Complete Thrifted outfit from head to toe white Mango top, leather bag and silk maxi skirt all from op-shops.

Complete Thrifted outfit from head to toe white Mango top, leather bag and silk maxi skirt all from op-shops.

I have always been amazed by thrift-shops for as long as I can remember. When I was a child I remember being dazzled by all the boundless treasures I could find in there. I was always fascinated by the term 'one's trash another's treasure' and this concept has stayed with me my whole life. I love the idea of re-cycling, re-using and re-purposing existing items and to this day thrift shopping is still one of the most sustainable ways to shop.  As my love for vintage and thrift shopping grew I found I became quite good at picking up quality items at a fraction of the price. I once found an original vintage tan leather Longchamp bag in a thrift shop bin for $1. My eyes lit up when I discovered it and realised that it was indeed genuine and also in amazing condition. This is one but many of the amazing pieces I have found and over the years. I have picked up some of the best vintage finds from all over the world, from the flea markets in Paris to the big vintage fairs in London to my local neighbourhood in Australia, I knew I had a talent and an eye for quality pieces. This had proven successful when I started getting requests from friends to find them stuff or them wanting to buy the treasures I had found and therefore sparked one of the reasons to start my online boutique EKOLUV.

Here I share with you my top tips on how to Thrift Shop like a pro:

Tip: Choose a couple of items which you see yourself using and are of exceptional quality to last at least the next few seasons.

  • Remember to bring in your old items you no longer need anymore into your local thrift store. Many thrift stores do so much for our community and they need all the support they can get.
  • Always choose quality over quantity, one exceptional quality designer bag is better than five average quality bags that may not go the distance so choose wisely.
  • Don't just buy something because it is cheap, ask yourself do I really need this? And will I really use/wear this item and give it purpose?
  • Look for natural fibres such as silk, wool, cotton, leather etc as these fibres tend to last and are usually of exceptional quality. They also hold their value and are more comfortable to wear/use. (If you are Vegan however you can go for other natural fibres that are not from animals).
  • Clothing is frequently discarded simply because it no longer fits or flatters its original owner, or simply because it's last year's style. Do, however, look over it for obvious damage such as a stain or tear. Keep in mind that most clothing and footwear found at thrift shops can be purchased and altered for a fraction of the price of new items. Additionally, the quality of older items frequently surpasses modern manufacturing techniques and is well worth the price of repair.
  • Check the condition of the item, the item should be in good to excellent condition and if it is not are you going to repair it? Is it possible to repair it if it is not in good condition? There may be extra costs involved If this is the case if you choose an item that needs extensive repair so keep this in mind when deciding to buy an item that is in less than good condition.
  • Check for size and fit, just because something is vintage doesn't mean you can throw it on and it will look amazing. Remember how some dresses were designed then and were 'in style' at the time will not be 'in style' present day.
  • Altering and upcycling is a great way to turn something outdated into something more modern and fresh. You can do this simply by taking up a hem on a skirt or dress or taking out the shoulder pads or re-designing the piece altogther into something really creative and unique.
  • Before buying an item, take a good look at it. Did somebody get rid of it for an obvious reason, or is it in good shape? Is it stained? Does it have any holes or tears that can't be easily fixed?
  • Treat each piece like an investment, it should last and should compliment your existing wardrobe so you wear the item.
  • Check the care tags on each garment/item. Where was it made and what material it is made from?
  • Check for labels, you can find lovely and gently used deisgner pieces at a fraction of the price and make great investment pieces for your wardrobe.
  • When you get home, I recommend hand washing your garments first before wear unless they are 'dryclean only'.