Some helpful hints for thrift store shopping

When I was in high school, one of my embarrassing secret hobbies was bargain shopping.Unfortunately, in Northern Virginia, thrift stores leaned heavily toward the elderly family estate-sale end of the spectrum, and almost inevitably reeked of vap-o-rub and that vinegary smell that old people sometimes get when they start to go bad.However, I soon discovered that if I breathed through my mouth and had a lot of patience, there were wonders to be found.I unearthed old comic books, weird kitchen supplies, and the occasional novelty shirt or jacket that enhanced the John Cryer-as-Ducky Dale look that I secretly aspired to in the late 1980's.

As I got older, my thrift store tendencies more or less stayed the same.One day, however, it occurred to me that I was laying out tons of money to buy professional clothes at department stores while I was surfing the thrift stores for cool, quirky bargains.In the process, I was turning up my nose at classic suits, oxford shirts, sweaters, overcoats, and all the boring, mainstream clothes that I wore every day.