Photography by: Daniel Fabia
A comfy sweater is pretty much like wearing a hug that keeps hugging all day long. I *love* me a closet full of sweaters. In fact… I have me a closet full of sweaters lol. The right ones can be just as interesting and chic as they are comfortable.
Sweaters, -partly because they’re so effortless to just throw on– are some of my favorites pieces. They’ve always been a big staple in my wardrobe.
Believe it or not, I stock up on the raddest sweaters by thrifting them. Yepppp- as in buying them used from thrift stores vs. brand new from somewhere else. I just get such a kick out of finding 3 dope sweaters for less than $20. To me, it’s insane! And that thrills me just as much as an expensive purchase.
Another thing, when budgeting.. often the sweaters you’ll find thrifting will be better quality than what you’ll find at fast fashion stores. Fast fashion has a place, just saying you have the option!
Here are some other reasons I thrift most of my sweaters:
1. I save money. A LOT of money.
2. I find the coolest sweaters that no one else will have.
3. I feel more of a personal connection to the clothes because I sought them out and really hunted for the diamonds in the rough.
Granted, I know what I’m doing in thrift stores. I know what to look for. I know what is worthwhile and what isn’t. Ya gotta know the tricks of the thrift trade if you want to thrift yourself. Now I’m going to tell you exactly what to look for.
Things to keep in mind when scouring thrift stores for sweaters:
1. Make sure there is no obvious pilling on your sweaters. You know… those little balls that can start piling up. If there is some pilling but it’s minor- then buy the sweater and try “shaving” the pills off with a disposable razor. This works most of the time. But if there is a lot of pillage, I usually won’t buy the sweater because it’s too much work. Although Mizz. Martha Stew has some good advice on stubborn pilling.
2. Don’t pay to much mind to your sizing with sweaters. You can go a smaller size and find some cropped versions, or size up a few for that cute baggy sweater look. Sometimes I even look in the boys or mens department for sweaters– there are seriously so many uni-sex looking sweaters over there. Don’t ignore it! I found one of my favorite cardigan sweaters in the men’s section once. I’ve had it for years.
3. Don’t disregard a sweater just because it has obnoxious shoulder pads. Shoulder pads can be cut out! I have a handful of sweaters (I get so many compliments on) that I would have turned away just because they originally had shoulder pads.
4. Speaking of shoulders, pay attention to them. Most sweaters are supposed to be folded because on a hanger the shoulders can be stretched out of shape- especially the knits that are more loosely woven. Most thrift shops aren’t going to fold their sweaters. They hang em. So check em- do shoulders look to be in good shape or do they seem kind of stretched out? Observe and then make the call!
5. Smell is something to consider. Yes, thrift stores can smell funky sometimes. But let me tell you this- if you dry clean your sweater, you are good to go. Your sweater will NOT smell like the thrift store. I promise. So unless it’s SO RANK that your nostrils practically collapse when smelling it, don’t write it off just because it temporarily “smells like a thrift store.” It doesn’t linger after you wash or dry-clean it.
And that’s it y’all! The Bay Area has some RAD thrift stores. Check them out! Don’t be scurrrrrddd. Thrifting is actually really fun if you give yourself the time to do it right.
Where are some of your favorite thrift stores? In San Francisco, my personal favorites have been Thrift Town in the Mission (2101 Mission St.) and the Goodwill on Fillmore (1669 Fillmore st.)— where our Intern/Events gal Alison once found a gorgeous DIOR coat for EIGHT DOLLARS by the way. Seriously… look!
So Don’t knock the thrift game! And if you’re new to it- sweaters are a GREAT place to start!
Katey || INFP || Founder/Director of Violet Fog ||