7 Tips for Scoring Awesome Accessories at the Thrift Store

We’ve all had that feeling of dissatisfaction when putting an outfit together. The fit is great, the color contrast is on point, but something is just…missing. Nine times out of ten, what your outfit is missing is the perfect accessory (or two). 

But there’s no need to bust your piggybank for the funds to purchase new accessories. In fact, there’s no better place to find something unique and affordable that fits your style than thrift and vintage shops. Here are 7 tips for scoring awesome accessories at the thrift store.  

Tip 1: Free your imagination

If you find an accessory that’s not quite right, consider how it can be altered before rejecting it out of hand. Purses can transform into clutches, necklaces can be modified into headbands, scarves can be repurposed into belts, and nail-polished designs can brighten up dulled plastic bangles… with a rich imagination, the sky’s the limit.

Tip 2: Shop the displays

Unlike retail store floor displays that showcase merchandise available on nearby racks, thrift shop mannequins are wearing one-of-a-kind outfits and accessories, so don’t be afraid to shop right off of them (believe us, the clerk who dressed them will be flattered). Floor displays are also great sources of inspiration even if the particular pieces aren’t your taste. So don’t shun those mannequins, make friends!

Tip 3: Stock up on jewelry

Thrift and vintage shops usually have substantial jewelry inventories, including tons of top-notch costume jewelry that’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Think statement necklaces, brooches, watches and cocktail rings—sometimes even the right pair of earrings is all you need to make a blah outfit fantastic.

Tip 4: Defy purse conventions

Nothing jazzes up an outfit like a killer purse—especially brightly colored handbags in the summer—but it’s hard to justify paying full price for something you might only use a couple times a year. So don’t be afraid to rock that bedazzled satin clutch at your friend’s wedding or see-through plastic cross-body at that music festival—thrifting means you can afford to be bold.

Tip 5: Hats for one, hats for all

Do you have one of those heads that rarely looks good in hats? Guess what, it’s probably not your head’s fault! With malls offering a limited style variety at any given time, your perfect hat might’ve been on-trend years ago—that’s why thrift stores are your best shot at finding that funky chapeau your lonely head has been waiting for.

Tip 6: Belt it out

Belts have evolved far beyond their utilitarian beginnings as simple trouser-holders. They now come in all materials and colors and have the ability to change the look of any outfit. Thrift stores are a great place to stock up on the basics as well as statement pieces, so keep your eye out for interesting buckles, intricate embossing, and fun cut-outs.

Tip 7: Don’t be afraid of shoes

Do you usually skip the shoe section at thrift stores? If so, you’re missing out on a great way to punch up your wardrobe. Aside from the occasional designer find, secondhand shoe inventory is a treasure trove of quality leather, exquisite details, and fantastic fits. Most just need a quick spray of Lysol and they’re good to go.

Got an addiction to accessories?

Thrift Trader in San Diego is your source for quality accessories in infinite styles – and at affordable prices. We also buy clothing and accessories during our daily buying hours of 10am-6pm, so if you’re ready to trade some neglected accessories for fresh finds, check out one of our two locations, in North Park and Pacific Beach.