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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

When researching activities to do in Austin (something I’ve been doing quite often as a newcomer), thrifting almost always makes an appearance. If one needs evidence of this, they can look no farther than the several thrift shops located in the immediate UT Austin vicinity or the dozens of articles written about the various shops over town. But why is shopping at discount stores so especially popular in Austin? 

One reason is that Austin is a big college town (in fact, it’s ranked 2nd in the nation by collegehub.com). It’s no surprise that shopping for discounted, second-hand (and sometimes vintage) clothing is appealing to college students, who are famous for being constantly broke. Additionally, thrifting has proven to be beneficial for the environment. Buying second-hand clothing means less demand for textiles and lowers the amount of waste going to landfills. Plus, there’s always the chance you’ll find a one of its kind outfit for an amazing price. 

 But other than the significant decrease in price and the benefit to the environment, why has thrifting become such an Austin tradition? I set out to figure out what the appeal of thrifting is and the most popular places to go. 

“I think thrifting is popular in Austin because people like to support small businesses and sustainable shopping, and probably because everyone has heard about thrifting in Austin, so people want to try it out…I enjoy thrifting because it’s a more environmentally conscious way to buy clothes.” UT student Mary Michael says. 

But where to go? Blue Velvet is one of the top-ranked thrift stores in Austin for those who brought their cars to campus (or have a very nice friend willing to give you a ride). Popular for its vintage clothing and affordable prices, Blue Velvet has been “an Austin favorite for more than 20 years”, at least according to Culture Map. 

“Out of the thrift shops I’ve been to I’d say that Buffalo Exchange and Flamingos are the best,” Michael said. Buffalo Exchange, located on Guadalupe and a 17-minute walk from the UT Tower, is a nationwide chain known for its versatile selection and low prices. You can also sell your clothes to the store for 30% back in cash or 50% back in-store credit. Flamingoes Vintage Pound is located on Guadalupe as well and has more “vintage and hipster styles” (at least, according to Yelp). 

If you’re looking for clothes from popular brands, such as Michael Kors, Coach, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, or J. Crew, Uptown Cheapskate on Lamar Blvd. offers lower prices. In addition to clothes, Uptown Cheapskate also sells jewelry, bags, shoes. 

The closest thrift store to campus (and the only one that I have been to, unfortunately, due to the recent weather) is Monkies Vintage and Thrift, which is on Guadalupe and right across the street from Kung Fu Tea. While the price is on the higher end, the store has lots of trendy clothing. 

While thrifting has become a sensation in Austin, it is important to remember the privilege that we hold by being able to choose where we shop. “Thrifting can be a fun thing to do with friends but keep in mind that the gentrification of thrift shops is an issue so maybe don’t go too often cause people should avoid contributing to that.” Michael said. 

Mia Abbe

Texas '24

Mia is from Fort Worth, Texas and a freshman studying political science at the University of Texas at Austin. She loves writing, music, and tv shows from the early 2000s.
Hi, I'm Madeline Muschalik! This is my fourth year in Her Campus; I wrote for Her Campus at Wake Forest University before transferring to UT in fall 2019. Last year I was the Her Campus Texas Co-President and Campus Correspondent & it was so rewarding. I am excited to explore Austin and learn more about our university through Texas Her Campus. Some of my hobbies include running, reading, yoga, and traveling! I am a Public Relations Major and with a minor in Entrepreneurship and certificate in Creative Writing. Outside of Her Campus I am involved in Texas American Marketing Association, Moody Communication Council, a member of the Kendra Scott WEL Institute Student Council, Texas Kappa Delta, and I am a Transfer Year Interest Group (TRIG) mentor. I love UT & all the amazing opportunities (like Her Campus) that it has to offer!