According to the SERC Environmental Research Center at the University of Berkeley, Americans throw away 10.5 million tons of clothes annually. It makes sense that buying secondhand is a smart idea. While it’s good for the environment, buying secondhand can come with a stigma. Fashion Stylist Amy Seeman takes us shopping with her to 3 of her favorite thrift stores to show us what to look for and the joy in finding those one of a kind pieces that reflect your individual style.
1st Stop: Unique Thrift Store in New Hope
- The jewelry counter can be a gold mine there! I look for funky costume pieces that speak to me. One of my most coveted pieces is a gold coin choker I paid less than $20 for and get compliments on every time I wear it. During this trip I bought two gold cuffs for $5.49 and when I got home and googled them they are vintage Trigere and sell on Ebay for $450 a piece!
- Huge denim selection – Thrifting is uber popular with teenagers so this is a great place to take your daughter for Levi’s and AE jeans. I’ve also found the occasional designer jeans like Mother and JBrand for under $20 which retail for $200.
- They also have a large men’s t-shirt section where I look for ones I can crop or wear oversized with biker shorts.
- Before you leave scan the scarf selection for silk square ones you can tie in your hair or around your neck for $2-5
2nd Stop: Hunt and Gather in Minneapolis
- Known as a Vintage Amusement Store. It’s truly something out of a storybook. I’ve been known to spend hours here! This is a place I go to look for something one-of-a-kind for a formal affair or a good theme party.
- In the back right corner of the store NYC has an entire wall of vintage dresses and tops – these girls have an eye for finding the coolest pieces.
- In the basement Bones has an edgy corner with upcycled pieces using a lot of patchwork and cropping. They turn old football jerseys into cinched crop tops (hello game day apparel!) and use patches from men’s blue collar uniforms on beanies and hoodies. I always pick up ones I see that have a special meaning to a friend as a little “just because” gift.
- Sparkly tops and jackets are my vice – I love to wear them with jeans and heels on a date night, over a graphic tee to a concert, or over a jumpsuit to a wedding. Most are priced between $30-50. You don’t have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks!
3rd Stop: Fashion Ave2 in Wayzata
- They have two locations, one off 50th and France and one in Wayzata.
- This is an upscale consignment where you can find gently used designer pieces for incredible prices.
- I buy a lot of my designer jeans here like Frame, Reformation, and Citizens and Mother for half price.
- Gorgeous selection of dresses that were likely only worn one time to an event. If you have a wedding or bridal shower, vacation, or family photos coming up this is a great place to look!
- They also have a good selection of designer sunglasses and handbags. I bought this Freya round leather bag for $118 and it retails for $610!
Tips for Thrifting:
- Change your mindset! Thrifting is good for your wallet and the environment. Be proud to share the deals you found and where you found them!
- Think outside the labels! Of course it’s fun to find that designer piece for a steal of a deal, but I don’t focus solely on the labels. I look for pieces that spark joy and reflect my personal style. I also look in sections 1-2 sizes smaller and larger than my normal. Especially when it comes to vintage clothing, the sizing can be all over the board. I’m typically a 4-6 and have some shorts that are a 12. I also have an xlarge shirt that I wear as a dress. And don’t forget to shop the men’s section!
- Get thrifty! If you find something you love but it’s got a small stain, or maybe doesn’t fit perfectly, think about how you might be able to alter it. If the pants are too long you can raw hem them or have them tailored for an additional $10-20. The men’s button up shirt with the stain on the sleeve would make the perfect cover up if you cut the sleeves off. The oversized t-shirt can be cropped. The plain hoodie can be bleach dyed or patched to give it personality. The leather handbag with a broken strap can be fixed by a cobbler or swapped out for a guitar strap style that’s very much on trend.