Philosophy of Thrifting

Hey Macklemore, you wanna go thrift shopping?”

Photo by Mary Kate Zach

Thrifting in the past decade has turned into a cultural trend and a way of expression through vintage and secondhand clothing. Whether as an occasional hobby or a daily ritual, thrifting is on the rise.

Susannah Kaufman, a sophomore who only buys second hand clothing, began thrifting with her family when she was young.

“Ever since I was a kid I have been thrifting,” Kaufman said. “It was where my family always went. That was how it was. My mom and I would go to pop-up shops. Shopping for us was thrifting.”

Kaufman said thrifting is a trend for some, but for others it’s the only way to afford clothing.

“I’ve seen some teen girls come into the stores and laugh at elderly couples who are looking through the aisles,” she said. “Whether you go just for fun or you shop there all the time, everyone deserves respect.”

Kaufman started experimenting her junior year by diving into all of the different styles and fabrics a thrift store has to offer.

Kaufman’s style, which she describes as “a teacher from 1989,” sifts through the clothes she finds at stores like Arizona Trading Company in Kansas City, which is one of her favorites. Some of her other favorites include Goodwill, Rockstar and Roger’s in Manhattan, as well as Salvation Army and Truck Thrift Store in Kansas City.

“The best one here in Manhattan is Goodwill for sure,” Kaufman said.

Photo by Mary Kate Zach

When going into a thrift store, she said you have to be prepared to search through just about everything. When selecting your attire, it’s best to disregard size, gender and style. Instead, focus on clothing that catches the eye and makes you exude confidence.

“Girls shouldn’t be afraid to go through the men’s section when going through the aisles,” Kaufman said. “When searching through a thrift store, disregard size. I have a large in high-waisted jeans in women’s, but I also have smalls and mediums.”

Thrifters always have to be ready to alter the clothes they find. Whether it’s cutting, sewing, or ripping, some clothes may need it. Kaufman said she believes the trick is to be OK with expressing yourself.

“People come up to me all the time saying how cool my clothes or make-up are, and how they wish they could do that,” Kaufman said.

Bailee Arnold, freshman in arts and sciences, dedicates up to an hour at a time to her thrifting passion. Arnold encourages thrifters to create the style they’ve always wanted, and said thrifting can be the twist that makes their style unique.

Photo by Mary Kate Zach

Finding a personal style takes some time. Shopping is tiring, but rewarding when you find a new wardrobe for the price of a single outfit at other stores. Both thrifters saw their overall confidence grow once they started finding their style while thrifting.

“I love florals and don’t have much money,” Arnold said. “I’m able to put my style together for an affordable price.”

Kaufman routinely ditches her old outfits due to her frequent visits to thrift stores. Thrifting to these two students and many others has become a form of self-expression, not just a temporary fashion fad.

“As I have continued in thrifting and gotten more comfortable shopping at stores, I’ve found the confidence to express my style,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman and Arnold both excel in one thing in particular, and that is being confident with not only their style, but also who they are as individuals. They both are content with their quirky styles showing through because it is what they feel the best in.

Smiling with her neon pink lipstick matching her pink fishnet crop top, Kaufman emphasized that anyone can be a fashion guru at any price.

“There’s no reason you can’t go thrifting and be unique,” She said. “Anyone can be themselves, it’s just letting go and being yourself.”

Photo by Mary Kate Zach






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