Sifting through thrift: ditch conventional retail and go second hand

Most college students have multiple limitations and preferences when it comes to shopping, and if buying new clothes is on the to-do list, thrift stores serve as a remedy to cure any shopping crises. From budget limitations to costume needs, thrift stores could provide exactly what you need and more.

For some, designer clothes are a must, but are largely unaffordable without $500 lying around for a pair of jeans. Thrift can mean finally finding that one Céline bag from Pinterest, a pair of second-hand Jeffrey Campbell pumps, or a used Versace dress undoubtedly worn by an Oscar attendee all for only a fraction of its original price.

Unless you are Anna Wintour, however, or some die hard fashion expert, it's easy ignore what season a particular item of clothing or outfit is from. For some, finding something that makes a statement of individual expression at a reasonable price is the highest priority. Finding some crazy, funky vintage dress from the 80's for $10 is a jewel find over mainstream American Apparel.

Whether it's vintage or popular designer, a plethora of unique finds can be found by going thrift shopping.

For men, thrift can simply mean getting a pair of oxfords for $20, or a widely brimmed hat and a tattered tweed jacket to out-hipster your comrades.

Thrift can also be the way to go if you want to find reading glasses and suspenders to add to a costume, or your everyday wear.

Whatever the meaning, hidden gems are everywhere at thrift stores. You just have to take a closer look.

For the students of Santa Monica, there is a wide array of choices to find clothing at lower prices than those offered in stores on The Promenade.

Stores like Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, and Wasteland are just some of the options that offer hugely discounted prices on worn clothing, still in very good condition.

Buffalo Exchange, located on Santa Monica's Main Street, offers designer and vintage clothing at cheap moderate prices. While it is likely you'll find something from James Perse or Marc Jacob's, you are also just as likely to find something from designers a little harder to find these days like Member's Only or Betsy Johnson.

While many Santa Monica College students shop at Buffalo Exchange, others work there, like Shaine Edmond an SMC industrial design major, who advocate "free expression through fashion."

He works and shops there as a student on a budget. "Everything is reasonably priced, as opposed to retail. You can find current styles and vintage styles, whatever you're into," Edmond said.

Employees also get the chance to see everything first. "I got a suede Levi's jacket with a waxed canvas that a guy paid $300 for," Edmond added.

Crossroads Trading Co., across from the Third Street Promenade, focuses more on selling contemporary clothing, steering away from vintage.

At Crossroads sells modern pieces, heavily stylized on mannequins to provide a ready-to-wear look. They have everything from Topshop and Zara, all the way to Gucci and Helmut Lang, all at affordable prices. It is easy to spend as little as $20 or as much as $300 and bring home dozens of cool finds.

Wasteland, also considered thrift though it has higher prices, the bulk of their inventory being used clothes, still source new clothing from local retailers. Shoppers can find everything from grungy looking street styles to Haute couture pieces.

The store offers lightly used clothing, and new clothes for heavily discounted prices, despite some of their price tags for a simple t-shirt being $50.

Due to the store's high standards, they often receive last season's clothes from local celebrities, and people who stock their closets with designer.

Whichever style is desired, it's more than probable that you'll find something worth while. So instead of emptying your wallet at chain retail stores, be the one who starts the trend and go thrift shopping.


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