Clothes are one of the first things we notice when meeting someone for the first time. Adherence to modern style, color scheme, and brand-name recognition all factor into the perception of a person. One method of purchasing clothing that has a somewhat disesteemed reputation is “thrifting,” or buying second-hand clothes for low prices. Although the trend has gained popularity recently, some still regard the items as low-quality and associate an embarrassment with those that partake in the trade. However, these sentiments are meaningless when compared to the immense good that comes from thrift shopping for clothes.
One of the coolest parts of thrifting is finding clothes that no one else has. Even if the item discovered is name brand, chances are it is no longer sold in stores. If someone is extremely lucky, it might be a valuable vintage. Many people find it embarrassing to be caught wearing the same outfit as someone else, which is a problem thrifting eliminates.
Senior Julia Fisher loves thrifting because it allows you to “get a unique piece of clothing with its own story that continues its journey through you.”
Benefits to style aside, the most obvious advantage of buying used clothes is the lowered price. At stores like Goodwill, each item has a set price depending on its category (ie. all jackets are 5.99, t-shirts 1.99, and jeans 8.99) which makes loading clothes into the shopping cart easier. Even name brands like Nike, Polo, Levi’s, Champion, and more can be found after enough searching. Because of these low prices, students that are strapped for cash can find good quality items for a fraction of the cost. Often, every purchase or donation supports the business which in turn helps out those who need more assistance than others.
Another factor supporting the importance of thrifting is its impact on the environment. Fast fashion, the creation and selling of cheap clothes, results in literal tons of waste. New designs are released each week, resulting in more clothing trash; all created in an effort to keep up with fickle fashion trends. According to the SERC Environmental Research Center at the University of Berkeley, Americans throw away 10.5 million tons of clothes annually. This doesn’t account for the additional resources clothing manufacturers use or the pollution that results. Reusing clothes helps reduce an individual’s carbon footprint, and has the potential to make a big difference.
High school is all about discovering who you want to be, both in your future career and personal life. Thrifting provides a way to go out of your comfort zone with outfits and discover a style that suits you while also benefiting the community, the environment, and those around you.
Local Thrift Stores to Check Out!
The Samaritan Center: 9231 Lee Hwy
Prior Attire: 5906 Main St
Goodwill: Multiple locations throughout Ootlewah/Chattanooga area
America’s Thrift Store: 248 Northgate Mall Dr
Plato’s Closet & Style Encore: 2200 Hamilton Pl Blvd