Walking down the streets of Queens in my cheetah print faux fur coat, people often ask, “Where did you get your coat?”, to which I happily respond, “I thrifted it!”
For a mere $20, my cheetah faux fur has been a successful head turner, while it was originally set at a retail price of $200. The best pieces are not found in retail, but in the midst of racks and racks of clothing in the dingiest thrift stores.
At a point, thrifting becomes addicting. The suspense of the search, the thrill of the find and the pride of the buy is what keeps people going back, and for people who are living on a budget or don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on clothes, it is a great option.
A huge percent of the population that live on a budget are college students, especially students here at St. John’s. “Keeping up with trends can be really difficult and expensive, especially being a fashion student. Thrifting is a good way to find new things and start your own trends, even if you spent one dollar on it,” sophomore Communications and Fashion student at St. John’s, Vanessa Clark said.
So where can St. John’s students thrift and find the best affordable looks? Outside of thrifting hubs Manhattan and Brooklyn, there are great places here in Queens, not far from campus. The Salvation Army Family Store can be found in many areas and there is one near Jamaica Ave.
The employees at the Salvation Army in Jamaica are kind, helpful and want customers to find what they are looking for. There are many hidden treasures, and though it can be overwhelming, it is helpful to go through the store by sections such as: Denim, coats, accessories, shoes and tops. Going by sections is helpful in any thrift store.
Pro tip: Every Wednesday, all items are half priced.
There is another place about a block away from the Salvation Army called Dressed for Less, which has piles of denim from Express and many other pieces from brands such as Puma x Fenty.
When searching, keep in mind the condition of the clothes and the tag. The tag gives information on how to care for the item and can also add value to the item.
A popular thing to do once a valuable thrifted item is scored, is to either rework it, sell it or do both. Reworking thrifted pieces does not involve the skills of a fashion student or a seamstress, but rather anyone with a vision. It can be as simple as cutting and fraying, or adding a button or two. There are videos tutorials, Pinterest is available for inspiration and catalogues for big name stores to check the trends.
One thing to remember about thrifting, whether it is for fun or you’re on a mission to find a particular item, it is okay to walk out empty handed if you’re not truly satisfied. It can be a hit or miss sometimes, but once something worth it is found, the cycle of suspense, thrill and pride repeats.