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The “Tea” on Thrift Shopping… Get it?


When you hear the words “Salvation Army” or “Goodwill”, what do you think of? What about those independently-owned consignment stores on the corner? Stores like these have been overlooked in years past (tbhI have no idea why). However, present fashion is (subtly) reintroducing these underdogs as the source of the most college girls’ closet content. Sweats and sneaks aside, let’s take a look at some major reasons why thrift stores are the current go-to for style both in and out of the classroom.


1. Perfect place to foster changing style “phases.”

Seasonal or personal, our 20’s are the years when we experiment most with style and how we present ourselves. Instead of going to expensive department stores or brand name mall storefronts, try checking thrift stores for those statement pieces or essential basics. More often than not, stores like these will have clothing racks featuring the brands you already love for super cheap prices. Why? Because they can. How? Because of you. What? Girl, read the above. 


2. Great place to find clothes for DIY projects/alterations.

Pieces such as frayed or ripped jeans and cropped sweaters have been everywhere during this 2018 chilly season. What do you do if your favorite store has the cutest cropped crewneck, but features the weirdest design or color in the world? And don’t forget about that girl in your class who was wearing the nicest jeans you’ve ever seen (and ever will see because you can’t find anything like them anywhere). If the small consignment stores are missing the hit, check the larger chain thrift stores. Items that come in may vary depending on the area you live in, so you might have good luck when looking for the perfect pieces to alter at home! Just grab a pair of scissors and go nuts, your new pieces were cheap anyways!


3. Your apartment gets a new outfit, too!

Contrary to popular belief, thrift stores are valuable for more than just their clothes. If you’ve ever been to a Salvation Army, you’d know that there is a wall dedicated to pottery, knick-knacks, baskets, kitchen utensils… the list goes on! Some stores even carry used dressers and cabinets as well as children’s toys. If you’re looking for some vintage glasses for your next get-together or an end table that you want to paint your favorite color, look no further. Just as for clothes, these items go for low prices in case you’re worried about “messing up” (but that’s no skin off your back, since you’re an artist and all).


4. Additional Sale Days!

In addition to most everything being under $20, stores like the Goodwill and Salvation Army offer additional sale days (check with your local stores for approximate days/sales). On these days, certain types will typically be given a different-colored tag with a marked-down price on it, ranging anywhere from 10-50% off (in my experience). I especially like shopping on these days because I always end up leaving for more than what I came for (without the guilt experienced during a Target run). However, as these stores do not usually get too crowded, be aware that some great pieces may be found by others with your same mindset, so bring a basket and your freshest eyes. 


5. Hospitality and Care

Material aside, any thrift stores (chain or independently-owned) are great to support. Small businesses everywhere are seeing struggle due to changes in economy. In terms of the larger stores, these were founded on a donation-based outlook. Before these stores were open to the public, donations to the poor were the reason for these facilities to be in operation. Some time passed, and these stores welcome anyone andstill accept donations. Next time you think about visiting a thrift store, look through your closet for any items you may not wear anymore. Unlike stores that pay you for bringing in your unwanted items (and only accept less than half of what your brought in), everything you bring is accepted. I’ve found that I get the most out of my experience when I donate prior to shopping. This way, you are more-so trading your old clothes for new ones. *PRO TIP: Be careful when shopping for shoes, jewelry, and bags in a thrift store. Be sure that all items are in good condition and take time to determine if an item is safe and sanitary to reuse. Generally, stay away from undergarments.


(five extra points to anyone who understood the reference…)


These are just a few of many reasons why thrift shopping is one of the best style moves you can make, both for yourself and for others you may be helping during your shopping spree. Shop outside of the norms and think of how your actions positively affect others. Happy shopping!

Kaleigh Valeski

Scranton '20

Third-year Counseling and Human Services major with a packed schedule consisting of Sunday school teaching, becoming a committed yogi, shopping (usually for things I definitely do not need), and staying energized through it all!
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