"Thrifting Things" is a new Things series in which a staff writer highlights their latest thrift shop scores.

When I was little, I was obsessed with fashion. Oftentimes, hoping to take an outfit to the next level, I’d raid my mom’s closet, pilfering black leather belts or her favorite scoop-neck T-shirts. On other occasions, I’d sidle up to the TV, decked out in pink plastic heels, a giant feather boa, and white sunglasses and watch Project Runway, on which I dreamed to compete one day.

As I got older, my love of fashion only intensified. At summer camp, I learned how to use a sewing machine; soon I was making little bags and hats perfect for my nine-year-old self to bring to school. Later, as my sewing skills improved, I transitioned to creating proper clothing. One pair of paisley shorts, into which I inserted a long pink shoelace for a drawstring, stands out as a notable construction, one I’m happy to say is still around, albeit in a box under my bed.

Nowadays, unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as I used to, so my sewing has fallen to the wayside a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch sewing tutorials on YouTube (thanks, Annika Victoria) and I can’t resist a good fabric store, but it’s become much harder for me to fit sewing entire garments into my schedule. Thankfully, though, I’ve found a way around this problem: thrifting.

To be honest, thrifting isn’t really a new hobby for me. I’ve been doing it since before I could sew, dragging my mom into Urban Renewal or Second Time Around with all the force I could muster. Now, though, thrifting is a huge part of my life, as opposed to something I’d do occasionally when I wanted certain clothes—sequined halter-tops, distressed jeans, the works—but couldn’t bring my visions to life myself. Oftentimes, when thrifting, I find items I can upcycle, allowing me to keep sewing in some form while still having time to do homework, hang out with friends, and go to as many concerts as I can.

As of writing this article, my favorite thrift store is the Garment District (though I also love Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange). A week ago, I made a trip down there to see what bargains I could find, and I definitely didn’t leave disappointed! One purchase of note is a tan leather jacket from the 90s:

With its tailored fit, simple presentation, and glossy finish, this jacket is definitely one of the more versatile items I’ve found. To dress it up, I’d pair it with a body con dress and heels, but it would also work beautifully over a white T-shirt and jeans. Actually, now that I think about it, I could probably wear this jacket to school, which is a major plus considering how strict our dress code is.

A few days after my Garment District visit, I popped into Buffalo Exchange for a few minutes. After combing through the racks a bit, I came across some awesome Citizens of Humanity jeans:

To be honest, I was pretty surprised to find these, since most items by Citizens of Humanity are far from cheap—nice one, Buffalo Exchange! Not only are these jeans perfectly faded, but they’re also super soft. I might upcycle them soon—a couple of patches, some embroidery along the sides, etc.—to give them a funkier vibe.

Another cool item I found at Buffalo Exchange was this BDG cardigan:

Even though it’s acrylic, it’s still pretty warm and feels nice against my skin—just what I wanted! I did notice later that one of the buttons is falling off, but I’m not too worried: it’s nothing a quick sew won’t fix. Plus, it’s got two sizeable pockets, so I’ll finally have somewhere to put my phone. All in all, I think this cardigan was a good find.

What will my next thrifting adventure bring? I can never be sure, but here’s to hoping it’s a cool one.

text: victoria kussman
visuals: penny mack and victoria kussman

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