Over the past few years, a soaring trend in shopping has changed the way consumers look at retail. Thrifting has become en vogue not only for those searching for vintage treasure but for the everyday shopper as well. It’s become widely popular for practical and fashionable reasons alike. The most common reason for buying secondhand is the budget. Whether you’re outfitting a family of four or just yourself, it’s a great opportunity to get quality brands for a fraction of the price. Buying secondhand fashion is also a low-risk way to try new trends and styles. It can be hard to pony up for full price on those pieces that are just outside your comfort zone. But when you’re picking them up for half the price, it’s easier to get on board with some adventure in your wardrobe. There’s also the bonus of finding those coveted high-end labels or vintage pieces at low prices. Snagging a Coach purse or an Eileen Fisher sweater at a great deal can be exhilarating!
The Twin Cities has no shortage of secondhand stores offering clothes in a variety of styles, sizes and trends. Right here in St. Louis Park are three top-rated thrift and consignment stores: Goodwill, Second Debut and Rodeo Drive Consignment Boutique. But where do you start? Whether this is your first time shopping thrift or you’re a regular looking to sharpen your bargain-finding skills, here’s an easy breakdown of how to shop smart.
3575 Hwy. 100
Best for: The whole family.
Best finds: Kids’ clothes, basics for you, new items with tags. Goodwill is hands-down the most family-friendly store for thrift. Sizes are available for ages 0 – 100, and it’s a great one-stop shop when trying to get the most out of your precious time and money. Their stores have plenty of inventory and selection.
+ Know what you’re looking for! Goodwill is well organized with good signage, so head directly to the department you need.
+ Know the sales! Sales rotate throughout the week, with a different department on sale every day. Be sure to grab a sale calendar at checkout.
+ Look for new items. Target makes donations of unsold goods on a regular basis. You can find brand-new shoes, apparel and home goods with the tags still on.
4300 W. 36½ St.
Best for: Trends and upgrades to your wardrobe.
Best finds: Shoes, handbags, designer suits/career wear and special occasion.
This destination is not only good for what’s on the rack but for the service, too. Second Debut’s boutique-like setting offers a variety of styles and designer brands.
+ Make a list and be prepared to home in on the specific pieces you are hoping to add to your closet.
+ Dress the part. Make sure you wear proper undergarments and shoes, especially if you are trying on suits or dresses.
+ Ask for help. The staff here knows their stuff and want you to know it, too. Sometimes they have racks of pieces in the back that haven’t been moved to the floor yet; if you let them know what you’re looking for, they may have a hidden treasure for you to try.
(Get Karin’s look for under $60, Dress: Anne Klein, $35 Bag: $25)
Rodeo Drive Consignment Boutique
4110 Minnetonka Blvd.
Best for: Designer labels, statement pieces.
Best finds: Investment items.
Rodeo Drive holds more surprises and hard-to-find pieces when it comes to secondhand shopping. If you have ever shopped at Nordstrom and wished you could find the same designers at a fraction of the cost, this is the store for you. Different from Goodwill and Second Debut, Rodeo Drive is consignment, not donation, which means that the staff may be more selective about what they take on for inventory. They meticulously check for flaws, damage and out-of-date styles. You are more likely to find something current and in like-new condition here.
+ Don’t shop in haste. It’s easy to be won over by a pair of Prada shoes in your size and price range, but being a savvy shopper is just as important here as it is at the department store.
+ Know a good deal. Though they may be less than department store prices, styles can still be expensive, and you need to stick to a budget.
+ Check back regularly. Because these are consignment stores, styles are coming onto the sales floor at all hours of the day and days of the week. Inventory is based on the trend offered by the consigner.
+ Try on everything. Fit and fabric are the most important judgments you need to make when shopping.
+ Buy smart. Prices will be higher, so some purchases might still be an investment. Make sure you are buying something that fits you well and flatters your figure; don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal!
(Lindsey’s look for under $30 Blouse: Chicos, $13 Cardigan: $15)
Meet your thrifting expert!
Lindsey Froemming is the owner and lead stylist of Fashion Fix, which offers a variety of wardrobe services in the St. Louis Park area, including personal shopping, in-home wardrobe consultations and style workshops.
“Don’t hide yourself! Wearing shapeless garments or pieces that are too drapey during pregnancy are likely to make you look shapeless rather than pregnant. Fitted tops with open layers show your cute baby bump and help to maintain a clear silhouette on your frame.”
+ A Special thanks to
Hair: Emily Olson, The Hair District in St. Louis Park, Sheer Elegance Event Hair &Makeup
Makeup: Erica Conlon, Sheer Elegance Event Hair & Makeup