Your Guide to Thrifting

Your Favorite College Guide To Thrifting Is Now Available!

Despite thinking of Macklemore..do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of thrift shopping? Does the idea of vast amount of clothes to search through feel like finding a needle in a haystack? Well this guide will help you explore the world of thrifting in the most efficient way possible.

If you love shopping, this alternative is a great way to spend the day and experiment with fashion you normally wouldn’t want to spend a full price tag on. Not only are thrift stores cheap (especially for that student budget! Be sure to keep your student ID on you, most thrift stores will give you an additional 10% off) but you never know what you’re going to find!

1. Do your homework

Find stores in an area of town that you know to be trendy or is known to have wealth. The more thrift stores you go to the more likely you are going to stumble across a great piece!

For example, my personal favorites are Point Loma, Hillcrest and Pacific Beach. I usually check out GoodWill or Salvation Army. Although, sometimes the mom and pop shops have really good finds!

The best part about these stores is that you can find name brand clothes, such as Free People, Madewell, and LululemonThrift shopping in the wealthier parts of San Diego will make finding name brand and higher quality clothes more likely.

 

2. Know the deals

Some stores also have deals on certain days of the week so keep an eye out for the different colored tags. AMVETS in Old Town has deals every Wednesday on certain colored tags and are usually posted on the racks.

This may require you to do a bit of research before hand, but it’s totally worth it. Big sales usually means they are about to get new inventory the day or two after the sale, so you can make a mental note to come back to see what new items are in stock.   

 

3. Get a clue

Once you find a store that looks interesting to you, have set idea of what kind of clothes your looking to buy. This will help you narrow down your search so you don’t seem so submerged in a sea of clothing. For example, if you’re looking for that cute band t-shirt, start by looking in the shirt section and then look accordingly the color your after.

(Pro tip: If you aren’t finding anything in the women’ section, try looking in the mens section, don’t be afraid to venture off from women’s clothing!)

History of Thrift Stores

Retrieved from Time.com

 

4. Be Creative

If you’re looking for the right pair of high waisted jean shorts, don’t be afraid to look in the jeans section and be creative with your sewing skills!

Thrifting allows you to get crafty with your clothes and venture outside of your comfort zone in fashion without crying every time you swipe your card.

 

5. Try on Haul

Once you have a handful of clothes I highly recommend trying them on while you’re there. Just because it looks good on the hanger, doesn’t mean it will look as good as you thought it would on….The worst feeling ever is getting home after being excited on finding a really good piece to find out it doesn’t fit and there’s no way to return it. Always remember to look if it has any holes or stains before you buy it. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

 

These steps can help you find unique pieces to add to your wardrobe and expand your fashion.

The rewarding feeling you get from finding an awesome piece will definitely outrank the feeling you get from buying a fast fashion top from Forever 21. Not only by shopping at a thrift store are you helping support a cause but, you’re also helping out the community!

Written By: Alexis Cramer

All I want are some cheap black jeans: a (moral) broke girl’s essay on fast fashion

For the past three weeks, I’ve been questing a specific garment — a pair of black jeans, women’s size 4. The denim-stuffed aisles of not-for-profit thrift stores are usually troves for someone like me, a staunch supporter of Canadian tuxedos and well-crafted designer goods. My best friends are Bill Blass and Tommy Hilfiger. A beautiful pair of cuffed Calvin Klein shorts and I met each other just the other day, and wed (for a small fee of six dollars) soon after. While some kids proudly flash their college IDs at movie theaters or football games, I never skip out on using my student discount at Goodwill. As I walk out of a thrift store, I’m always at least twenty dollars poorer and two blouses, a leather purse, and three vinyl records richer. My shopping sprees are fruitful — one could argue that I thrift like it’s a sport. So, these last few visits in which I’ve left the building empty handed and with cash still in my wallet have been unsettling.

All I’m asking for is a pair of black jeans — high-waisted, straight-fitting, free of holes, and one-hundred percent cotton. For fashion-forward folks of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, this denim variety was the standard, easily found at any clothing retailer, and I tell myself it shouldn’t be this difficult for me to find a once-college girl’s aged, dark Levi’s. But between the revival of past trends and the normcore surge of the 2010s, what I need is, without coincidence, what everyone else also wants (and has found before me). For the first time in a while, I’ve seriously considered taking people’s advice, which typically sounds something like, “Syd, just go to the mall already.”

Earlier this year, they wouldn’t have had to tell me twice. Yes, my wardrobe is eighty percent hand-me-downs, but I’ll be the first to admit that the balancing portion is symbolic of my past vice, my affair with fast fashion and its array of devilish enticements like wearable crop tops, faux leather things, and an inestimable number of shiny accessories. I was that teenage shopaholic who interpreted Urban Outfitters’ black, reusable bag as a trophy, and if Forever 21 was having a ‘free shipping, no minimum’ event online, I heard about it first. Investing faith in the fast fashion industry’s capacity to deliver loveable styles at wallet-friendly prices didn’t seem regrettable. Sure, the clothing I bought from these retailers wouldn’t hold up after more than a dozen cycles in the wash, and most items were deemed passé before they even had a chance to come undone at the seams, but for a full-time student who worked crummy part-time jobs, I found solace in fast fashion’s offerings.

At that time, not once did I ponder the fact that the dynamism and affordability of fast fashion is possible only at the expense of both humanity and our environment. Some know this stuff already: that fast fashion chains choose to produce in countries were worker’s safety and rights are undermined and wages are nearly unlivable; immigrants who work in metropolitan sweatshops in our country even struggle to gain basic rights; unregulated, overseas textile production uses millions of tons of coals, and over a half trillion gallons of fresh water are used for dyeing every year; major fast fashion retailers have been caught not donating or reselling, but destroying and dumping unused clothing — items in good condition, but didn’t sell in stores — in order to maintain ‘brand image.’ Nevertheless, people still support these companies, and the dollars handed over for every purchase, big or small, fuel the fire of the fast fashion industry’s immorality.

When I opted out of fast fashion, I chose humanism and sustainability. But a proud conscience doesn’t soothe the monetary anxieties of an expressive, fashion-besotted college student who works part-time making lattes. It’s true, that only purchasing clothes from resellers has made shopping more stimulating and comparable to a treasure hunt. With every secondhand gem added to my closet, my style evolves, and my faith in fashion as a method of achieving distinction further swells.

Still, no amount of love for thrifting negates the unfortunate reality in which particular things — say, a pair of high-waisted, straight-fitting, hole-less, black jeans in a women’s size 4 — are only guaranteed to be available at particular places. It’s the frequent absence of simple, necessary garments at thrift stores that continuously poses itself as a problem that I can’t ignore, but don’t know how to address. In these instances, I wish I could afford to shop for new pieces ethically. American Apparel is my favorite brand — just ask my friends and family, whom I drag with me into the store every time I see its iconic Helvetica font sign lit up and calling my name. The company’s practices are humane and sustainable, and of course, their garments are well-constructed and timeless. But all that goodness comes with a price: the exact pair of jeans I need, the ones I’ve been casually eyeing since I was eighteen, are 94 bucks. And after I meander around the store for a few minutes, glancing at price tags as if they’ll display lower figures than they did two months ago, I’m disheartened and off to the sale rack, where the brand’s quirkiest, least-basic prints and designs always seem to end up. My forbidden love for American Apparel largely reflects my interest in all retailers that manufacture with ethics in mind.

Aside from socks or underwear, I can’t tell you the last time I purchased brand new clothing because, thanks to my anti-fast fashion mentality, I just can’t afford to. I’m uncomfortably wedged in a space where morality and practicality fail to get along with one another. And as I drive around the city from thrift store to thrift store in my tiny, fuel-burning, climate change-contributing car, I wonder if it’s silly to look for a pair of jeans that may never actually surface. If my disregard for the mall stores across the way is helping planet Earth or the underpaid laborers overseas. If the way one girl chooses to do one thing makes any difference.