Thrift Shops: Where Did You Get Your Shirt?


Photo by Meredith Pirtle

Do not go to a thrift store looking for something specific, chances are you will not find it. You have to go into it with an open mind. Never look only in your size and gender. Most of my cozy flannels are from the men’s section and are two sizes too big!

Everyone has desires. Some people desire to have a nice car, some desire to be the most popular person at school, and others desire to make straight A’s. I desire to be different. My favorite way to express who I am is through my clothing. Fashion has the potential to set you apart from the everyday crowd of high schoolers. I’m calling all my fellow believers in individuality. Two words: thrift and stores. The beauty of thrifting is that you are able to find things that no one else has. So you can strut down the hallway wearing that vintage skirt from the 80’s knowing nobody else will ever have it.

I know what some of you are thinking. I know people like you. You do not know how to thrift; you claim you never find anything. That is why I am here. You can learn exactly how and where to thrift from the queen of the shops herself.

Rule #1: Do not go to a thrift store looking for something specific, chances are you will not find it. You have to go into it with an open mind. Never look only in your size and gender. Most of my cozy flannels are from the men’s section and are two sizes too big!

Rule #2: NEVER go thrifting when you are hungry. Make sure you fill up before you go. You are going to need the energy to look at every single article of clothing on every single rack. This can take hours! If you are hungry, you will just be cranky and impatient. The best finds are the ones tucked away where no one can see them, so you need to be on your a-game.

Rule #3: Do not take just anyone with you. Sure, your best friend is great, but if he or she shops only in malls and department stores, they will just bring you down. They will trail right behind you complaining, “This is boring. I can’t find anything. This is gross.” That is the person you need to leave at home. The people you need to take are the people with open minds and a passion for the art of secondhand shopping.

Rule #4: Stay in season. So many times, I have bought a summer dress in the winter and claimed I would wear it when summer comes. Yeah, that never happens. You should probably stay in season. Usually that sweater will sit in your closet all summer, and by the time winter rolls around, you will not like it anymore.

Rule #5: Know your weakness. My weaknesses are big flannels and bags. I cannot even count on my hands how many different thrift store purses I have. Scoring a brand new fossil bag is awesome, but do you really need it? Just think about all the purses you have at home and how long you will actually use it. These are the thoughts that can save you big bucks.

Now that you know all the basic rules of thrifting, you need to know where to go. But before we get to that, I should inform you on what a thrift store actually is. A thrift store is not clean and it does not sell only gently used name brand clothing. Sorry, Plato’s Closet is definitely not a thrift store. A thrift store is a dirty, unorganized, giant hodgepodge full of inspiration.

My favorite thrift stores are the ones that stand for something. There are many thrift stores that act as a home for the homeless or a place of recovery for those in need. These are a few of my favorite shops:

Abba House: I. Love. Abba House. Abba House is a safe place for women and their children who have experienced addiction and/or abuse. Their mission is to bring healing to shattered lives through the grace of God. These women are given shelter and work at Abba House. I delight in the dirty, grittiness of the hunt when shopping at Abba House.

The Humane Society Thrift Store: We all love puppies and kittens. The Humane Society is a shelter for these animals that need a home and a family. Their thrift store helps raise money for the NO KILL shelter that provides housing and food for animals. This is the place to go for knick-knacks and goofy Christmas gifts.

No Longer Bound: This place is probably my favorite. The mission of No Longer Bound is rescuing addicts, regenerating men, and reconciling families. The store itself reflects the message they send by being nice and organized. I enjoy shopping here because of that and the fact that they play killer music.

At last, you are ready for an extravagant Saturday thrifting adventure! Remember: Do not look for anything specific, stay hydrated and full, do not drag just anyone along with you, stay in season, and know your weaknesses. Most importantly, the thing to take away from this article is that THRIFTING IS FUN.