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Your Guide to Thrifting in College Park

By Natalie Leinbach

Thrift Tip: When thrift shopping, try to enter the experience with an open mind and a few target items. The target will help centralize your shopping and train your eye. Photo Courtesy of Natalie Leinbach

It has not always been “cool” to shop second-hand. Complaining about hand-me-downs and avoiding resale stores seems like it was commonplace a few years back. However, in the last 10 years, thrift shopping has grown in popularity among young adults, especially college students. In part due to a resurgence of vintage styles, thrift shops have seen influxes of shoppers, and it seems like new thrift and consignment shops have been popping up on every block. And, yes, the neighborhoods of College Park are no exception!

The newest second-hand clothing store and source of buzz on campus is Uptown Cheapskate. Uptown is “a trendy resale clothing store for teens and young adults” with over 40 locations in 17 different states. Located less than a mile north of campus on Route 1, Uptown has a new location with brand name items galore. Uptown curates its selection by carefully handpicking items from those who come on-site to sell their old clothes. They only buy mint condition items, many of which are brand names like Free People, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, Adidas, and much more. Items are often sold for more than 50% off their original prices, which creates excellent bargains for anyone looking to find inexpensive but trendy items.

Thrift Tip: Sizes are relatively arbitrary when thrift shopping because sizes run differently between brands; make sure to look through all different size categories.

A consignment shop like Uptown Cheapskate is a great place to start, but there’s another College Park gem with prices even cheaper. Off of University Boulevard is Value Village, one of over 300 stores nationwide. Every once in a while, shoppers can find a killer brand name steals at thrift stores like these, but part of the fun is finding vintage one-of-a-kind items with unique narrative history. When it comes to shopping at thrift stores like a Value Village or Goodwill, it is essential to be patient but committed. Looking through all the stuff can be discouraging because it is mostly out of style, but persistence will ensure a great find.

Thrift Tip: If something doesn’t fit correctly, don’t force it because you don’t have the option to size up or down. However, don’t be afraid to practice making alterations to make them fit better!

Just when you thought thrifting couldn’t get any closer to home than four short minutes from campus, it does! Resale shops’ momentum and popularity have propelled the addition of online shops. Shops like Maeven, Depop, and Refashioner sell vintage clothing online. Some of these sites even allow people to make an account and sell their own clothing. Another reputable, affordable online option is ThredUp. Shoppers can often find exceptional items for up to 90% off their retail price. However, online stores can still rip customers off, so it can be better to sift through the racks. 

Thrift shopping is a great way to keep usable items out of landfills and to reduce the millions of dollars funneled into the commercial fashion industry. Along with being sustainable, it also allows college students to save money on clothes while incorporating distinct pieces into their wardrobe. It is a fun challenge to shop at thrift stores because shoppers must get creative with their style to visualize outfits. So, for those who are new to the thrifting experience yet mesmerized by the idea of finding those diamonds-in-the-rough, it is recommended to start building a thrifting strategy, refining shopping skills, and elevating a wardrobe in an affordable, sustainable manner.

Photos Courtesy of Natalie Leinbach

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