COLUMN: Adventures of the Fru-Gal

Heidi Stenquist
City Times

A wardrobe is a must. We don’t live in an episode of Survivor. Clothes that fit and represent our individual style are important. Many of you max yourselves out financially by buying the latest brands at retail prices, buying clothes can be both cheap and much fun at the same time.

Millions of people buy things for themselves or others and for whatever reason constantly donate things they don’t use, need, didn’t like, never fit, outgrew, updated, etc. to thrift stores. After all, it’s a tax donation. Benefit from it. Thrift stores, re-sale/consignment shops, offer the wardrobes of others for a small fraction of the retail price tag.

Each a Pandora’s Box, filled with long racks of hundreds of styles, sizes and brands, thrift stores have isles of centuries of trend to behold. Shirts, shorts, pants, dresses, women’s and men’s, anything you can think of, you’re going to see. One can sift through, let’s say, two hundred pairs of black pants for the perfect pair you can afford, fit in to and love.

Thrift stores have a unique appeal because you can look at so many designs in one place. The variety alone, rummaging through decades of styles, is fabulous! Or if you’re looking for a funny T-shirt, cool worn vintage jeans, costumes or local sports wear, there is so much to look through and find.

You find many new pieces that have the tags hanging off them. I have found Banana Republic suede pants with the tags hanging off them for $110, and I got them half-off, for just $7.50! Versace dresses, BCBG handbags, Lucky Brand Jeans, Ralph Lauren, South Pole, LRG, you name it, I’ve seen it. All await the smart shopper.

After you buy that pair of jeans for $50, they become used, right? Why not buy the jeans in the first place for $5? As a pirate huntress of deals since an early age, I have always gone to thrift stores. This is the way to add core pieces to your wardrobe. Hunt for the deals, which are everywhere, that include your favorite looks.

You will get so much for your money at thrift stores you might become addicted like me. Very rarely will I shop retail; I get so much for my money, why would I? I go just to wander around for strange, unusual items or possibly the deal of a lifetime. Most thrift stores have daily specials with certain tag colors on sale. So pay attention to everything, you never know what you’ll find.

Really close to campus are three of my favorite thrift stores, including two that you can walk to. The Salvation Army is a couple blocks from campus at 901 Park Blvd. and has plenty of free parking. They have a calendar of daily specials, usually buy two get one free on clothing. Seniors and military get a 10 percent discount, but are closed on Sunday.

The Goodwill Thrift Store on the corner of 16th St. and Broadway offers a 10 percent discount to students, military and seniors with the proper ID. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., except Sundays, when it closes at 6 p.m. With shirts for sale at around $4.49 and being so close to campus, it’s very much worth a weekly visit.

Amvets, located off the Pacific Coast Highway at 3441 Sutherland St., is number one in my book. On Wednesdays and Saturdays all tags except the new color are 50 percent off. The place is huge, with a smorgasbord of finds available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They have everything. On a Saturday morning before 9 a.m. there’s a line at the door waiting to get in. Go see what you can find.

Spending a couple of dollars for an article of clothing is a deal for anybody. Remember there are so many new or slightly used clothes of all kinds out there. Go check some out; it will change your perception, especially when you start finding so many deals. People buy new all the time. Remember – classic cool stuff never goes out of style. If you’re looking for core basics or funky stuff to freak out your closet, thrift stores are a place that will have you spending less and saving more. I’ll see you there!

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COLUMN: Adventures of the Fru-Gal