Thrifting: Nearly New

Social media promotes mainstream fashion brands, advertising clothing sold for high prices. However, many teens opt for a cheaper alternative, thrifting.

Amanda Cassel, Assistant Editor

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Walking into a Wicker Park thrift store, sophomore Gigi Reece is filled with excitement and hope. She looks from shirt to shirt and doesn’t worry that she could fall in love with something that could destroy her wallet. 

She finds a shirt that appears brand new and could easily cost more than quadruple the price at one of her favorite stores, Urban Outfitters. She looks at the price tag and is thrilled to see it is only $3. Although this seems like a rare deal and an unlikely find to a novice thrifter, Gigi isn’t surprised. This is normal thrift store procedure. Search, find clothing that expands your style, check the price tag, smile. She buys the shirt and finds herself satisfied and excited about her purchase. 

“It’s that excitement you get when you buy any new clothing,” Gigi said, “but this time, you clawed through those racks and put in the work to find that shirt you love. You earned it.”

Gigi explained how walking into a former warehouse with racks on racks of clothing can be incredibly overwhelming, but part of what makes thrifting incredible is the sheer mass of possibility without the intimidating price tag. 

“There’s this satisfaction when you find something you love,” Gigi said, “You did that. You found something unique for almost no money. And that is really special.”

Gigi’s experience and relationship with thrifting is not unique.  Junior Adria Wilson also loves thrifting. She was introduced to it by her older sister, a lab allumna,  and when her sister learned to drive, they started thrifting all the time.

“She really liked thrifting and I followed her lead,” Adria said, “and then it became something I look forward to, and love myself.”

Adria loves the variation she sees thrifting, finding something that is uncommon and unique. She disliked how other stores would cycle through clothing every few weeks and everything generally followed one era or trend. 

“When you thrift, you find stuff from all different periods, in all different varieties,” Adria said. “And you could find something you love, that you never expected, and it has this unique story behind it.”

Adria and Gigi’s excitement about thrifting is not reserved to girls. Senior, Michael Harper would argue that style is one of the best ways he can express himself. 

“When a stranger sees you on the street,” Michael said, “in that split second all they have to judge you is your clothing.”

But clothing wasn’t always something so relevant to Michael. He started caring about his style towards the end of middle school. At first, much like Gigi, his go-to store was Urban Outfitters. That changed after his friends took him thrifting.

“It was really different, you know,” Michael said, “it was like a totally different kind of shopping.”