never have imagined. It’s the same thing with thrifting. If you don’t have anything specific in mind, try to browse by areas, and don’t be afraid to get physical. I like to run my hands lightly over the clothes, feeling their texture and stopping over things that grab my attention.

Of course, having the benefit of trying clothes on makes a huge difference on whether you buy them or not. If it’s too big, you can alter the find, but there are some snags that aren’t nearly as easy to fix. Here are a few to watch out for:

  • It’s too small – The wonderful thing about Goodwill is that you can find one-of-a-kind items. But it’s not so wonderful if it’s not in your size. In this case, my advice is to take a breath and put it back on the rack. There will be other wonderful finds in your size, trust me!
  • It’s missing a button, has a rip, a small stain – Be honest: will you really have the time and patience to patch up that rip? If not, move on. On the other hand, if you enjoy DIY projects you can really go to town with less-than-perfect pieces. A blazer that’s missing a few buttons can be given a new life by getting new buttons. A white shirt with an ink stain on the sleeve can be dyed dark blue. A ripped belt loop can be repaired with a few easy stitches.
  • It’s not exactly what you were looking for – You wanted a black leather jacket but you could only find a brown jacket that fits PERFECTLY. There’s no easy solution. If the piece you found works with the rest of your closet as well as the one you imagined finding, then snatch it up! If you’ll be thinking of the black jacket whenever you wear the brown one, keep looking for your dream one!
A recent Emme Tour du Thrift find: Michael Kors, $14.99! This is why I always head to the shoe section first. 😉

Pro Thrifting Tip: Go directly to the section you like to browse through the most instead of working your way through the store. I always make a bee-line for the shoes upon entering any Goodwill to make sure I can snatch up anything worthwhile.

What’s been your best Tour-du-Thrift find? Come share your thoughts in the comments here, on the A Good Look by GoodwillNyNj Facebook Page or over at @GoodwillNyNj. Ciao!


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