Thrifting is NOT as easy as others make it seem

October 10, 2020 — by Hannah Lee

Scanning endless aisles filled with secondhand clothing, I stared at the trivial amount of clothes I had accumulated in the past hour, consisting of a graphic tee, two flannels, a blue polo and a vintage wallet. Already worn out, I remembered my mission of achieving a vintage thrifted look that I had seen my peers pull off flawlessly before me. 

Although thrifting has been around for ages, young people now are flocking to local thrift stores to create unique and affordable wardrobes in line with the new vintage-style trends spreading across social media, thanks to platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

Aside from being a way to revamp your closet, purchasing secondhand clothing is an affordable and beneficial way to support sustainable fashion — with more and more mass-produced clothing, thrifting has allowed young adults to be more conscious about avoiding fast fashion.

After seeing a plethora of friends and influencers showing off their new looks at too-good-to-be-true prices, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and visit a thrift store on my own to see what the hype was all about. 

The first store that came to mind was Goodwill. Thankfully, a Goodwill had just opened nearby, perfect to check out without driving too long.

As soon as I walked into the store, I was overwhelmed by a whole spread of racks filled with vintage-style clothing. Clothes were sorted into crowded sections of jeans, dress pants, bomber jackets, winter jackets, shorts, dress shirts and every other clothing category that could be possibly named.

I sorted through the racks slowly, checking each piece of clothing and evaluating how “thrift-able” each piece was. As I envisioned the different ways I could wear the piece, I would consider color, pattern, fit and price.

Going into the store, I somehow thought that I would immediately pick up a flare for thrifting and discover a gold mine for my favorite trendy clothes. Instead, I discovered shirts with outdated floral patterns, polos with suspicious stains, sweaters with loose threads and tops that showed far too much skin for my liking.
On the upside, the flannels, winter jackets and polo sections yielded decent finds. Prices ranged from around $3 to $15, but I steered away from anything above $10 as I thought it would be too expensive to be from a secondhand store. I left the store with two items: a tan oversized flannel and a white woodstock band shirt.

Despite being tempted to crop them in an attempt to turn them into something more trendy, I ended up keeping both items the way they were.

Both were pretty decent finds: the T-shirt was $3 and the flannel was a whopping $6.99, adding up to around $10 — not the worst prices but not as cheap as people say either

I only visited Goodwill out of many chains around town, but sorting through dozens of pieces of clothing in one store alone was an exhausting process for me. 

I may not have had a super successful trip with my finds the first time around, but I also have to consider that thrifting is eco-friendly and that not everyone can afford a name brand closet. 

Although I may not be heading to thrift stores anytime soon for trendy outfits, with the right inspiration and materials, I’m sure thrifting can be a worthwhile way to buy conveniently priced clothing while reducing your carbon footprint.

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