To thrift or not to thrift

Students, teachers participate in second hand shopping


Katie Eckrich

As she pines through her selection, senior Anna Kelley looks to find shirts at Goodwill, one of the local thrift stores

Angela Colombo, Layout Editor

As the countdown to summer begins, it is time for a wardrobe change with sweats being switched for shorts and fleece crewnecks swapped for cooler tanks and tees; however, new wardrobe means new clothes, but if someone is out of a job and subsequently out of money, thrift stores may provide a cheaper and more sustainable option to buy a variety of new (second-hand) clothing. 

While many people may still opt for the convenient commercial stores found in malls and popular shopping areas, some students and staff have chosen to take their shopping to local thrift stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, and St. Vincent De Paul where they are able to find unique, high quality, and functional clothing for much cheaper prices. 

In addition to their less costly clothing, one of the main reasons that people choose to shop secondhand is because it is a more environmentally friendly alternative to fast fashion. Senior Dara Gregory said that she began thrifting after learning about the human and environmental costs behind large clothing corporations.

“I thrift because it is a more sustainable way of living. I started [thrifting] sophomore year of high school after learning about how big clothing brands use child labor and how thrifting can help our environment by keeping clothes out of landfills and reducing the chemical pollution. It is also way more affordable than buying a new outfit from the mall and thrift clothes are funkier which is more my style,” Gregory said. 

Thrift stores provide customers with such a large variety of clothing and styles that at times it can be a lot to sort through. When he shops, junior Kyle Eberts said that he grabs as he goes and chooses which items he actually wants to buy after going through the racks.

“I look for anything that catches my eye. I’ll grab it and later decide if it’s worth buying or possibly seeing if someone else would like it. You can make a great outfit out of anything and some of my favorite outfits are made from random things that I find at thrift stores,” Eberts said. 

To make the overall process of shopping for new, used, clothing, spanish teacher Kimberly Lackey said that she likes to focus on the brands and sizes that the store has available first. Then, after condensing her selection sample, she is able to better find clothing that she likes and that will fit.

“I look at a lot of brands and sizes because it really narrows it down. I need petite sizes which there aren’t as many options for, so I just like to try and narrow it down by first looking for a brand that I recognize, a brand that I like, a brand that I think is good; then I go for the size,” Lackey said. 

There are many different stores in the St. Louis area that sell second-hand clothing and other items, some of the more popular ones being Goodwill and Savers. At these stores, Eberts said that he searches for popular and designer brands that are being sold for much less than their retail value in chain stores.

“Thrifting saves you a lot of money, especially when you find a designer on the racks for a lot less than what it was originally sold for. One of my favorite finds are this pair of 2015 Wolf Grey/ Digi Camo Nike Dunk SBs that I got for six dollars at the Savers in Ellisville,” Eberts said. 

Eberts isn’t the only one with neat finds. Gregory, in addition to her everyday wardrobe, said that she thrifted her dress for this year’s prom. Through an online thrifting store, she said she was able to find a second-hand prom dress that has become her best-loved piece yet.

“When we go [thrifting], my friends always find cool Harley Davidson shirts that have old cartoons on them and my mom also found a Guess purse at Savers once. Personally, my favorite thrift find has been my prom dress which was found on an online second[-hand] store, but I really love it and just had to get it altered,” Gregory said. 

Thrifting is not just popular in the US; over the past several years, it has gained popularity worldwide with all kinds of different second-hand stores popping up around the globe. On a recent trip to France over Spring Break with the French classes, Gregory had the opportunity to thrift in Paris where she said the quality of clothing was better and the prices even cheaper than that of stores in the US.

“I went to multiple thrift stores in Paris, and the main difference was the quality of clothing they had. Very few t-shirts had stains and everything was well taken care of. The pricing was even cheaper than here in the states and the finds were better. I was able to get a leather skirt which would be a very rare thing to find at a thrift store here in Missouri,” Gregory said.

From their low prices to their waste reduction, thrift stores provide a new approach to buying clothing. With a variety of styles and items to choose from the possibilities are endless when it comes to what kind of outfits you can create from these resale stores while saving both money and the environment. What will you thrift?