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Thrifting 101

By Jessica Ingham and Nikie Yang

Welcome to thrifting! A fun, affordable, and trendy way to shop. You may have seen videos of ‘thrift hauls’ or ‘thrifting warehouses’ all over the internet, but let’s face it - Australia doesn’t really have this thrift culture. 

Unfortunately, a fair amount of second-hand clothes don’t really match today’s trends (I’m talking about the ugly patterns and unflattering blouses filling up your local Vinnies).

However, this article is the ultimate guide to thrifting, follow these simple tips and your wardrobe will look absolutely stunning. (For some context, we went thrifting last holidays and found Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, Alannah Hill, Country Road and spent less than $100… i.e., we know what we’re doing.)

To quote the iconic Macklemore (who sung this to ME irl): 

“I'll wear your granddad's clothes

I look incredible

I'm in this big-a** coat

From that thrift shop down the road”

So what is thrift shopping?

As defined by Google, thrifting is “shopping at thrift stores, garage sales or flea markets to purchase gently used items at discounted prices”. That pretty much covers it. Just imagine perusing your local Salvos or Vinnies the way you would in Glassons or Ghanda at Macquarie Centre, except it has a variety of brands, from designer to Shein!

Why should you thrift?

  1. It’s cheap!

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Used/worn = less than brand new price. If you’re a broke teenager (like us) or just tired of paying over $70 for a pair of jeans (in this economy…), thrifting is an easy solution!

  1. It’s sustainable

Also self-explanatory. Instead of contributing to fast fashion, why not invest in second-hand items which reduce the amount of clothes going into landfill?

  1. It’s a great activity

If you’re ever bored during the holidays and want to shop, but don’t want to spend money, thrifting is a great alternative. As an added bonus, there are never any shop assistants glaring at you as you wander around - very obviously not planning on purchasing.

  1. It’s very exciting to find a good piece

The joy of finding a perfect, affordable, trendy item is incredible. I strongly believe everyone should experience it.

  1. It supports charity

Most thrift stores, at least the affordable ones, are an extension of some kind of charity (Vinnies, Salvos, Lifeline, etc.). Thus, thrifting allows you to engage in capitalism and be charitable simultaneously. Did somebody say win-win?

  1. Often pieces are of good quality

Usually, the items in thrift shops are vintage (well duh), but this often means they are actually of better quality than your everyday purchases. Something that has been worn or used already and still has some use left - well surely that seems more appealing than your Shein purchases.

Our Best Thrifting Tips

Thrift Hopping: 

Thrifting is not for the faint of heart. It’s not just another casual activity you can wake up and decide to do. It requires planning and dedication. Your blood, sweat and tears. 

Jokes, it's not that deep, but it is wise to plan ahead. 

  • Choose your suburbs wisely: You’ll want to go thrift in the richer suburbs, where the wealthier families will donate their ‘old’ or out-of-season designer items, such as Northbridge, Woollahra, Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Bellevue Hill and North Sydney.

  • Choose areas with multiple thrift stores: This way you can hit multiple thrift stores in nearby proximity, finding Vinnies, Lifeline, Red Cross and Salvos within walking distance is a gold mine! Lane Cove, Hornsby, Chatswood and Neutral Bay have many great shops nearby!

  • Go to different suburbs and map it out!: Map out a route along the train line or highway (if you can drive) and find different suburbs nearby. Here's an example of Nikie and Jess’:

Purchases: think about your purchases wisely…

  • Is it cute or is it just a discounted designer piece? 

  • Would you wear it more than 5 times? 

  • What would I wear with it? (Not an excuse to buy more clothes lol) 

  • Do I have something similar already?

Be mindful that while thrifting is a sustainable and cheap(er) way to buy clothes, many more families in need are also looking for cute clothes. 

Best Items to Thrift:

  • Tough/thick pieces

  • Jackets, coats and sweaters

  • Jeans and other thick denim

  • Blazers and suit pants

  • Dresses (Especially when you need something fancy, but you’ll only wear it once)

  • Belts

  • Bags (mainly real leather bags)

  • Heels (only if they are fairly unworn)

  • Books and DVDs

  • Crockery/Cutlery

Worst Items to Thrift:

  • Things that can stretch

  • Very old hoodies

  • Activewear (especially tights and bike pants)

  • Sneakers (these are usually quite worn)

  • Undergarments

  • Knitwear that's been worn out 

Searching on Depop

Depop is another great way to thrift from the comfort of your home! Depop is a ‘peer-to-peer online marketplace platform that many call a social shopping app’, which basically consists of teenagers selling their old/unworn clothes for a cheaper price. It's great for finding formal dresses, nice going-out dresses and designer items. 

If you are new to Depop, it’s quite difficult to get in the groove but here are a few tips: 

  • Beware of scammers and users who will resell clothes at a ridiculously high price.

  • Always message the seller before buying to ensure a smooth transaction.

  • To begin finding nice clothes, click on a piece of clothing you were drawn to -> go to their profile -> scroll through their followers (they will often have the same taste and style as you) -> look through their ‘liked’ listings, which you will probably like too!! Overtime, your Depop feed will adapt and change according to your style.


  • If you ever find yourself short of cash, you can list your clothes on Depop and wait (a while) for someone to finally buy your clothes!

Locations/Thrift shops:

Best Op Shops: 

  • Vinnies 

  • Salvos 

  • Red Cross 

  • Uturn shops! (can be more expensive as its a vintage, hand-picked reseller location)

Fashion Thrift Society

  • Australia’s biggest fashion market! A group that moves from city to city holding massive events with lots of different thrift sellers. 

  • Items range from incredible vintage jackets and jeans to cheap bins filled with lots of great items (I found One Teaspoon shorts for $5!!)


  • They are next in Sydney on the 13th of July and the 8th of December.

Best Locations: 

  • Lane Cove Lifeline 

  • Chatswood Vinnies 

  • Hornsby Anglicare 

  • Manly Vinnies (pop by if you're ever at the beach!)

  • Gordon Salvos


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1 Comment

Unknown member
May 29

A great guide to something more people should do!

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