Thrifting for coats

Photo of woman in winter coat.

By Guest Blogger Sally McGraw
As the weather turns from warm to cool to cold to downright FREEZING, you may be reconsidering the coats in your closet. Are they warm enough? Do they cover all of your bits? Are they in good shape? Styles that work with your figure and wardrobe? If your current coat options are somewhat lacking, consider hitting the thrift shops before shelling out for something new.

The best types of clothing to thrift are durable. While flimsy tees and diaphanous blouses are lovely to wear, they just don’t hold up to lots of use and laundering, so by the time they hit the thrift racks they may only have a year or so of wearable life left. Garments like blazers, jeans, handbags, and coats, on the other hand, are made from sturdier fabrics, constructed using heavier thread and stitching, and are created with use and abuse in mind. Even if they were made decades ago and worn relatively frequently, these items can still be in good shape when you find them at your local Goodwill.

Here are some tips for thrifting for coats.

Check for damage

This should be a checklist item for all thrifting, but is especially important in coats as it can be easy to overlook. If the coat has wool content, check for moth holes. If the coat is a down puffer, look for feather leakage. Look for stains or worn spots and if any buttons are missing, check the seams for extras. Give the coat’s lining a once-over. Many lining rips can be easily repaired, but if the lining is completely shredded you’ll need to decide if you want to re-line the coat or just live with the damage.

Try on while wearing your winter clothes

Although thrifting for coats in early fall is great in terms of selection, it can be a deceptive process! If you aren’t wearing a typical winter outfit when you hit the thrift store, throw on a sweater, scarf, or blazer from the racks to emulate one. You want your coat to fit you when you’re dressed for cold weather.

Consider color

Many people will invest some serious cash in a classic or basic or extremely versatile neutral coat, often in black or gray. Thrifted coats are less costly, so think about splashing out on a color instead. If your thrifted coat will be an auxiliary one, why not try red or purple or green and perk up your wintry days a bit?

Coats will be on the thrift racks well into the new year, but now is a fabulous time to start your search. It may take a few trips to a few stores to find your perfect parka, so consider getting a jump on the process. And good luck!