One of the most common questions I get asked about thrifting is, "Where do you thrift?" As luck plays a huge factor in the hunt, it also depends on what you are looking for.
The older I get, the less I gravitate towards "funkier" finds. Though I do succumb to the old, ironic tee every once in awhile. For clothing, I search for brands that are made of nicer materials and a bit higher quality. Consistently, I find those items in suburban areas and (not coincidentally) within close proximity to a mall. You are not as likely to find a cute, vintage cocktail dress in one of those places. It's not impossible, just not as likely.
For friends in search of vintage items, I recommend avoiding shops in dense, urban areas. Not only are you going to find a heavily picked over selection, but oftentimes the price will be marked up because of it's age. Thrift stores in more established neighborhoods have been home to some of my most unique finds. Going on a Monday or Tuesday is also a good because the shops will be freshly stocked with estate & garage sale drop-offs.
I've also had GREAT luck (emphasis on great) hitting secondhand stores in small towns. Driving an hour or two outside of the city limits has almost always paid off for me, plus it makes for a fun day trip. You'll be surprised at kinds of pieces you can find at some of the lowest prices. The ThriftBuddy App has come in super handy for these types of excursions.
Always remember, keep realistic expectations. You never know what you're going to find in any thrift store, but this is the compass from which I do my shopping.
I am linking up with The Nester every day in October for #write31days.