Allison DeAngelis is a freelance writer who recently graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism. She will read anything she gets her hands on, enjoys traveling, and hopes to write feature and longform pieces in the future.
Call me a Seattle stereotype— I am a thrift shopper. While I’m not your Macklemore-variety, grandpa’s clothes-rocking hipster thrifter, friends are surprised to learn that a good chunk of my closet comes from secondhand clothing stores. I’ve found everything from label-less handbags to a J.Crew pencil skirt (for $10!) at thrift shops, and you can, too. If you love a hunt, this is right up your alley! If not, give it a try— this is, after all, college. It’s all about trying new things!
No matter where you go to school, the student population tends to flock to the same bars, restaurants and shops. I’ve heard it from friends at small, isolated schools and witnessed it all to often at my mid-sized university in Boston. You’ve got a limited budget, and stores like H&M, Forever21, and Old Navy offer cute clothes that won’t break the bank. But, it’s not uncommon to run into a girl in your Psych class or a stranger in the cafeteria wearing the exact same dress or pair of pants you were so excited about finding yesterday. And that’s fine! It’s a good conversation starter, or at very least compliments your good taste. But, we all want to feel a little unique, and there’s no better way to do that and stay in your budget that browse the racks at your local thrift store. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure (although I will warn you, some clothing items you’ll see are just trash. The 80s were dark days, my friends). Thrift shops are always getting new, one-of-a-kind merchandise.
Out With The Old, In With The Pocket Full Of Cash
They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, and I don’t think it will surprise you to learn that shopping is mine. I see a sale and can’t resist. I may or may not have memorized my debit card number from all of the online shopping I do. Which is why I resell old clothes a couple times a year. Many secondhand clothing stores like Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet will offer you cash or store credit for those pants you bought last spring that were on sale, but don’t really fit right. Generally, they’ll offer you 40 percent of the clothing’s resell value in cash and 60 percent in store credit. Personally, I take the store credit, but it’s always nice to have a little cash in your pocket on a Saturday night.
There will always be those people that recoil at the idea of purchasing pre-worn clothes. But, the reality is that any good thrift store weeds out the pit-stained T-shirts and the smelly sneakers. What’s leftover is clothing you know you’ll never see anywhere else. And at very least, you can laugh away an afternoon trying on electric blue spandex jumpsuits with your friends like I did my freshman year.