Thrifting 101

Sydney Solenthaler and Misa Leesuh

Let’s face it—the demographic of most college students in New York City have one thing in common, they’re struggling to make financial ends meet. Grappling with adult expenses, tuition payments, and student loans, college students have to budget while also having, “the best four years of their life.” This reality should not stop us from dressing how we want. With a little bit of effort, the next closet staple on campus might be found in the hidden crevices of a local thrift store.

Other than saving money, there are many other benefits to thrifting. Here are 5 reasons why you should give thrifting a try:

  1. Going green! Thrifting is the fashion equivalent to recycling. You are re-using an item and giving it a second chance—avoiding the increase of landfills and wasted goods.
  2. You can find unique pieces. With thrifting, you never have to worry about wearing the same thing as someone else because each piece has its own flair.
  3. It makes a great first date! Thrifting is great for bonding with a significant other, or a close group of friends. After all, your fashion sense can say a lot about your personality. Express yourself!
  4. Doing it yourself is the way to take your closet to the next level! Since the clothing is cheap, you can transform pieces into new things without fear of going over your budget.
  5. You can travel to the past. Through clothing, you can experience different cultures and pasts. Tributes to the past can be expressed through the articles of the clothes, and you’ll never feel more connected to the years that came before you.

Walking into any thrift store with racks of clothes can be daunting. Here are some tips on how to increase your chances of finding a hidden gem:

  1. Go in with an agenda. Attack the colors and sections you like first, then move towards the sections you don’t really expect much from. You will be less overwhelmed if you know what colors and styles you are looking for.
  2. Don’t always expect to find name brands. Sometimes luck is on your side and you’ll find something from Chanel, but the essence of thrifting is not how expensive the piece was, but rather, how much you will love to wear it.
  3. You won’t be able to go through the whole store at once. Thrift stores collect a lot of donations. The best way is to go often, rather than once in a blue moon. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself! Make it a monthly event with your best friends.

To make your thrifting experience the best it can be, here are the top five thrift stores in New York City.

  1. L Train Vintage: 654 Sackett St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

L Train has a large selection of t-shirts, sweaters, and jeans. Its selection leans towards casual wear. This L Train is in Brooklyn but the commute is about the same to ones in midtown.

2. Goodwill: 44 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011

Goodwill is probably not a frequented staple in your hometown, but in New York City, Goodwill is the haven for thrifting. This address is the closest to the downtown area, but there are a lot of locations to explore.

3. No Relation Vintage: 204 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009

No Relation is another thrift store with a mixed bag. As a spin-off of L Train, they have the same casual wear, but offer super cute vintage personalized jackets. They carry all things you could ever want: bags, shoes, jeans, dresses, and jewelry etc.

4. Mr. Throwback: 437 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009

If you are into 90s clothing, this store is for you. Mr. Throwback specializes in vintage sports jerseys and other sports paraphernalia.

5. Buffalo Exchange: 332 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

Buffalo Exchange has a large variety of items for everyone. Whether your style is more ironic and playful or sophisticated and classy, Buffalo will have something for you. It resembles more of a traditional thrift store that will always have a piece you’ve been dying to add to your closet.