10 ways to find hidden gems at stores

When I go shopping I’m always on the lookout for a hidden gem. It doesn’t matter if I’m walking into a thrift store or fast-fashion store, if I’m going to purchase something, I want it to be special. I have plenty things other ladies (and bloggers!) own, but if I’m going to buy it and wear it, it needs to be able to assimilate in my wardrobe and not look like it was purchased on a whim (even if it was).


So how do I do it?

At the store I:

1. sort through the racks. If I’m in a thrift store, I search through all the pieces one-by-one. If I’m in a fast-fashion store, I search a little faster, but I try to be as thorough as possible.

2. pull out the things that look interesting or have potential. I often end up choosing many more things than I’ll end up trying on, but if it has potential, I want to snag it just in case.

3. give it a shot, even if it’s not my style. I know my style and usually stick to it, but if I find something that strikes my fancy, I’m not going to write it off, just because it might not be my thing.

4. sort through my pile after I’ve scoured the racks. I can usually talk myself out of a few things because I have something similar at home. If I’m unsure, it comes to the dressing room with me.

5. try on everything, coats included. I’ll make two piles in my dressing room, “no” and “yes.” Once I’ve gone through the entire pile, I re-try on the “yes” pile, further editing those down.

6. think of at least three different outfits I can make with each piece. If I can do that, it is more likely to become mine. If I can’t I leave it behind (returning it to the appropriate rack, of course).

Once home, with my new purchases, I:

7. start playing visual dress-up with the item. I lay it out with other pieces from my closet, things I wouldn’t usually pair together, to see what looks good. I try to pair with other things that weren’t in the three-outfit rule.

8. think outside the box. Just because I purchased a dress doesn’t mean it can’t be worn under a skirt or with jeans. I try to force everything to have multiple purposes.

9. edit the details. If it has an attached belt or plastic buttons, I’ll remove, update or change those, giving the piece a different look and feel. Sometimes something as simple as removing the loops for a belt or changing buttons can make a huge difference.

10. wear it with confidence. It’s easy to go into a store, buy an outfit off a mannequin and know you look good. But that’s not my purpose. I want to buy something that is special to me, even if tons of other people have it. I make sure that I am comfortable and happy with my new purchase, and I wear it proudly.

Do you have ways to find something special when you go shopping?



10 thoughts on “10 ways to find hidden gems at stores

  1. Usually, it takes me hours before I’ll finally buy something when I go shopping. I make sure to check everything first before purchasing an item that I had laid my eyes on. I don’t usually have more money to splurge and I control myself to buy too much in a day so I have to check everything first before paying.

    I also picture items that I already have in my closet so I could maximize my clothes. 🙂 When I get home, I try what I’ve purchased and think of every ensemble I could pair it with.

    I also wear some of my dresses with pants. ^^ I used to have plain black leggings but I dunno where it went. I love that leggings cause it covers my feet as well. Too bad I dunno where I hid it or if it’s already gone.

    • That’s a good way to do it. I’ve often found a few things (like the leopard scarf I can wearing today) that I liked, but waited a week to buy. I wear leggings a LOT too!! 🙂

  2. I tend to grab everything that piques my interest, even if I immediately think “This will never work!” It wasn’t until I started trying things I that never thought I could wear that I started discovering new loves, like horizontal stripes and the color yellow.

    Not that I don’t have the (bad) habit of always gravitating towards the same cuts and colors…

    I will confess I never try to think of ways to wear things while I’m shopping, or worry about how much use I’m going to get out of it until, maybe three months later if I realize I haven’t worn it yet.

    • Forcing myself to think of specific ways to wear things was the one way I could really cut back on what I was purchasing. I’ve worn almost everything I own, at least once right now.

  3. Pingback: Thrifting chic | Miss Vinyl Ahoy

  4. I’m such a thorough shopper I often shop alone! I can be in the mall at least three to four hours! I definitely follow all the suggestions you mentioned and I’ll add a trick that helps against impulse buying. – if you’re iffy about something, put it back, go to another store to continue shopping. If you’re still thinking about it, then go back and buy it1

    • I’ve done that a few times! It really helps curb the impulse purchases! Or, I’ll even ask a store to hold something for me, usually they don’t mind at all.

  5. I usually stand on the far end and observe the colours. When I go shopping, somehow I always have a colour palette in mind and subconsciously stick to it. Then, it’s style and material (and ofcourse, the sale rack is the ones I go to first!)

  6. I love this! All wonderful tips. I definitely have started trying things on even if I have doubts when I see it on the hanger, because its crazy how sometimes things look like they wont look good on my body or aren’t really my style and then I try them on and realized I was completely wrong.

    That’s a good idea to retry the yes picks… I don’t do that enough I feel.

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