Who says being stylish has to cost a lot? There’s no shame in buying clothes second hand, especially when you’re in college. A lot of pieces from thrift stores are timeless, in great quality, and best of all, a great deal. Here are the best thrift stores (from personal experience and recommendations) in Chicago.
1. Buffalo Exchange
1478 N Milwaukee Ave
Located in the wonderful neighborhood of Wicker Park, Buffalo Exchange is definetly one of the more up to date thrift stores. They carry things that are currently trending in fashion and are in great shape. Prices can vary depending on the item but there are so many options, there is a deal awaiting you in the racks.
2. Knee Deep Vintage
1425 W 18th St
A Pilsen staple when visiting the neighborhood. When they put vintage in the name, they weren’t kidding. Stepping in here might make you feel like you’ve entered a time machine. It’s quirky and fun to shop around in.
3. The Brown Elephant
Lakeview: 3020 N. Lincoln Avenue
Andersonville: 5404 N. Clark Street
Oak Park: 217 Harrison Street
This thrift store has multiple locations throughout the city. Shopping here goes to a good cause. Proceeds go to Howard Brown Health, an organization that helps the LGBT community with healthcare. There are many treasures to be found in The Brown Elephant and with your purchase, you are helping someone with their health.
4. Family Thrift Store
2160 N Milwaukee Ave
This Logan Square thrift store is really a hit or miss, from my experience. But when you get lucky at Family Thrift, you get really lucky. I’ve found heavy cardigans that look like they’re from Urban Outfitters, flannels that would cost $50 elsewhere, and great accessories such as belts, bags, and scarves. It is worth a look at, especially since every section is color coded. I make sure to hit it up every time I am in the neighborhood.
Wicker Park: 1459 N Milwaukee Ave
Lakeview: 812 W Belmont Ave
Ragstock is a one-of-a-kind store. It has two locations in the city, in two of my favorite neighborhoods. The first level of the store is a regular retail store, the basement contains the vintage portion. In the basement, you will never find any items like it. Ragstock is such a fun store to go browsing around in for completely uncommon and unimaginable pieces of clothing.
6. Crossroads Trading Co.
Wicker Park: 1519 N. Milwaukee Ave
Lincoln Park: 2711 N. Clark St.
Andersonville: 5127 N. Clark St
Evanston: 1730 Sherman Ave
Crossroads is similar to Buffalo Exchange, and located right across the street from it (there are also locations in Lincoln Park, Andersonville, and Evanston). Like Buffalo Exchange, they focus on items that currently in style and in good condition. This store, unlike a lot of thrift stores, consists of a lot of designer names for a fraction of the cost.
7. Belmont Army Surplus
855 W Belmont Ave
This 4-level store is bound to give any shopper a whirlwind of emotions. Each level of the building has a different theme. In the basement, there is a shoe shop and skateboard shop. The first two levels are considered more “trendy” and definitely more expensive, the first level is directed towards men while the second is directed towards women. The third level is what the name says it is, army surplus. There are a lot of cool finds on this floor, including $10 flags. The fourth floor is vintage/thrift, where you will find sections dedicated to vintage cheerleading outfits, western cowboy/girl items, and ugly sweaters.