Jimenez: Thrifty threads make urban fashion affordable

Guest Columnist Indira Jimenez explores Philly thrift-store options.

Indira Jimenez

Indira JimenezAs fall begins, many fashion aficionados are in search for Cosby sweaters, used Doc Martens and everything in between, all while still trying to stay within the college student’s budget.

Sprucing up cool weather wardrobes on a budget can be accomplished by exploring Philadelphia’s thrift store scene. Thrift and resale stores are becoming quite the fashion trend themselves, and Philly has a few gems where one can get an abundance of fashion-forward pieces for bottom dollar.

Buffalo Exchange
Fashionista Type: Sophisticated Hipster
Location: 1713 Chestnut St.

A favorite among Temple students, Buffalo Exchange is a hop, skip and a jump off the City Hall SEPTA stop, and one is instantly enthralled when walking into the fashion hot spot: mannequins featuring hip pieces, “racks on racks on racks” of used clothes, a mixture of clothes brought in by the public as well as vendors that do deals with the Buffalo Exchange company.

“I started working here because of my love of resale fashion,” said store employee Siobhan O’Neill, who has been a part of the Buffalo Exchange family for a little more than two years.

Most of the clientele who come to this resale shop are all over the place, fashion for the young as well as fashion for the old. Since the store works mostly by seasonal trends, the popular sections vary from season to season, but there is never a shortage of interesting pieces. And what about more exclusive brands?

“It’s pretty common to get higher-end pieces,” O’Neill said.

Also, the store went under a huge renovation last December, allowing more room for merchandise. Head down to Buffalo Exchange for the mix of unique styles along with traditional staples for every fashionista or fashionisto.

Second Time Around
Fashionista Type: High-end Aficionada
Location: 1728 Chestnut St.

Less than a minute walk from Buffalo Exchange, lovers of high-end designers and labels can get their fashion fix with Second Time Around, a resale store that claims “Resale Goes Upscale.” Unlike Buffalo Exchange, the store has a much more exclusive and selective collection, including Chanel, Ferragamo and Cole Haan, to name a few.

“We look for high-end designer to brand name, so we tell people to take from like Chanel to J. Crew, generally nothing older than two years,” said Lisa Johnson, store manager of the Philly location and 2010 alumna.

In addition, the store has a vintage selection that contains retro pieces that follow current trends and styles, and are in mint condition. So what’s the store’s demographic?

“It’s really a range, because we’ll take urban brands, so we get people in their 20s and 30s, and then we have designer stuff so, all in all it goes from like 20- to 60-year-olds in the store,” Johnson said.

If one can’t pass up the allure of owning vintage or current designer pieces, check out Second Time Around.

Circle Thrift
Fashionista Type: Charitable Clothes Addict
Location: 1125 S. Broad St.

What’s better than getting clothes for inexpensive prices? Getting clothes for inexpensive prices, while also giving back to the community. That’s what Circle Thrift on South Broad Street is all about. It partners with the church Circle of Hope to give the clothes and items on sale to low income families and individuals around the area, while also prompting customers to donate their own clothes to Circle Thrift for families and community members in need.

“We have some younger kids, and mostly actually families from the neighborhood who come in here,” said Tomas Dadamo, an employee of Circle Thrift. “Our stuff is lower priced than thrift shops around, so we’re tailored less to the retro image and more about providing low income families with good stuff.”

“I hope for two things: that college students who can afford, while their wardrobe is changing, to donate clothes, and also to come here and find stuff that would be more inexpensive here,” Dadamo, who has worked with Circle Thrift for about a year, said.

Circle Thrift offers the best of both worlds: enlarging the ever changing wardrobe of a college student, and helping the less fortunate in Philadelphia.

Indira Jimenez can be reached at indira.jimenez.temple.edu.

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