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Not So Big Spender

By the ripe age of 10 my mother had already trained me to go straight for the sales rack upon store entry. Due to this penny-pinching mentality, I have always been frugal when it comes to fashion (except for that Hot Topic phase when everything I wore consisted of $20 band t-shirts and purple pants…. Sorry, mom). If I can’t find a deal at stores like Forever21 or H&M, I resort to my other favorite method shopping method– thrift stores. Some people’s skin crawls at the very thought of thrifted clothing – but to me, thrift stores are fantastic troves where people have given their old treasures up for adoption, and are now awaiting my $1-$10 purchase! Thrift stores are a great source for cheap clothing. Don’t get me wrong, you have to hunt for it! But it’s there.

When it comes to fashion, my sister and I are a different breed. She has always been very into labels. She’s fifteen now, and wears brands like Aeropostale and Forever 21 like it’s her job. The Hot Topic phase that I previously mentioned began when I was 12, and didn’t end until I was about 16 – when I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing and wore plaid and tye-dye IN THE SAME OUTFIT. Believe me when I say that it’s been a long journey to get to where I am today, which is having a wardrobe that mostly consists of items that I picked up at a thrift store,  yet still managing to look like I maybe kinda know what I’m doing – maybe. You can’t tell the difference unless you look at the tag, whether or not what I’m wearing is second-hand.

But anyway, back to my point. My sister used to be very turned off by the idea of thrifting, even though our mother practically begged her to give it a chance. She didn’t like hand-me-downs, let alone the idea of wearing stranger’s clothing. And that notorious thrift store smell? Forget about it! But, she’s gotten used to thrift stores, and realizes how much money she can save by re-creating the outfits she sees on Wet Seal mannequins by finding similar pieces for less. Keep an eye out for armpit stains, and you’ll be good! But if I still haven’t convinced you, there’s a solution for those who dare not step foot in a * spooky voice * thriiiiiiiiiift stooooooore.

Plato’s Closet is a place for people that are really into brands like Forever21, H&M, Wet Seal, Urban Outfitters and the like, but who also want to save their cash. I recently splurged at Plato’s, spending only $50! Within this purchase, I bought one maxi dress, five sundresses, three rompers, one high-low dress, and two rings. They were on sale, with the Closet’s prices sliced from $8 to $4, $7 to $3.50, etc., etc. How fan-flipping-tastic is that?! I was going insane. I didn’t even make it to the bottom of the ramp, where a whole different floor consisting of shoes, purses, dresses, sweaters, t-shirts, jeans and everything in between reside. I suggest taking your next paycheck there, once you’ve spent it on other things besides a shopping spree (I can’t advocate buying clothes before paying your water bill, ladies and gents). Speaking of gents, they also have clothing for men! Check out the Plato’s Closet in Deptford, where this fantastic sale happened!

Come springtime, garage sales are another great place to pick up some new staple pieces for your wardrobe – and also various little knick-knacks to decorate your dorm with (I’ve found paintings, books, and everything in between when it comes to knick-knacks! Thrift Stores are a great source for knick-knacks as well!) Churches around your area may have rummage sales (a few in my hometown do this). Flea markets are awesome places where unique finds are abounding, guaranteed to only be owned by you! Make sure you check Rice’s or Columbus for the times they have outdoor vendors set up. My favorite vendors are folks selling as if they would at garage sale – not the mass production type of stuff, with boxes filled with packages of sponges and toothbrushes. Ya gotta dig!

Alright, collegiettes, keep a look out for your town’s townwide garage sale day, flea markets, check the nearest Plato’s Closet to you, and always keep thrift stores in mind! It really pays off!

Erin studies television and film production, anthropology, and writing at Rowan University. Her spirit animal is a horse and she loves floral prints.
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