The Fashionista is in: Summer thrifting

From stacks of polos to racks lined with Louboutins , the Twin Cities house a number of summer thrifting spots.

Sophia Vilensky

Molly King, marketing manager at The Arc Greater Twin Cities, has a soft spot for black skirts. Recently, the closet full of ink welcomed something new — an orange skirt. 

Thrift shopping allows you the ability to deviate from your comfort zone — after a while, it becomes a part of the fun.

The warm summer breeze brings the perfect opportunity to be more adventurous in your personal style. Environmentally friendly and often charitable, thrift shopping allows you to indulge and explore the stretches of style without the guilt that comes with an empty wallet.

“I get at least three new items a week,” King said. “They’re always my favorite.”

Here are five tips to get the most out of a summer thrift haul.

Be playful

Inexpensive pieces beg playfulness; straying from your security-blanket outfit is encouraged. While most would not venture anywhere near the lingerie section, a vintage slip dress can be the base of a perfect look for a steamy summer night.

The ultimate worn-in vintage T-shirt that someone wouldn’t dare spend $30 on at Urban Outfitters can be purchased for mere pennies. You don’t have to feel remorseful after cutting it up if it would look darling sleeveless. With scissors in hand, the buyer becomes the artist.

Many stores have areas designated for designer goods to ease the process of searching.

Staunch thrifters, however, appreciate the wonder of never knowing what they may find amid a seemingly endless sea of Target-brand t-shirts.

“I find most of [my items] hidden in the racks,” King said.

Shop by outfit

When thrifting, visualization and utilization are key. 

To avoid becoming overwhelmed, King recommends having three specific items or categories of items in mind when you set off in a store.

Michelle Raven, a personal stylist at Arc’s Value Village, built her occupation on the art of the find. She cites shopping by outfit as a key to success. This way a stray piece that doesn’t flow with your closet won’t end up in the discard pile during next year’s spring cleaning.  

“Even if you don’t need a pair of shoes but know that pencil skirt would look better with a pair of pumps — try them. The way you look and feel can impact whether or not you choose to purchase something,” Raven said. 

Come prepared

Many thrift stores do not have dressing rooms, so Raven recommends wearing a comfortable outfit that wouldn’t hinder the process of trying things on. She also recommends keeping a bit of cash on hand. Many thrift stores have not yet graduated to credit card acceptance — let alone a chip reader.

Understand your vision

“Find inspiration before you even set foot in a store. Save a couple pictures of outfits you admire on your cellphone or send a picture of a potential purchase to a friend for input,” Raven said.

Keep a calendar

Most stores hold weekly bargain days. Keeping these on your calendar can help make a day of thrifting even more successful.

With Memorial Day approaching, there are plenty of sales popping up across the Twin Cities. Google is your friend, but it doesn’t hurt to call your favorite shops and ask about upcoming deals. 

It’s important to note that the art of the find takes dedication. Thrifting is a labor of love. Thrift stores offer sanctuary from the summer heat and add nuance to your closet.

In the midst of so many treasures, you have to remind yourself not to go overboard. Soon enough winter will be upon us again, and our closets must make room for snow pants.

“If you buy something, donate something,” King said. “It’s important to keep the closet in balance.”