Thrift Shopping in New Orleans

20:30 April 01, 2015
By: Kimmie Tubré
[Courtesy of Getty Images/iStock Photo]

The laissez-faire city has always been a place of bargain shopping, with many buyers and sellers of secondhand products. In the last decade, thrifting has become one of the most popular fashion trends across the United States and parts of Europe.

Thrifting does not only refer to the act of actually shopping in thrift stores. The term "thrifting" simply refers to any form of secondhand shopping, whether it is shopping at thrift stores, flea markets, and consignment and vintage shops, Craiglist, or even yard sale findings.

Thrift Stores & Flea Markets

One of the most popular forms of thrifting is the actual act of shopping in a thrift store. Thrifting in modern times is not always for the economist, but it has mostly become the hipster's trendy playground. It is the place where you can find classic pieces and quality brands that you may have not seen in years, or possibly never at all. When asked about her own thrifting benefits, Heather, a manager at No Fleas Market on Magazine Street, said, "I always found that I can find classic pieces at a better, affordable price, sometimes I find designer brands that are simply made better."

It's always fun in thrift stores to mix and match.

Certain late summer trends, such as floral prints and bright colors, are at best the easiest things to find in a thrift store. One of the top sellers for New Orleans, of course, is the sundress.

Jewelry is also a huge seller among thrift stores and flea markets. The French Market has been praised for having some of the most unique jewelry, which comes to vendors by the ton in several different varieties.

When it comes to buying thrift, there are a few things to keep in mind as you move in to tackle a store or market. The key word is tackle: thrifting can be a fun time, or even an adventurous excursion, if you are prepared for it. Before any thrift store shopping spree begins, you must make sure that you have enough spare time. From Red White and Blue to the Salvation Army thrift store, larger thrift stores are sometimes pretty crowded. As a first-timer, it is important to go into the store with no major intentions. Always remember that it is easier to survey the store first before going in to look for an outfit. It can be admittedly frustrating as a first-timer when you need a particular item or if you are time-limited. Having time to discover is key in a thrift store, because within the discovery adventure, you will always find great treasures. The more time and patience you have, the better your spring shopping experience will be, and the more you will most likely find.

Consignment and Vintage

While thrifting is an inexpensive, fun adventure, it simply just isn't for everyone. Even some of the thriftiest shoppers have trouble handling the patience that thrifting entails. If patience is not a virtue, but secondhand bargain deals are, then consignment is definitely the answer.

Aren't they the same thing? Not quite. Thrift stores and consignment shops are different in several ways. Unlike thrift stores, consignment stores do not take clothing donations. Most of them are fairly particular in what they pick for their stores. This is a good thing in your bargain spring wardrobe quest, because in consignment shops, you are more likely to walk away with something of a nice quality, and in some of the higher-end consignment and vintage stores, you may get a fabulous deal on an expensive brand or amazing piece of antique jewelry. One of the only drawbacks is that in a consignment store, you may pay ten dollars for a blouse as opposed to the three dollars you'd spend at a thrift store. But, as in the case of Miss Claudia's Vintage's weekend sidewalk sales, many consignment and vintage shops in the city are very affordable. Consignment shops are typically much more organized than thrift stores. But organization isn't always the best thing when looking for fun eccentric summer pieces; you're more likely to find your best items in unorganized thrift stores.

Consignment stores in the Big Easy are unique entities that are usually fun, one-of-a-kind stores with individual standout perks. Funky Monkey in Uptown New Orleans is definitely worth checking out. Not only is it a consignment shop, it also has a super cool T-shirt press with crazy vintage slogans, old store signs like the K&B symbol, and many more options.

Vintage and consignment shops are big business in the Big Easy.

It's an everyday affair to see people with bags of clothing hanging outside of Buffalo Exchange or Swap in Old Metairie waiting for the doors to open and let them in to sell their goods. Many of these selective stores have amazing buys that will fit in quite nicely with your new thrifty summer collection.

Sell by Owner

Yard sales are adventures, but not always thought of when it comes to clothing. Try Craigslist on for size. People will surf it for furniture or other goods, but rarely use the site to build an inexpensive wardrobe. The fact that styles are always reinventing themselves into new eras is always fun when it comes to secondhand shopping at a yard sale or on Craigslist.

Embark on an adventurous quest to create a remarkable thriftstyled summer wardrobe on a minimalist budget. All the key tools and differences are spelled out for you here. Hopefully a lot has been learned, and this can be used as a guide to a terrific day of summer secondhand wardrobing. So, grab a daiquiri and give yourself a full day of thrifting and wardrobe creating on a humble but happy budget.

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