Have you ever walked into a thrift shop and felt immediately overwhelmed by the mammoth task ahead of hunting for treasures while sorting through the duds?
Is it because you don’t know what to look for or what to avoid?
Well FEMAIL asked Los Angeles ‘thrift queen’ Macy Eleni, AKA @blazedandglazed, who has amassed almost half a million followers on TikTok, to share her top tips and tricks to make shopping secondhand and vintage less intimidating for you.
From the best items to buy at your local Goodwill and where to find a great deal, Macy, who says it’s not where you go but how often you go, has revealed the insider knowledge she’s been collecting since she started thrifting as a teen.
‘Thrifting is a learned skill, one I’ve been perfecting since I was a teen and if you develop the eye, you can thrift good s*** anywhere,’ she told DailyMail.com.
For the best ways to shop secondhand and vintage, Macy has laid it all out below.
Los Angeles ‘thrift queen’ Macy Eleni has amassed almost half a million followers on TikTok through sharing her secondhand and vintage adventures
Trend or staples? What to buy at the thrift store
Step away from the laptop, Macy says, and head to your local thrift store first for both trends and staples.
Sorting through the trash to find a treasure: Macy Eleni’s top tips for thrifting your next favorite outfit
- Get off fast-fashion sites and head to your local thrift shop for both staples and trends
- For quality designer pieces, go to local vintage shops, flea markets or resale sites like eBay
- Head to a small-town thrift shop for the best bargains over big-city stores, and hit up estate sales
- Google is your best friend when it comes to finding out if that designer find is the real deal
- When it comes to finding long-lasting pieces, avoid polyester and acrylic by checking the label
‘On any given day your local thrift store is packed with vintage jeans (worn in just right!), blazers, boots, trousers,’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘Truly whatever quality staples you may be eyeing on any given fast-fashion site…step away from the laptop and try Goodwill first.’
Macy said the thrift store was also a good starting point to see if a trend piece was for you.
‘As far as trends, the thrift is an incredible place to play and try on whatever trends your little heart desires,’ she said.
‘Rapid trend consumption is so incredibly wasteful, when every trend going viral or being predicted has already occurred in years/decades past.
‘These items all exist at the thrift store and are waiting for a second, third or even fourth life.’
But there are two items Macy recommends ‘everyone’ buy secondhand: denim and leather.
‘Vintage denim and leather pieces, in my opinion, really do stand the test of time,’ she said.
‘It will be cheaper, cooler and a lot better for our planet, than buying new.’
Macy adds local thrift stores aren’t just great for finding ‘everyday home decor items, closet staples and anything and everything in between,’ but to support your community.
Step away from the laptop, Macy says, and head to your local thrift store first for both trends and staples. She’s pictured here excited about a secondhand find
Macy said the thrift store was also a good starting point to see if a trend piece was for you
‘I think the coolest thing about thrifting is that everyone is able to hunt after their own specific taste,’ she said.
‘In the thrift store everyone is always looking for different things but as far as fashion goes, I know motto style racing jackets have been going like crazy from resale sights and vintage shops.’
How to find the real deal: Where to look for quality designer pieces
While the thrift shop is great for more everyday items, Macy recommends hunting at stores that are more selective with their stock or online for high-end pieces.
‘For a more curated selection of finds, with say designer pieces that have been carefully chosen and looked after, I’d say a local vintage shop, flea market or resale sites like eBay,’ she said.
While the thrift shop is great for more everyday items, Macy recommends hunting at stores that are more selective with their stock or online for high-end pieces
‘With say designer pieces that have been carefully chosen and looked after, I’d say a local vintage shop, flea market or resale sites like eBay,’ she said
But once you’ve stumbled across what seems to be the holy grail after spotting that Chanel, Gucci or Moschino tag poking out, how do you know it’s the real deal?
Macy says you should turn to the place where everyone can find an answer: Google.
‘You’ll likely stumble upon many bootleg designer pieces as you sift through the thrift, a quick Google search on the specific item you found can usually give you a good idea if the item you are holding is authentic or not,’ she said.
‘If you aren’t sure, I always recommend taking it to be authenticated by a professional.’
Big city versus small town? The best place and time to bag a bargain
To Macy, ‘nothing beats a small town thrift.’
‘I live in Los Angeles but was born and raised thrifting in Ohio,’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘Big cities are great for estate sales, consignment shops, flea markets, especially if you’re looking for a really curated secondhand shopping experience but small town local thrifts are gold mines.
‘At the end of the day, our world is overflowing with clothing and so many of the items thrift stores carry end up in the landfill… there are truly choices everywhere, you just have to look.’
Macy says ‘nothing beats small town thrift,’ but she also recommends hitting up estate sales (pictured) in bigger cities
The ‘thrift queen’ took TikTok fans inside this estate sale. Racks of clothing are seen
She also found a number of Chanel ballet flats at the estate sale she was lucky enough to attend
As for the best time of the day to rock up, Macy says she’s an ‘early-morning thrifter.’
‘But most stores are always replenishing their racks throughout the day,’ she said.
‘As far as days of the week, check your local thrift to find out which days are their discount days.
‘This varies from place to place but almost all thrift stores discount different color tags based on the day of the week.’
As for those looking to go into the business of reselling, Macy says patience is a virtue.
‘I’m not personally a reseller but I know many and I think a common misconception is that it’s an “easy job,” which could not be farther from the truth.
‘It takes a lot of time and patience to curate finds, wash them, repair them, bring them back to life and then actually sell them.’
Macy says Goodwill bins, as well as estate sales, are a great place to source items that you can upcycle.
‘[The bin] is the last spot the clothing Goodwill receives goes after the retail location and before hitting the landfill,’ she said.
‘Estate sales are also riddled with wardrobes waiting to be reborn and passed to the next.’
Macy says Goodwill bins are a great place to source items that you can upcycle. She’s seen thrifting at a thrift store above
More finds inside an estate sale, including this Dolce & Gabbana denim bag (left) and these black boots (right)
Avoid polyester and acrylic: How to tell if an item is good quality
The first place to look is at the label.
‘Tags will give you a really good idea of if the item is vintage or not,’ Macy says.
She also advises to take note of the brands you find and know are quality so you can be on the look out for those in thrift stores or online.
‘Familiarize yourself with the tags of the brands you love or are after, so you can spot them on the racks,’ Macy says.
‘Touch the clothes, feel the material and try to stay away from polyester and acrylic if possible, other fabrics tend to hold up better.’