from the runway

Thrift shopping is responsible, cheap, fashionable

Connor Bahng | Staff Photographer

Besides just shopping at thrift stores, getting rid of old clothes by donating or selling them to a thrift store is super easy.

Living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle is an increasingly popular trend, especially among young adults. With this comes the trend of secondhand shopping, or thrifting. Whether it’s physically hunting through piles of clothes at Goodwill or Salvation Army, or shopping on an online consignment shop like thredUP, this fashion and lifestyle trend has become an eco-friendly, socially responsible and chic way to shop.

Though thrift shopping may have been looked down upon previously, it has been embraced by many, becoming a huge player in the fashion world. According to First Research, the resale stores industry in the U.S. includes over 20,000 stores, with a collective annual revenue of about $17 billion. The Association of Resale Professionals reported that Goodwill Industries alone earned $5.37 billion of that revenue in retail sales from over 2,000 not-for-profit resale stores and online sales in 2014.

The most obvious personal benefit to resale shopping is the amount of money you’ll save while doing it. According to True Activist, the average clothing item sold at resale is about 50 percent cheaper than you would pay in a regular store. Secondhand shops almost always tend to have designer brands at a big discount.

What’s more, there is no more waiting for next season’s collection: most thrift stores receive clothing donations every day, meaning most of the clothes at these stores is new-in, and as varied as the people donating them. That means there is something for everyone, and there will always be fresh options to choose from.

The clothes sold by second-hand stores are donated by all types of people, which means you are bound to find something that works for you. The variety of cuts and styles alone allows people with different tastes, as well as different body types to find something. And even if you get home and the piece of clothing you bought doesn’t fit like you thought, you only dropped a couple of dollars on it anyway. You could even donate it back to the store you got it from.

Secondhand stores have long been considered the promised land of eccentric clothing. If you’re looking for unique statement pieces, head to a consignment shop or thrift store and look for a vintage faux fur vest or a fringe suede jacket.

One of the many benefits of thrift shopping is the diverse wardrobe you’ll inevitably develop. These eclectic donations mean you can find various kinds of clothing from all different designers, collections and decades on any given day. With the revamp of 1970s style making a statement in the fashion world, thrift shopping is one way to find genuine vintage clothing so you can truly embrace the trend. When you are on the hunt, keep an eye out for bell-bottom pants, flowy lace tops and dresses with bell sleeves.

Looking for an outfit more suited to the current decade? College students and young adults often sell their clothes to thrift stores, which you can too if you need the extra bucks.

Thrift shopping considered an eco-friendly alternative to regular shopping because it reduces waste, keeping unused clothing out of the landfills. Every item of clothing you buy second-hand is one less piece that has to be manufactured in a factory, meaning less energy being burned and gases released into the environment.

Outside of simply being good for the environment, many consignment shops and thrift stores run as supporters of various charities and organizations. Goodwill is part of Goodwill Industries, which provides programs to people with socio-economic barriers to help them find employment. The Salvation Army also provides shelter, food, job training and guidance to struggling families outside of selling clothing. Even if you don’t shop at one of these charitable stores, spending money at local consignment shops and thrift stores is a good way to keep money in your community and help small businesses.

Check out some local thrift stores in the Syracuse area:

3fifteen: This thrift boutique is accessible from campus, located in Marshall Square Mall. The store has a wide variety of clothing for everyone, as well as some eclectic jewelry, shoes and home decor. You might have to dig, but there are definitely some great finds for cheap. Plus, it supports the efforts of the Rescue Mission to help end hunger and homelessness. — 720 University Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210

Cluttered Closet: Considered the best second-hand store in the Westcott community by reviewers on Yelp, this place has stuff out of the mainstream for both men and women. You’ll find everything from cowboy boots to costume masks and vintage clothing. – 742 S. Beech St., Syracuse, NY 13210

The Salvation Army: Though its inventory is large, it’s surprisingly well-organized and you’ll be able to find name brands for dirt cheap. This place is also great for unconventional finds, but only go if you are willing to spend a good chunk of time digging through clothes. – 2433 Erie Blvd E., Syracuse, NY 13224

EcoChic Boutique: This store has everything from high-end brands like Tory Burch to three-dollar costume jewelry pieces. On top of that, their curated selection of apparel and accessories sells for 85 percent off of the original retail price. – 4314 E. Genesee St., Dewitt, NY 13214

Plato’s Closet: This is a good choice for those looking to find well-known brands for a lower price. Since most of the clothing is contemporary, you probably won’t find anything too out of the ordinary, but it’s easy to sort through and find current styles for cheap. – 3455 Erie Blvd E., Syracuse, NY 13214


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