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Thrifting 101

By Ashley Schroer

Trying to find trendy, cute, but affordable clothing can be a struggle, especially as a college student. Buying from fast fashion brands is usually the solution, but thrifting is a great, sustainable alternative for fast fashion. If you’re new to thrifting, it might seem a little intimidating, or you might not know where to start. Here’s a list of tips for thrifting to help make it an easy and fun experience!


Plato’s Closet

Plato’s Closet is a great place if you’ve never been thrifting before. Employees pick through the clothing they receive, so almost everything in the store is from name brands, good quality, and on-trend. Pictured above are some pieces I bought from Plato’s Closet. The shorts are originally from Wild Fable, and the skirt and top are from American Eagle.

Online Thrifting

The internet is another easy way to start thrifting. Websites like thredUP, Poshmark, and Depop make it easy to shop for second-hand clothing, without needing to go to a thrift store. Other options for online thrifting include Instagram and TikTok shops, where people resell thrifted clothing. With all online thrifting platforms, it’s important to make sure that the sellers aren’t scammers. Poshmark and Depop make it easy by giving customers the option to rate different sellers. This way, you can find out which sellers are and aren’t trustworthy. The credibility of Instagram and TikTok shops is harder to figure out. A good place to start is by checking the posts' comments for any “proof” showing that customers received their items (my favorite Instagram shop is @stay.thriftyyy). All of the items pictured were bought from online thrift stores. The sweater and workout set are both originally from T.J. Maxx, the skirt is originally from John Galt, and the top is originally from Urban Outfitters.

Thrifting the Basics

If you want to go into an actual thrift store and aren’t sure where to start, it’s best to start with the basics. Good quality denim from Levi’s or Lee is easy to find. Sweaters, basic long sleeves, and t-shirts are great for layering. Crew necks or hoodies can always be found, too. Make sure to check every section in the store. The men’s section always has the best sweaters, crewnecks, and flannels. Tiny tank tops or baby tees, from brands like Brandy Melville or John Galt that don’t have marked sizes, can end up in the children’s section on accident, too.

Don’t Be Afraid of Alterations

Finding your size in thrifted clothing is usually the hardest part of thrifting. If you find a skirt, shorts, or some pants that you love, but are a size or two too big, taking in the waist of clothing is one of the easiest alterations you can do. Just turn your bottoms inside out, try them on, and pin them where you want the new waistline to be. Then, sew an upside-down triangle shape on either side of the waist (shown above) to make it your size! Another option is cutting a hole in the inside layer of the waistband fabric. Then, thread some sort of drawstring (a shoelace, a hoodie string, etc.) to cinch in the waist! Cropping tops or cutting pants into shorts are also easy ways to alter thrifted clothing into something sustainable and in style!


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