Fashion Maven: When shopping, learn to think thrifty

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By Alexandra Hehlen

After spending two hours in a thrift store in Las Vegas, N.M. a few weeks ago, I was excited.
Sure, I’d shopped at thrift stores multiple times before, but this time, I had mastered it. I’d learned the tricks to making smart buys at low prices and I’ve decided to share them with you.
Thrift stores are overwhelming. There are always mounds of items everywhere. Clothes slide off the hangers and slump onto the floor, kids look at toys and leave them littered about and shelves full of old possessions look close to cracking in two.
The trick is to get past these things. Put clothes back onto hangers and be careful not to trip on toys. But remember that going into a thrift store is not a cleaning exercise, it’s a shopping trip.
Once you are able to get through the mess, head over to where the clothes are. Begin at the end of a row or rack of clothes and leaf through every article.
The key here is patience. It may take a while, but sorting through all the clothes in your size can be very rewarding. As you go, gather a few pieces that you like at first glance. Quickly hold them up to yourself so that you can get a rough idea of whether they will fit.
Once you have the collection of clothes that you like, carefully inspect each one for stains, holes, rips or discoloration. If any of these are found, put the item back. It may be beautiful and you may love it to pieces, but truthfully, soon it will actually be in pieces.
Next, go snooping around in every other corner of the thrift store. Sometimes you can find a secret little rack of clothes that everyone overlooks.
Then, ask an employee if there is a dressing room. If there is, you’re in luck.
Sometimes, though, there will be no place for you to try on your clothing, so make sure that whenever you go thrift store shopping, you wear a tank-top underneath the shirt you’re wearing and maybe wear a pair of leggings under a skirt.
This way, you can try on shirts and jackets over the tank top, and dresses, shorts, pants or skirts over the leggings.
    Once you get into the swing of things, thrift store shopping is a blast! You can truly luck out with great deals.
And remember, this year’s fashion is focusing on one major aspect: old is new — and thrift stores are the home of this trend.