I love everything about thrifting: the thrill of the hunt, the unreal bargains, and of course, the exclusive delight of saying, “what, this old thing?” If you’re a new librarian starting a professional position, or a seasoned pro looking to update your look, thrift store shopping can give you great value for your hard-earned money. Most communities have a thrift shop, bigger ones will have multiples, and high end community thrift shops will be full of really nice desginer stuff. But, no matter where you are, they all start looking like this:

Today we’re talking pants. A few things to bear in mind when shopping for any garment at a thrift store:

  • Deep set stains are a no-go, but lots of spots will come out with dedication and stain remover. Consider shopping with a Tide pen.
  • Look at hems and seams to make sure they’re still there. Try turning the garment inside out.
  • If a garment needs to be hemmed, or have a button sewn, or any other kind of tailoring work, be honest with yourself about whether you’re going to make that happen. Yes, fabulous trousers that needs a button could be yours for a mere $5, but it’s $5 wasted if you never sew the button, and never wear them.


When I’m looking for new (to me) clothes, I always pay close attention to the care instructions and fabric content. Will I need to dry clean (kind of a deal breaker), iron (haha, no)? Will I need to wash this after wear (unlikely), will it stand up to me sitting all day (let’s be real here)? In pants, I find that the pockets are a good indicator.








Slash pockets (ones that are cut horizontally) tend to lay flatter for longer, no matter your body shape, giving pants more life in between washes, and thereby making them look newer when they’re brand new (to you). Slant pockets (ones that are cut vertically) tend to poof out after hours of sitting, causing wrinkles all over the front of the pants, making you wash them more frequently. Furthermore, slash pockets tend to accompany flat front pants, which look more polished than pleats on librarians of all shapes and sizes.

How to try on pants at the thrift store? A few options:

  • Wear leggings or bike shorts, and try on the pants over your own clothes
  • Go to the dress section, find the biggest baddest mumu they have, throw it on over your clothes and use it as a personal dressing room
  • Wear your own mumu
  • If your mumu is too precious to leave your home, wear a maxi dress for the same effect