Thrifting is a fun, easy, and cheap way to explore fashion and clothing combinations. That is what many young thrifting fanatics would say to describe the activity to older relatives or friends they are trying to get on board. However, therein lies the problem. Thrifting is not just trendy — it’s also become a victim of its own trendiness. Many young people from high school to new college grads are looking to find some cheap office attire are devouring the thrift stores where they live to find their hidden gems. I can’t deny that it’s fun. Thrifting is a rewarding and highly involved experience — going through racks of clothes to find the right ones for you is a blast.
The issue arises when these younger people start raiding shops. Over-buying what they need under the impression that it’s unwanted, they take away resources from those who also depend on the shops. So many people have commented recently that there’s no more good stuff at thrift stores. While this is an inconvenience for them and their hobby, in places like Northfield and suburbs nearby, there are people who actually use these stores to get garments that they can afford. Your favorite thrift stores, including Savers or Goodwill, are also stores that were originally set up to be affordable options for those in need or on a tight budget.
Of course, it’s also important to point out that one of the reasons thrifting is so big is because it’s another way to consume a ton of clothing and then toss it away a season later. Non-thrifters are not immune to this trend. The clothing and style expectations for people today is a little ridiculous — no one should genuinely worry about the social implications of outfit repeating, yet so many teens and even working professionals do. Thrifters can’t be blamed for this, but they are perpetuating it when they take an excessive amount of clothes off the shelf that they don’t need.
I won’t deny I love fashion. I find it rewarding and so fun to put together nice outfits and feel my best. However, recently, I’ve been trying to improve my fashion footprint. Thinking about what I actually want and for how long I might want it has become more important to me. I’m still someone who has a few select favorite pieces from freshman year of high school that I wear in my sophomore year of college. I think that’s cool, and maybe even something to aspire to. Thrifting isn’t and shouldn’t be seen as a horrible activity, but we should prioritize being mindful of our shopping habits above all else in our garment consumption, even if it means buying one less oversized crewneck.
Alli Hering is from St. Paul, Minn.
Her majors are political science and social studies education.