The answer can be summed up my simply saying “a lot”. New York has a seemingly endless supply of thrift store to fill all your fashion desires. A simple google search will bring an endless list of guides as to the best ones. But how do you sort through it all? With all the options that exist, narrowing your decision presents quite an obstacle. So here is your guide to narrowing down the search for the perfect thrift shop finds.
Location Location Location
Where are you and where are you going? The areas with the most concentrated collections of New York thrift stores are Manhattan and Brooklyn. So if you can probably step outside your front door and find ten thrift shops within a block. This is especially true with Brooklyn’s hipster aesthetic and desire for all things vintage. Fear not if you live in the other three boroughs, there are plenty of shops around you. But it is easiest to find a tight collection of stores within the two aforementioned locations.
If you are a major celebrity or within the 1% you can shop at New York Vintage and where the same pieces worn by people like Lady Gaga or Michelle Obama. But you are probably not that rich so you are going to have to look at budgeting. This tends to be easy with thrift stores because everything is used. But remember if you want nice vintage clothing in good condition it may break the bank. So now how much you’re spending before you fall in love with a piece you can’t afford.
Is it vintage?
Though most thrift shops include both vintage and contemporary items, it is good to know which one you are looking for so you can specialize your search. Many New York thrift shops specialize solely in vintage wear, which is perfect for any one looking for a throwback outfit to post on their insta. Maybe you don’t know what you are looking for and want to mix of new and old pieces. That is totally possible, just make sure you know what kind of store you want.
How unique is your style?
If you’re going to a thrift store, you probably have a fairly unique closet, but there are many subcategories to consider when thrift shopping. Is your wardrobe 90s laid back? Or is it all statement pieces? Is it grandma chic? Many New York thrift stores specialize in one area of fashion, making it easy to discover pieces catered directly to your fashion sense.
Do you want more than just clothes?
One of my best thrift store finds was a clear mermaid backpack with a tail, it was beautiful. But not all thrift stores will go beyond clothing. If you want to find vintage candle holders for your artisanal candles while trying on a pair of rainbow lace up boots you might have to do some research. If you are shopping just for fun, I highly recommend going to a thrift store that has more than just clothing.
Are you selling?
If you need a little extra cash, selling you old clothes is a great way to go. But know that you can’t bring your old white t-shirt with pit stains and expect to get cash. Even gently worn clothing that is still on trend might not be what the store is looking for. Make sure you cater what you are selling to what the stores style is.
Time to shop
Now that you are prepared, it’s time to go out and have a good time. If you still don’t know where to start check out our article on the top thrift shops in New York here.