A Guide to Thrifting in Montreal
By Mariana Chajon
By now, we’ve all heard about how great thrifting is for the environment, our budget, and for finding unique clothing, so I won’t bore you with that.
After years of experience thrifting, and working at Value Village for a year, I have gathered enough experience to confidently write a thrift guide.
What you can expect from this guide is: thrifting advice, recommended places to go thrifting, and specific tips to find different types of clothing.
Something very important that sometimes goes over my head is wearing a proper outfit to go thrifting, an outfit that will be versatile enough to look good with any type of clothing I’ll try on, and will also protect me from all the dusty, dirty things you find in a thrift store. What I’ve found works best is a t-shirt, the pair of pants you wear the most, and grandma panties. Yes, I said grandma panties (you don’t know what those old men’s levi’s you’re trying on have been through). Have a good playlist! For example, The Plant’s monthly playlist! If you’ve only started thrifting, look at every piece of clothing on the racks. If you have more experience: look out for things you already know you like. For example, I look for mock necks, blue, purple and green tonalities, and long sleeved shirts with fun patterns for layering! If you don’t know what to look for, build a practice of screenshotting or saving pictures of outfits you see online that you like! It will give you a baseline for what type of clothes to buy. Always picture what a shirt will look like cropped. Always check for stains, rips, and other imperfections before heading to the cash, and leave the things you aren’t going to get in the rack meant for that! Usually, it’s the rack next to the dressing rooms.
How to shop by clothing category:
If you’re into thrifting because you want to find some vintage pieces, here are a few tips on how to tell how old a piece of clothing is: if the tag is embroidered, that means it’s probably vintage, if it was made locally rather than china or taiwan, most probably vintage, if the stitching is in a zig-zag, most very probably vintage.
We’ve all tried to figure out what in the hell a size 5 or a size 8 even means, and I can honestly tell you: I have no clue. If you can’t try on a pair of pants right away, but you want to have an approximate idea of how it fits, wrap the waistline around your neck. If it’s too tight, it wont fit; if it’s on looser spectrum, you’ll need a good belt!
Take off your shirt before trying on a sweater! If you have a shirt under, you won’t be able to tell if it’s itchy. Trust me, I’ve bought way too many itchy sweaters.
If you want to tell if a stone in a necklace or a pair of earrings is real, touch it! Is it cold to the touch, below room temperature? You’ve got yourself a stone!
Look for imperfections too! Nature doesn’t make perfect shapes.
Best places to go thrifting in the Montreal area (as suggested by our Instagram followers):
East side: Renaissance, 2030 Pie-IX Blvd, Montreal.
Plateau: Eva-B, 2015 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal.
North shore: Value Village, 1051 Boulevard des Laurentides, Laval.
South shore: Value Village 1000 Avenue Auguste, Greenfield Park.
And if heading outside just isn’t the vibe for you, but you still want all the benefits of thrifting, here are some local online thrift stores:
@chopo.thrift (instagram), with thrifted items that are curated to the current trends. Dawson students are often offered discounts!
@twinshop_depop (instagram, @twin_shop on depop), each item on this shop is unique and makes a statement.
@kaparavintage (instagram), a well established store with the coolest outfit pictures, they also have a physical store in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu!
@m.thrift.shop (instagram), like a spring cleaning garage sale, if it was online and there were only clothes.