Sunday, December 18, 2011

Plato's Closet Shopping Tips

If you're lucky enough to have a Plato's Closet nearby you know just how awesome it can feel to find something that would normally go for $20+ at popular mall stores like Forever21 and Wet Seal for a hugely discounted price, usually in the neighborhood of $6-8 depending on the item. If you don't have a Plato's Closet near you, you may not even know what it is. Plato's Closet is a thrift store that specializes in up to date fashion styles seen in mall stores within the last two years. If you're looking for stylish items, Plato's is a much better choice than a store like Good Will where you will probably sift through racks of sweaters with cat appliques before you find anything worthwhile. Of course these used articles of clothing have to come from somewhere, and Plato's will purchase your gently used clothes from you but they are a bit on the picky side as far as what they will take and don't offer much money. For the time being I will state that Plato's is a much better place to buy from than to sell. Several of the staples of my wardrobe have been purchased there and over the course of my frequent visits I've picked up a few strategies that can help you get the most out of your Plato's Closet experience.

1. If possible, stop at Plato's Closet before going shopping at the mall. 
I'm fortunate enough to have my local Plato's Closet only a block away from my nearest mall and I've found that stopping at Plato's prior to going shopping can save some big bucks, especially if you know what you're looking for beforehand. If all the mall stores are carrying the latest trend that you're dying to get your hands on it's worth a shot to see if Plato's has what you're looking for first, but of course this will always be luck of the draw and the more recent the trend the less likely they are to have a wide selection of it.

2. Buy basics! 
If you're looking for staples like leggings, belts and tank tops this should be your first stop. On any given day they will likely have a good selection of basics in a wide range of sizes so finding discounted pieces to build your wardrobe will be a piece of cake.

3. DON'T buy shoes!
I admit I do have two pairs of cute flats that I bought at Plato's that I wear regularly. This applies more to anything with a heel. For starters, even new shoes that are sold at non-department mall stores are usually of pretty poor quality and most likely will not be very comfortable. Now add the fact that someone else's feet have been all up in there and you end up with something you probably don't want to own. If you absolutely must buy shoes, be extremely discerning about the construction and hose those babies down with some anti-bacterial when you bring them home.

4. Check out the accessories.
Accessories at Plato's are a steal. Regardless of whether I purchase any clothes I always walk out with at least a few accessories, at around $2 a piece you can't go wrong and they usually have a huge selection organized by color and style. Just remember to sanitize earrings before wearing them.

5. Don't buy it just because it's cheap.
Shop as though you were paying full price. Even if $10 sounds cheap, it's ten dollars wasted if you never wear it. Plato's has fitting rooms, so be sure to use them! I found two skirts that I loved while shopping today, but after trying them on I discovered that they were both too big and didn't sit on my waist properly. Don't assume it will ft just because it's the right size. Brand sizing can vary greatly and in a store that carries many different brands it can be difficult to guess what will fit.

Many of these tips can apply to any fashion thrift store, it doesn't have to be Plato's. Keep these in mind when you're out bargain hunting and you'll hopefully leave with something that you love.

What are some of your favorite places in your area to buy second hand clothes? What are your thrifting tips and tricks? Tell me in the comments!

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