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Elizabeth Landers | Campus Chic Report

Thrift Shoppin’

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 07:12

I’m digging, I’m digging, I’m searching right through that luggage/ One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come up.” Macklemore’s self−deprecating humor is spot on in his hit “Thrift Shop,” in which he raps for an entire three minutes and 55 seconds about the art of thrifting and sifting through piles of old clothes for the Velcro sneakers or fox fur coat he might discover there.

Some frequent thrift shops on Friday afternoons, right before a themed party. For others, thrifting is an economical, standard way to shop for clothes. Environmentally speaking, thrift shopping grants a consumer the thrill of getting something “new” without the guilt that accompanies an immense carbon footprint, fast−fashion labor or non−recyclable materials.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it became cool to spend hours in a Goodwill, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that in the past three and a half years since I arrived at Tufts, Davis Square has witnessed its own come−up in the thrift shop vein.

What started as a consignment shop called Poor Little Rich Girl, which sported a selection of college−friendly styles like Zara and J.Crew, changed to Found a little more than a year ago. It might be easy to think that the store underwent a makeover, but in fact, Found is an entirely new store with different owners and a radically different offering of clothes.

I find Found to be a curious place. The display table models YSL taboo pumps and the front racks feature Chanel tweeds and silk blouses to the tune of $1200 and $250, respectively. All the designer mainstays like Prada, Gucci and Burberry are present, as are slightly quirkier European designers like Dries Van Noten. Not only are the items extremely expensive, especially by a college−budget standard, but they’re also very high fashion and perhaps less than Somerville practical. I seriously wonder who here would buy a pink studded Versace gown, circa the Giani days. There are a few items mixed in that would appeal to a 20−something’s taste, but not too many. Re−wearing exorbitantly expensive designer threads is laudable, but this store caters more to either a working woman or man who makes the trek from Boston to check out the impressive selection, or a Somerville local who has a honed eye for design.

Of course, the Buffalo Exchange that opened up across the street has found instant fandom amongst Tufts students. Another consignment store, Buffalo Exchange falls more in the thrift shop vein than does Found, and it hovers around a much more affordable price point. And trust me, there’s some serious digging to be had, what with the racks upon racks of tees, skirts and dresses in the multi level store. I was shocked to find a pair of Agent Provacteur red patent leather pumps — from the extremely expensive, fetishistic lingerie line — for $30. Other finds were Lilly Pulitzer silk tops and BCBG knit dresses. There’s a wide selection of menswear here, but the womenswear still takes up most of the floor space. There are no fur coats in sight, but a pretty impressive array of weird sunglasses in every shape and color makes for a cheap thrill.

And then we arrive at the Mecca of thrifting for a Davis Square frequenter: Goodwill. Filled to the brim with stuff — I say stuff because it’s not just clothes we’re talking about here — there is a sheer abundance of anything you could ever need. The floor space is enormous with two full levels of merchandise, all for dirt−cheap prices. You can find any brand under the sun here, and unlike the repetitive monotony of mall−shops, what you’re going to find is usually one−of−a−kind. As Macklemore points out in his song, there is something extremely gratifying about sorting through a rack of unsightly velour sweaters to come across a diamond in the rough — a vintage tee shirt or the perfect ugly Christmas sweater.

If our generation appreciates anything about clothes, it’s usually the grungy cool irony in them. Thrifting screams, “I have time to find a good bargain while still looking fly. Plus, I’m not ruining the environment while I’m at it.”

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Elizabeth Landers is a senior majoring in political science. She can be reached at Elizabeth.Landers@tufts.edu

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