We’ve all heard the phrase ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, and award winning Atlanta style blogger and expert fashion thrifter Keren Charles has taken that phrase literal. Charles started a side hustle nearly two years ago hipping fashionistas, looking for one-of-a-kind garments and accessories, to the art of thrifting through a chartered bus tour around Atlanta to the best thrift, consignment and vintage shops.
We caught up with Charles to find out what it’s like to join her ‘Thrifting Atlanta Bus Tour’, tips to being an expert thrifter and the difference between thrifting and consigning.
Tastemaker: For those who have never experienced your thrifting tour, what can they expect?
Keren: We will visit six stores. The day will start with a welcome reception and shopping at Nearly New Thrift shop.We then board a chartered bus and visit various stores around the city. While on the bus I give them an insider scoop on what to expect throughout the day, a show-and-tell where guests can rave about what they found and they have a fun opportunity to network with other women who share a love for thrifting.
Tastemaker: What is the biggest misconception about thrifting?
Keren: A lot of people think that clothes are dirty, they will not find really great pieces or they just can’t fathom the thought of wearing someone else’s clothes.
Tastemaker: Ok, so spill the beans and tell us where the best thrift shops are located to find luxury items.
Keren: Honestly, the rule of thumb is the better the area of town the better the store will be. However, clothes that are donated to a chain store are typically sent to a main distribution center, sorted and sent to various thrift stores. I’ve personally seen items that i’ve donated in one area of town show up at a thrift store in another area of town. So you have to check stores often. Also, try becoming social with the staff, who may be able to tell you their shipment dates.
Tastemaker: So break it down for us. What is the difference between thrifting and consignment?
Keren: I’m so glad I get to dispel this! My opinion of thrifting means you are buying used items whether you are buying them from a thrift, consignment or vintage shop–it’s used. There are three different types of thrift stores. You have Goodwill, which is where people are donating items and the clothes aren’t necessarily curated, you have to come in and search for what you want. The consignment store is generally set up like a boutique where people can bring gently used in season items to make some extra cash. Once your item sells, there is usually a 50/50 or a 60/40 split and you will either receive 50 percent of the sale price or 60 percent and the store will retain the other portion. Then lastly, a vintage store is where you would find pieces that have been cherished through time. Vintage means that the item is at least 10 years old. Just because you find something at a thrift store doesn’t mean it’s vintage–a lot of people get that confused. There are different indicators on a garment such as the tag, union label, the way the outfit was made–can all be indications of a vintage item.
Tastemaker: Give us four tips to being a good fashion thrifter.
- Be patient- you don’t want to go thrifting when you have a ton of stuff to do. You want to have time to carefully sort through the selections at at thrift, consignment or vintage store.
- Dress in your thrifting uniform- A thrifting uniform consist of close fitting garments like leggings, fitted shirt, or a maxi skirt or dress. You want to wear your uniform because a lot of your stores don’t have dressing rooms or if they do there are typically a lot of people waiting. Trying on clothes over your uniform makes things very easy.
- Make sure you buy what you would wear- Don’t just buy for the price, buy because it’s what you love.
- Donate stuff you aren’t using- Make it a habit not to accumulate, but to give back. A lot of the thrift stores give to charities so sift through your items and give back.
Tastemaker: Is there anything new this year that you are doing with your thrifting tour that you haven’t done in the past?
Keren: Yes, we are visiting a plus size consignment shop. There are stores that specialize in plus size consignment and we are excited to expose our guests to one on our tour.
The Thrifting Atlanta Bus Tour takes off on Saturday November 3. There are a few more seats available. To purchase tickets visit thriftingatlanta.com