by Katy Fishman
Does this sound familiar: Your teenager loves top-of-the-line brands, but your wallet … not so much?
Then consider introducing your teenager to thrifting this back to school season. Though some still associate thrifting as a lower socio-economic necessity, the fact is that many savvy shoppers — including many teenagers — count the thrift store among their first choices for shopping destinations.
“It’s a cheap way to change up my outfits,” says Adri Kohlman, a teen thrifter based in Baltimore, Maryland. “I like that I can get five or six shirts at a thrift store for what one costs at the mall. That makes shopping really fun.”
Other reasons thrifters keep going back? Well, there’s the environment; thrifting is by definition recycling, and buying used instead of new reduces one’s carbon footprint. Thrifting also touches a philanthropic nerve. Many thrift stores are either owned by or contribute a portion of their profits to a non-profit charity. So, shoppers leave the store with new clothes and a sense of giving their money to a worthwhile cause.
Where to find one? Go online. Ask friends and family. You may be surprised to learn how many people you know shop at thrift stores, especially since many of these outlets now specialize in gently used, higher-end brands.
There can be pitfalls to thrift shopping. A common concern is the cleanliness of the clothes. Though the stores wash clothes upon receiving them, it’s not a bad idea to launder them again before wearing. Wash the clothes on the highest heat possible, making sure to use OxyClean or other disinfectant in the process.
Thrifting is not for everyone. Some feel uncomfortable with the fact that the clothes are previously owned, and others just prefer the fashions they can find at the mall. But for many teens like Adri, who have limited income and unlimited desire to keep their wardrobes fresh and unique, thrifting represents the best of all worlds.
Katy Fishman is a former intern with Your Teen Magazine.