Personally, I love thrift and vintage stores. I just adore them. Most of the time, it seems like it's endless junk, but it's amazing when you find that perfect piece for you! Thrifting and antiquing are important in fashion. Plenty of fashion bloggers worldwide buy their clothing from modern brands as well as vintage or used clothing stores. Lolita is no exception, as you're able to find plenty of 'lolitables' from these stores as well!
Plenty of thrifting and antique stores carry lolita-friendly blouses and skirts, as the lacy and flowing style of skirts were often worn in the 1950s and 1970s. These stores can also carry beautiful vintage jewelry and even those old decor pieces and teacups perfect for those passionate lifestylers! Vintage stores are especially good for finding gloves and hats. These gloves are almost always perfect for classic lolita and many popular hat styles from the fifties and sixties that work very well with lolita if incorporated right.
|Many store carry vintage gloves like these.|
When you're choosing items, be very careful to check the condition of the item - seams of the clothing, chips on a teacup, etc. It's highly unlikely that it will break immediately when you bring it home, but it's good to accept something at a level of 'used' you are comfortable with. The most important thing to check, with skirts and dresses specifically, is if the item fits the lolita aestetic. Will it fit a petti? Is it too long or too short? How will it look incorporated into a coordinate? These are all very important questions to ask yourself will thrifting with lolita fashion in mind.
Not every store will have something perfectly lolita every time, and often these items will require repairs or modifications to 'make it lolita'. Think about how you'd be able to modify or 'lolita-fy' items as you shop. Ask yourself "Is it worth putting the time towards fixing this up?" Sometimes a piece that looks like it will have lolita potential is a lost cause, and it's okay. Sometimes they aren't the right length or they don't have the right shape. Not everything is meant to wear with the fashion and there is no use trying to save what doesn't work.
|Lucky thrift find by Tangerine Taiyaki|
Now depending where you live, it may be easier or harder to find suitable things. Living in an older city or a 'historical' town it will be much easier to find things, but it's not impossible to find things in a very modern area and small towns. If you thrift, it's good to make it back to your local store(s) every week or two, as the inventory changes all the time! It's also nice to be friendly and get to know the people who own or work at the store. Not only is it great to make new friends, but you may get the added bonus of them holding items they think you'd like.
In my opinion, thrifting is great for the lolita on a budge but it is impossible to make an entirely thrifted lolita wardrobe without it looking a little off. Thrifting is a wonderful way to expand your wardrobe and find decor and books suitable for lifestylers but ultimately, it's really hard to perfectly match a niche Japanese style with solely local products. It is completely within possibilities to have a handmade wardrobe supplemented by thrifted items, but it's good to keep a realistic view on thrifting and not rely on it soley for your lolita fix.