By SEAN MALINOWSKI
If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind look that stands out among your college peers, thrift stops offer unique and contemporary styles. It’s a great way to express your individuality without breaking the bank.
Most thrift stores offer a lot more than just clothing. Other items include inexpensive accessories, furniture, decor, books and even children’s toys. These stores are also environmentally friendly, putting items back on the shelves instead of in landfills.
Heather Gallian, general manager of Thrift on Kent, shopped at thrift stores constantly as a student. She knows the benefits thrift stores can bring to a student’s lifestyle.
“It fits their budget,” Gallian said. “Inexpensive furniture is a big seller to students.”
Gallian enjoys thrift shopping herself, and knows the rush a good find can bring. Your purchases may very well be one of a kind, as opposed to buying the same Old Navy shirt that everyone has.
“It’s the best place to find that unique piece, something you wouldn’t be able to find at a regular retail store,” Gallian said.
Wendy Huenul is a first-year journalism print student and a consistent thrift store shopper. She visits at least one thrift store a week, purchasing clothing, books and other knick-knacks.
“Eighty-five per cent of my wardrobe is from thrift stores,” Huenul said. “I can never justify paying $20 for a shirt.”
Prices vary at different thrift stores, but they are in a similar range. For men and women, the price range is also similar. On average, T-shirts are $3, jeans $7, sweaters $9, and outerwear $12. Thrift stores also have a wide range of accessories such as scarves, bags, belts and jewelry.
There are some good strategies to follow when thrift shopping. For one, check every item you have interest in purchasing for faults and stains. Stores will still sell clothing that are missing buttons or have holes in the pockets.
Most thrift stores wash donations prior to sale, but always check for stains that may be unnoticeable at first. Approach a cashier with the damaged product and they may be able to give you a discount on it.
Be open-minded. If something interests you, you should throw it in your cart. You never know how it will look until it’s on, so use a change room to give your finds a test drive. This is a strategy Huenul tries to follow.
“I always pick out more than I’m going to buy,” Huenul said. “So I need to try on the clothes as an elimination process.”
Thrift store purchases are also a lot more dispensable than an average-priced item. It’s much easier to throw away a pair of jeans that were $5, instead of designer threads for $50. Thrift shopping doesn’t bring that financial stress that can come from new purchases.
“I’m a poor student,” Huenul said. “I never feel guilty spending that money because it’s pocket change.”
Thrift on Kent, located at 50 Kent Ave. in Kitchener, is just one of the many local thrift stores in the area. Value Village and Goodwill are two of the more well-known ones. So snag $20, and go buy yourself a new wardrobe.