Most of us have used the phrase “broke college student” to describe our place in life. Tuition, loans, food, rent, and gas accumulate to make list of never-ending expenses that stress out even the thriftiest of finance majors. As students, we try to balance out these unavoidable expenses by getting minimum wage jobs. But even these jobs don’t seem to make a dent. Those of you who are lucky enough to obtain highly-appraised internships may even feel hopeless. We often find ourselves relying on an aunt sending a holiday card or mom sympathizing with a break up to get a little extra cash. As students, we want this money to stretch as far and for as long as possible. We want the two for one drinks on Thursday and the new blouse--so that maybe we can get those drinks for free. How do we get both?
Thrift shopping is our answer. The Macklemore hit blasted from all of our cars at some point or another, but now it’s time to take his lyrics literally. Missoula is a goldmine for thrift shopping. With a simple Google search, a map of Missoula becomes sporadically spotted with numerous thrift shop locations. And, with all the stylish people of Missoula, there are bound to be some secondhand fashionable finds.
As students, where do we even begin? How can a person begin to sift through everything? Aurora, a thrifting junkie and member of Trendsetters at The U, helped me create a set of tips to help students search for stylish bargains to find success.
1) Take Your Time. Before going thrift shopping, make sure you have time to shop. Thrift stores are overflowing with items and being in a rush won’t allow you the time to adequately sift and search. Be able to pace yourself when shopping to look through the racks at individual pieces. Finding the right item for you requires patience and time to look through all that’s offered at a thrift store.
2) Look in every size. Often times thrift stores can become unorganized and size smalls infiltrate the mediums and mediums land in the large section. Previous owners may have dried and shrank their clothes making the labeled “large” shirt actually a medium. Keeping a lookout for misplaced sizes or mislabeled items allows you to find the perfect fit regardless of the label on the rack or tag.
3) Try the Opposite Gender Section. If you're female, try out the male section. The male section is a great resource for oversized sweaters or flannel button ups. Oversized sweaters are trending this fall and you can find a ton of cute, stylish pieces for cheap. Men, you might be afraid to wander into the womens section, but, that XXL white crew neck tee shirt may be just the right fit...
4) Check out the accessories. For the finishing touches of your outfit check out the accessories, especially belts. Belts from the thrift store to cinch skirts and dresses come in tons of great textures, metals,sizes and are exceptionally cheaper than a new belt at the mall. Thrift stores can be the jackpot for modern and vintage jewelry, scarves, and purses.
5) Try it On. Many thrifters are hesitant to try on an article of clothing. Maybe they're afraid of the last person who wore the item or think fitting rooms in a thrift store are too strange. Regardless, we encourage you to try on the clothes! This will ensure getting the right value for the money you’re spending. This will also guarantee you will arrive home without discovering a hidden pair of shoulder pads! If you’re uncomfortable trying on thrift store clothing, wear a t-shirt, tank top, or leggings that can stay underneath your possible purchases.
As a team, our Trendsetters attempted to master thrift shopping this weekend. We explored, examined, rummaged, rejected, and purchased some previously owned treasures. We took our newly bought pieces, and paired them with our personal wardrobe. Our Trendsetter Team successfully created a stylish and affordable look after thrifting. This proves, that as college students we don’t need to sacrifice style due to insufficient funds! Let Macklemore’s song ring in your ears as you use the Trendsetters at the U’s tips to discover the joy of thrift shopping.
Kelsi- vintage Beatles tee and lace up oxfords. (Secret Seconds)
Bailey- denim blouse (Goodwill) and purse ( Secret Seconds)