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“I’m Gonna pop some tags” How to guide to Thrift Shopping

According to the calendar we still have a month until Spring, but here in Phoenix, it’s feeling like Summer, which means it’s time to make adjustments to your wardrobe. As a college student, who isn’t a contestant on What Not to Wear? My budget is limited. That’s why I like to make use of thrift shops to fill out my wardrobe. I have to be honest, thrifting wasn’t something I was always into, but my friends frequent Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul, and I found myself learning from them. Today, I want to share what I’ve learned.

My favorite second-hand clothing stores are Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange. If you need an outfit for Coachella, go to Buffalo Exchange, the Central Phoenix location recently relocated to 7th and Osborn Street. Buffalo Exchange buys and sells trendy vintage bohemian pieces. Plato’s Closet, which has also relocated, to Scottsdale and McDowell Roads, has a larger store, and more to choose from than Buffalo Exchange. Plato’s closet focuses on brand name pieces that have been in fashion within the past year. The other reason I like these stores is that they are very selective about what they will purchase from donors.

Getting Ready

There are a couple of things you should do before you even head to the store. I suggest you go through your closet and sort through and figure out which things you still wear and which you don’t wear anymore or that no longer fit. Once you figure out what you are getting rid of, make sure you still have clothes left! You wouldn’t want to sell all of your old items and then realize you don’t own any shorts with summer just around the corner.

Put everything into a bag and take it with you. Before you browse through the store, have one of the employees go through your bag and see if they will take any of it. You will get more money if you decide to put it onto a trade card and get store credit than getting cash for the clothes.


Figure out what you need and the current trends you want to buy. This season I was looking for blouses, high-waisted shorts, dresses, and a pair of palazzo pants. Once you figure out what you are looking for make sure that when you go to the store you only look through those sections. Stay focused—there’s no sense looking through the jean section when it is nearly Summer in Arizona, you’re going to get very few wears out of the jeans now before it is 110 degrees.

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Once you find items and you are in the fitting room, inspect the clothing before you try them on. I found a couple of items, but once I got to the fitting room I found that the seams were torn. Check for stains as well. There’s nothing worse than going home with a piece with holes in it. Grab a couple of friends and get out there.

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I hope you find some great pieces—if I don’t find them first, that is!

Article and Photos by Conall Casey-Waid


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