As broke college students it's our duty to find the cheapest and best deals out there, well here I am, the answer to your crying wallet’s (and closet’s) prayers. I bring you, thrifting. I’ll admit many people might be skeptical considering how we’re talking about second hand clothes, but I’m telling you the benefits outweigh whatever doubts you might have. If you’ve never experienced the thrill that is thrift shopping (no, I don’t mean listening to the Macklemore song) here are a couple tips to get you prepped.
1. Find a thrift/consignment store in your area: If you’re here on the UConn, Storrs campus typically the Savers in Manchester or Salvation Army in Willimantic will be the closest and most convenient places to shop! Connecticut also has Goodwill locations spread across the state so that could be another option as well.
2. Go in with an open mind: If you already have something you’re looking for in mind like “the perfect denim jacket” or flannels and sweaters that's a great place to start! But you might go in looking for one thing and end up purchasing something completely different. Thrift stores are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get! (Yes Forrest Gump reference). But in all seriousness, you could go in looking for one thing and be surprised what you end up going home with and that's all part of the fun.
3. Have a budget: With the insanely low prices it can be hard to keep track of how much you’re spending when everything you grab is $5 here and $10 there. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’ve picked out five flannels that you can’t live without and they all happen to be ten dollars you’re already out fifty bucks without even realizing it! If you go into the store with a set limit of how much you’re willing to spend, you’ll do a much better job of picking out the stuff you really love and will actually wear in the long run.
4. TRY IT ON: This is probably my most important tip of all. When thrift shopping it's so important to keep track of everything you have, do yourself a favor and try it on! I can’t emphasize this enough, you might love something on the hanger but until you see how it fits on you, you can never be sure. A lot of what you’ll be buying might also be from the men's department (especially flannels and sweaters) because they’re just more comfortable and tend to fit better! With that said, just test it out! Maybe it’s itchy, or fits weirdly, you’ll never know until you try.
5. Think outside the box: Whenever you go thrifting part of the fun is trying to see what you can DIY out of what you find! For example, in the summer, if you’re looking to make the perfect cutoff high waisted denim shorts believe it or not, the best place to search is the men’s jean section! Yes, I’m serious. They’ll give you the perfect amount of height at the waist and be loose enough at your upper thigh that you can cut them off and fray them perfectly. Also, since it’s that time of year, you’d be surprised the halloween costumes you can come up with, putting together thrift store finds! If you look past what you see on the hanger and think big-picture, you could end up with the coolest costume no one ever thought of.
Keeping all five of these tips in mind will definitely ensure you have a successful thrift store trip every single time! The most important part of thrifting is remembering the most important rule of all: “One mans trash could be another man's treasure!” Happy thrifting!
Michelle Marquez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.