Thrifting 101 with the Clog

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Jessica Rogness/File

Shopping at thrift stores is an awesome and easy way to buy inexpensive clothing while still promoting a sustainable lifestyle. With all of the amazing thrift stores in the area surrounding UC Berkeley and the Bay Area in general, it’s pretty easy to be sucked into all of the good deals and quickly forget the fact that the items you are buying are, in fact, used. On a recent trip to a thrift store, we at the Clog devised a conclusive guide to help our readers narrow down their thrifting purchases by identifying a few thrifting don’ts.

Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean you should buy it

Allison David/ Staff

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/ Staff

Allison David/Staff

We’ve all been there — we see a killer deal and think to ourselves “do I need this?” or “could I possibly find use for this?” Nine times out of 10, the chances are you don’t need it. As great as this Easter bunny/clown-inspired dress is and as classy as these ruby red platform stilettos are, you probably could do without them. We know what you’re thinking: “What if I go to a costume party and I need ____?” Don’t buy your costume until you get the invitation. With the expensive rent we see in Berkeley, chances are you don’t have unlimited space in your closet. We advise you to put the item down, take a deep breath and walk away.

Please don’t buy “intimate wear”

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

There are a lot of great things to buy at a thrift store — intimate wear isn’t one of them. One can only imagine where and to whom these items once belonged to. We recommend steering clear from intimate wear in general and strictly sticking to retail for these more sensual items. And how well could you clean that pleather skirt anyways? You’re better off without it.

Your grandma’s sweater

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Instead of spending real money on an ugly and outdated sweater (no offense to any of our lovely elder readers), we recommend looking through a grandparent or elder relative’s closet for a sweater, chances are it’ll be yours for the low cost of $0. Save some cash and still get the “retro” look.

Someone else’s swimwear

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Chances are the people that owned these pieces of swimwear didn’t wear any undergarments with them. Yes, we know you can wash them, but something about wearing a stranger’s bathing suit is just a tad disturbing. We recommend opting out of the thrift store option and heading to a retail store like Walmart and Target for an affordable and newer option.

Used hats

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

Lice. Don’t risk it.

Shoes someone else broke in 

Allison David/Staff

Allison David/Staff

This pick may be a little controversial due to the comfort of worn-in shoes. The problem here is that the shoes are worn into the shape of someone else’s foot. Especially with Birkenstocks, a Berkeley student’s staple shoe, the leather footbed may not feel too natural with the shape of someone else’s foot imprinted into the soles. And plus, they may be a bit smelly because the original owner probably didn’t wear socks with them. Yuck!

We hope these simple thrift shop guides can help you navigate through what not to buy at some of our lovely Berkeley consignment stores. Happy shopping!

Contact Allison David at [email protected].