Thrift stores source of great finds and responsible shopping

A pair of dark blue $180 Citizens of Humanity jeans, a magenta $75 Ralph Lauren polo, and a pair of blue $45 Converse low top tennis shoes would cost me $300 together, right? Wrong! I paid $50 for the jeans, $15 for the polo, and $20 for the tennis shoes for a total of $85. How did I do it? I bought all these items at a thrift store.

When most people think of thrift stores, they think of nasty old clothes that are out of style. This is a common misconception. The truth is that thrift stores will only take clothes that are gently used and in sturdy condition. Some thrift stores, like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, may not have as many brand names. Yet trendy items can still be found in these stores because past styles often repeatedly become fashionable again.

There are also gently used clothing stores, such as Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange, that buy, sell, and trade only big name brands. This type of thrift store has the easiest method for consumers to find stylish products without wasting money.

Saving money while shopping at thrift stores benefits people’s budgets during this economic crisis, gives a guilt-free shopping experience and also helps the environment.

Thrift stores are thriving right now because there has been an increase of people selling their used clothes to thrift stores for cash. Consumers can take advantage of the economy and buy name-brand clothing that would not have been available before at thrift stores. So, why shop at stores that sell products at full retail price?

Finding great bargains gives people guilt-free pleasure. It feels great when I can say I found a $23 BCBG dress that looks fantastic with my figure. With thrift store prices being so cheap, it is easy to be creative and individualistic. A vintage formal dress can be bought at a thrift store without the worry of someone else wearing the same dress at an event. With all the options to accessorize, it is simple to find an old shirt at a thrift store and make it unique with a scarf or headband.

Recycling and reusing old clothing is the best way to keep a wardrobe environmentally friendly while staying on top of current fashion styles. There are so many clothes that people own and do not wear, yet new clothes are still being bought everyday. So what happens to clothes not being worn or bought? They are taking up money, space, and time because of companies are overproducing clothes. The overproduction of products is contributing to our environmental problems. A great way to protest these large corporations to help stop overproduction is to buy used items.

In this era of dealing with an economic crisis, having people want to experience guilt-free shopping, and being environmentally responsible, there is absolutely no reason for anyone not to shop at thrift stores.

Claire Marston is a freshman fashion merchandising major from Westwood Hills, Kan.