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The thrill of a thrift

Everyone likes a bargain, but imagine paying way less for products that are unique and eco-friendly. That’s the pull for many college students toward thrift shopping.

And in Orange, there is no shortage of secondhand shops, from the Salvation Army and Goodwill on Tustin Street, to the Assistance League and The Collection by Casa Teresa, both walking distance from Chapman.

This week, I spoke to some of Chapman’s experienced thrifters about what they’ve learned from crafting their wardrobes by sifting through several consignment shops.

Maria Donoso in her favorite olive overalls she bought from thrift shopping. Photo courtesy of Maria Donoso

Sophomore business administration major Maria Donoso has a put-together yet relaxed 90s feel to her style that’s built around cool thrift shop finds. Her go-to thrift store is the Salvation Army.

“They always have 40 to 50 percent off sales on the whole store, and I’ve snagged some awesome things from there,” Donoso said.

Senior film production major Camara Rauen also shared that every Thursday, The Collection has massive sales where everything outside on the patio or in the back is $2.

“I love going in with $20 and getting a whole new wardrobe like once a month,” Rauen said.

Not only do you spend much less than at a conventional store, but the money you do spend often goes to charity.

“Thrift stores are usually connected to a nonprofit organization that uses the store’s profit toward the cause,” said junior film production major Savannah Lew.

For example, Casa Teresa, which is the organization behind The Collection, helps mothers and children with health services, education and provides jobs for the mothers as well.

There is a strong environmentalist case for thrift shopping, too. Lew said that clothing manufacturers are the second largest polluters in the world, with Rauen adding that in typical retail stores, you don’t know how the laborers making the clothes are treated.

While shopping at a thrift store is similar to shopping at a conventional clothing store, the women still had a few insider tips for beginners.

“You got to be persistent, you can’t just give up. If they don’t have your size, try again in a few weeks,” Rauen said.

The day of the week can also make or break your thrifting experience, according to Donoso.

“If you can, go toward the beginning of week,” Donoso said. “They’ll be freshly restocked, it won’t be busy and it won’t be over-picked. Also, try everything on.”

Both Rauen and Lew use thrifting for costume design on film projects at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. In these cases, they might make some alterations, such as dyeing a piece, or using tape or pins to fit the actors.

Rauen and I went thrifting around the Orange Plaza last Friday. While the Assistance League was closed, I didn’t mind having more time at The Collection.

The place is adorable, and looking around, I began to feel like I was on a scavenger hunt, knowing that hidden somewhere in the building was something I would love for a wildly cheap price.

The first thing that called out to me was an adorable long-sleeved romper that I could wear to absolutely any occasion: a clear yes. But I also found a bright pink dress hidden in the changing room that looked perfect for being on camera for my broadcast news classes.

Right after trying on the black and off-white romper, I knew it was worth the $10 price tag. Photo by Alana Williams

Rauen also made a pretty great discovery: a brand name dress originally $338, on sale for… guess how much? No really, guess. $8. That’s 97.5% off.

Rauen showcases her great find of the day, a name-brand dress for $8. Photos by Alana Williams

I also found a black lace top that I loved, and Rauen found another dress for $6 and two necklaces. All in all, I got three things for $32, which I was more than happy with.

I’m moving soon and hope to continue the secondhand clothes cycle with a big donation of old clothes to Casa Teresa at 123 W Maple St. Oh, and you can bet I’m going back next Thursday for that sale.

The Salvation Army, at 180 S Tustin St, Orange, CA 92866 is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week but Sunday.

The Assistance League of Orange at 124 S Orange St, Orange, CA 92866, is open 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. and is closed on Sunday and Monday.

The Collection, at 234 N Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an early 9 a.m. start on Thursday, and closed on Monday and Tuesday.

1 Comment

  • Nice Article about Thrift Shopping. It had surely transformed my opinion over the Thrift Stores and Shopping. Hope many would change their decisions like i does

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