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Over the past couple of years, I’ve decided to be more conscious about where I shop and my methods of purchasing clothing. The clothing industry is incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment, especially when trends change quickly through social media. Luckily, I’ve gotten to a point where the majority of my wardrobe and even some of my apartment decor are thrifted.

To avoid overconsumption, I usually make lists of seasonal items that I wish to add to my wardrobe. For example, my list consisted of colorful midi skirts, classic Levi’s shorts, button-up shirts and sheer shirts this summer. For fall, good staples include loafers, mock neck sweaters and sweater vests with button-up shirts. I also did this for home decor and found unused mid-century modern candles and posters.

My ideal place to shop is Goodwill. Usually, I immediately head to the lady’s pajama section, which hides the trendy yet classy slip dresses and shirts. Next, I scour the men’s section for the coolest graphic and vintage tees. Not only are the thrifted tees sustainable and cost-friendly, but they spice up your wardrobe with unique one-of-a-kind items. Some of my personal favorite graphic tees from thrift stores include many FSU tees and destination tees (such as Palm Springs, Bordeaux and Florence).

Additionally, the men’s section is filled with Harley Davidson merchandise and oversized button-ups, trending on Pinterest. I think button-ups are perfect for all seasons because they can be dressed down for class or dressed up for a date or interview. The women’s athletic section is an excellent place to find tennis skirts and affordable workout tanks. Lastly, the kid’s section has the best baby-doll and Y-2K rhinestone shirts if it’s your style. The prints are often pretty cute and complimentary.

There is also a Goodwill Outlet (A.K.A. the Goodwill Bins) location in Tallahassee. Here, the clothing is about $1.79 per pound, but make sure to bring gloves and your mask because it involves a time-consuming dig for items. On my last trip here, I was able to find more graphic tees, sweaters and a denim button-up. My favorite vintage store in Tallahassee is The Other Side Vintage, located in Railroad Square, which carries a plethora of retro finds. They have fabulous FSU gear, dainty slip dresses and, if you’re lucky, a pair of cowboy boots in your size.

I think the thrift store’s most significant untapped resource is probably their accessories. Most likely, college students can’t afford to buy the latest Chanel or Prada, so improvise! Instead of using up my savings, I follow the Instagram accounts of high fashion designers to see what’s in season and look for the best alternative at a thrift store. I even found a brown crocodile leather baguette at a church thrift store once. Thrift stores are a great resource to find western-style belts, but you can also find simple and classic black or brown ones. Occasionally, I purge the women’s shoe section and can find kitten heels, which were trendy in the 90s and early 2000s, or black platform sandals. The thrift store is also home to many professional-style heels to wear for an internship or interview.

Lastly, it’s essential to donate instead of throwing your old clothing away. Your old clothing and shoes can provide for many thrift store customers. Giving back to thrift stores keeps the supply up and prevents further damage to our planet.

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An FSU student from Ormond Beach, Florida, studying political science with a minor in professional communication.
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