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Today’s nifty thrifty lesson:


A few days ago I put a poll in one of my posts asking people why they don’t thrift.  I thought the most common answer would be ‘I don’t have time’ (especially after this article that linked me in it…claiming I somehow have the time to shop ‘several times a week’ totally bullshit false).  Turns out, ‘I can’t find my size’ is the most common issue.  This is a very valid concern so I’m going to tackle it in this post.

The sizing of clothes can be a source of anxiety for any shopper.  It’s not even easy to walk into a retail store and find your size every time, especially since many of
us are different sizes in different stores.  Thrift stores can be tricky as well when it comes to sizes.  Since the clothing is from pretty much every store ever, you’re not going to be one uniform size like you would if you were only shopping at The Gap.  Also, it can be from different decades, so a size 6 from the 70’s is not nearly a size 6 today.  One trick I find helpful is to know what sizes you are in different brands.  This way when you’re shopping and come across a certain brand, you’ll have a rough estimate about whether or not it will fit.  Again, I can’t believe I’m going to do this but here’s a breakdown of my sizes in different clothing companies.  It shows just how much sizing varies

My General Sizing
Pants: 28
Tops: M
Dress: 6

My Specific Sizing
7 For All Mankind: 28/29
Citizens of Humanity: 27
J. Crew: 30
Old Navy: 6
Forever 21: 28
Old Navy: S
Ann Taylor: 8
J. Crew: M
The Gap: dress size 6
BB Dakota: dress size 4
H&M: dress size 8
New York and Co: M
J. Crew: 6

As you can see, I’m all over the place.  I have a general idea of my size, and that helps me pick out clothes from brands in which I don’t know my specific size.  But, nothing is set.  That being said, I highly recommend that you try on a size below and above your general size because you just never know.  Plus, something that is too big can potentially be altered or belted…there are a lot of options.

Those people who are not ‘standard’ sizes (hate that word but not sure what else to say) such as plus sizes or very tiny sizes will have to look a little harder. Some thrift stores will have a plus size section, making it super easy to find clothes and cutting down on the amount of time spent searching.  Sorry to the 00’s out there, there’s not a tiny section so you’ll still have to search. I’ve found in my shopping at Goodwill that they typically have a very wide range of sizes.  In fact I once found size 26 and size 31 7 For All Mankind jeans in one visit

Not understanding how the thrift store organizes their clothes can lead you to think that they don’t have your size.  Thrift stores tend to organize differently.  Goodwill organizes by color usually.  Some GW’s will even organize by size within color (which is awesome). Other stores may just sort by size and others may just sort by clothing type. If a store does organize by size, it usually goes from smaller to larger, so that makes it easy for you to jump from section to section. I highly suggest just walking around the store a few times to figure out how they’ve organized it.  Or better yet, if you’re not shy, feel free to ask the sales associates who will be more than happy to explain it to you.  I find that once you understand the system it’s much easier to find your right size.

One last tip I have for you is to understand the different types of sizing. You may know that you’re an 8 in pants (and we already talked about trying a size up and down) but that means you’re probably also a size 30.  Being a Medium in tops will mean you’re probably a 4 or 6 as well. Here is a really helpful chart I found online.

European sizes vs. American sizes can also create issues, so here are two more charts…one for clothing and one for shoes.

I hope you find all of these tips helpful.  Don’t be discouraged if you can’t immediately find pieces in your size, and don’t be scared to ask for clarification of the organization of the store.  I know it can be daunting to look at those racks and racks of clothes, but remember to try on anything you’re interested in and consider tailoring.  Do you have any tips when it comes to thrifting and sizes? Please share below!