Seasonal Fashion Tip: How to shop local thrift stores for fall

by Alanna Carlson

With the beginning of fall, many students are getting ready to shop for new fall clothes. Many people use thrift stores as resources for saving money while still finding great fashion.

Spokane touts an abundance of thrift stores, which offers a lot of opportunity for people to go thrift shopping. Members of the Whitworth community are already utilizing these resources.

Whitworth English professor Nicole Sheets identifies herself as a hardcore thrift store shopper.

“I think thrift stores are always full of surprises and you never know which treasures are going to find you,” Sheets said. “If you’re prone to the occasional impulse-buy like I am, you can do less [financial] damage in a thrift store.”

Inexperienced thrift store shoppers should be open to anything one finds in a thrift store, she said. If one goes to a thrift store with a specific item in mind, he or she is likely to be disappointed, she said. After all, thrift stores do not keep a consistent inventory.

Senior English major Hannah Crawford also frequents thrift stores.

“I practically live in them,” Crawford said. “I prefer shopping at thrift stores first of all because of the price, but also, it’s more of a fun experience to just dive in and see what’s out there … It’s fun to just kind of sort through and find little treasures and see what you can create.”

Thrift stores are the perfect places to shop for those who are crafty, Crawford said. But shoppers should be forewarned — don’t buy things to fix up if you’re never going to get around to it, Crawford said. Unused items will clutter one’s closet.

Shoppers should also check potential buys for wear and tear, Crawford said. No one wants to buy an item and afterward find awkward stains or rips in inconvenient places.

“Also, don’t be afraid to try things on,” Crawford said. “It’s okay to try things on and not like them. It’s hard to tell whether you would like something on the racks in a thrift store without trying it on.”

Thrift stores are a great place to purchase outerwear, but shoppers should be careful of what else they buy. Shoppers should be warned against buying items such as socks and intimates at a thrift store, Sheets said.

“I’m always amazed at what thrift stores will try to resell,” Sheets said.

Both Sheets and Crawford suggest the shirts section and the dress section as go-to parts of the store.

The benefits of shopping at thrift stores for fall fashion are not only financial.

“[Shopping at thrift stores is] a nice way to get off campus and explore Spokane,” Sheets said.

Additionally, thrifitng usually supports a good cause, as most thrift stores are owned by and directly benefit nonprofit organizations.

Spokane thrift stores include Goodwill, Value Village, Salvation Army and Union Gospel Mission, as well as multiple smaller locally-owned shops. Stores tend to have more of one kind of item than another, so looking at different stores to find a shop that carries more of what one might be looking for can lead to better results when shopping.

Contact Alanna Carlson at

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