Thrifty and Thriving in October: Rock your new semester style without breaking the bank

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College is the perfect place to find yourself, and one way of doing this is with a new style. Unfortunately, switching up your style often comes at too high a price for those of us on the textbooks-and-ramen-noodles-only budget. So, if you can’t afford to buy it new… thrift it! It’s a great way for college students to keep their wardrobe feeling vibrant and exciting while remaining inexpensive. 

Shannon Zhao, a writer for The Campanile, stated in a 2017 article that, “The clothing resale market is a billion-dollar industry, with approximately 25,000 resale stores across the United States.” 

In the Lansing area, there are many thrifting locations that are a short drive from campus. In East Lansing alone, there is Salvation Army and Plato’s Closet, both of which carry a variety of extremely affordable clothing for people of all sizes and styles. As you drive into Lansing, you’ll find even more options including Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul’s and the hidden gem of Oldtown: Metro Retro. All these stores offer diverse options for every taste, so it’s important to shop around and find which store suits you best. 

For those new to thrifting, there are a few things you may want to consider as you start your style hunt. Since thrift stores often have chaotic organization, you’ll want to make sure you allow yourself enough time to browse through all the merchandise. To find the best pieces, you might have to do some serious digging. 

“This is one of the magical things about a thrift store,” said Jessica Vuong of Fresh U magazine in 2017. “You can find almost anything you want, but you do need a lot of patience to look through all the racks of endless clothing possibilities.” 

In addition to a meticulous browsing strategy, make sure to budget time to try on your finds (especially the extra funky ones). Sometimes the strangest pieces end up being the finds you love the most, so give your new style a chance to find you.

Finally, to get the most out of your shopping, make sure to do some research beforehand. Find photos of contemporary style that speaks to you, so you’ll know what you’re looking for when you get started. Are you a fan of the ripped jeans trend? Head over to Goodwill’s denim section and you might find some vintage Levi’s you can repurpose exactly how you want. Use thrifting as your weapon for killing the fashion game to keep your everyday aesthetic feeling unique. Outsmart designer prices and rock your vintage finds because fashion history repeats itself. Thrift shopping allows you to stay ahead of the fashion curve without doubling your student loan debt in the process.