I live in a large city, so I do have lots of thrift stores from which to choose. However, even when we travel to tiny towns, we still spot items of value at the lonely, local charity shop. So what's the secret? Familiarize yourself with quality, so you will recognize that diamond in the rough.
Labels are one tool of the trade. Everyone's eyes light on the Ralph Lauren logo, but you may be the only one to recognize more unusual brands (especially with things like European children's clothing or specialty cooking gear). Consequently, the most expensive items are often underpriced or ignored at thrift stores. Take a free field trip through the exclusive boutiques or luxury department stores in your city. Feel the fabrics, take note of the brands, and most importantly, peek at the price tags! Catalogs and magazines are also great resources for studying the good stuff from the comfort of your own home.
What are the labels that make your heart beat a little faster?