Thrifting 101


Feature Photo By: Jessica Rangel – Goodwill’s Women’s Section displays tank tops and t-shirts in color order. During the changing of seasons, the thrift store switches out clothing appropriate to the season. 

By: Karissa March and Jessica Rangel, Review Staff

Many would say that thrifting has taken the fashion world by storm and is providing a new and creative way to buy clothing without contributing to the fast-fashion industry. With a growing concern of helping the environment and finding an individual style, the resale industry has generated $17 billion since 2016 according to Dun & Bradstreet.

Being a recent concept, many can agree that walking into the thrift store can be a bit overwhelming. Considering that, here are a few tips to help any incoming thrifters:

  • Don’t be afraid to shop in a section other than your own: Sticking to one section means you are only seeing a fraction of the entire store. Keep in mind that vintage and older clothing is typically marked about 2-4 sizes smaller than modern clothing and venturing out and buying clothes that are much larger than your true size doesn’t mean anything. Thrift stores can be unorganized at times with people placing things in random spots and sizes can be scattered all over. Don’t forget to utilize the opportunity to look outside of your regular department, whether that be the men’s or kid’s section; you might be surprised with what you find.

“I like to start in the men’s section,” explains senior Roxeanne Oyesile, ”I find that they usually have better quality shirts and sweaters than in the women’s and I can always find something.”

The Goodwill on Illiff and Chambers advertises their Halloween sale. This is a thrift store that is located in the area. (Karissa March) 
  • Come with an agenda: Having an idea of specific pieces that you desire can be helpful in cutting down the amount of time you spend searching. Whether you’re looking to find a quality pair of jeans or a warm winter sweater, the chances that you will find what you’re looking for will be higher if you keep them as a priority and head to those areas first.
  • Try everything on: Although the items are typically cheap, trying a piece on to guarantee you love it will help you save your money. Some people are skeptical of trying on clothes at the thrift store but there’s always the option of throwing on something thin and tight fitting such as leggings and a tank top to act as a layer between you and the clothes before you get home to wash them. Seeing the piece on your body can also help to double check for any holes/stains that you might not have seen before.
  • Make sure to see when your location is having a sale: Thrift stores usually have different colored labels on items that correlate with different days of sales. For example, the Goodwill of Iliff and Chambers has 50% off all items on Saturdays. Knowing which days have sales going on can save you even more money. If you get the chance, ask an employee when items are restocked so you can get a good idea of what days the selection will be greater.
  • Bring something to donate…or Grandma: Not only are you contributing to charity, but bringing a donation when you go will get you a receipt for a tax write-off. Some locations will even email you coupons if you sign up as a member on their website. Goodwill has a 15% off Senior discount daily and Arc locations has 50% off Senior Tuesdays, so bring your grandparents along as well

Sign up for Arc’s eClub today to receive discounts, coupons, and promotions!

  • Look for gifts: If you’re looking for a unique gift for a friend or a family member, sections such as accessories and houseware have one of a kind items that you can’t get anywhere else. Thrift stores are also known for carrying name brand and designer pieces such as handbags and clothing that sell for reasonably low prices.
  • Bring a friend: Thrifting alone can give you time to focus on what you are looking for, but bringing a friend along can make it a new experience. If the both of you are looking in different sections you can cover more ground, and the chance that they can find something that you didn’t see is greater.

Senior Elian Dominguez states, “Whenever I go thrift shopping with my friends we find pieces for each other we would’ve never chosen for ourselves. It really is helpful.”


  • Tailor/ DIY: There may be times when you fall in love with a piece but it is slightly too baggy or fits a little weird. Don’t put it down right away because there is always the option of modifying something yourself at home. If you find a designer piece for a low price it may even be worth it to take it to the tailor so it can fit just right. A simple pair of jeans can be made drastically different by adding some distressing to the knees or a super long shirt can be turned into a crop top with a few simple tools.

Distressing Jeans:

  1. Put the jeans on you body and mark desired distressing with a utensil
  2. Lay the jeans out on a flat surface and begin making straight, horizontal slits with scissors
  3. Using a seam puller or tweezers, pull the white threads apart from the blue to create the distressed ripped look
  4. Throw them in the wash!

“I honestly used to be kind of embarrassed to shop at the thrift store because it wasn’t as trendy as it is now,” says Oyesile. “But now I just have fun with it and I don’t hesitate to tell someone if something is from the thrift store when they ask.”

Many people would agree that there is a negative stigma around the idea of shopping at thrift and secondhand shops, but there are a number of benefits to buying older or used clothing. With the increase in stores like Forever 21, H&M, and Zara mass-producing clothing, a large amount of that is thrown away and never reaches closets.

According to Thredup, “If all of the clothing were reused or recycled, it would save 6 million items from ending up in landfill per year.”

Thrifted pieces have become more of a statement in popular culture and shopping resale not only reduces your carbon footprint, but it can ensure that you can stand out from others. Next time you drive by a thrift store, don’t pass up the opportunity to check out what’s inside, you might find some rare pieces when you least expect it.