Thrifting: Finding a Needle in a Haystack


Isabella Dudley-Flores

The Goodwill thrift store on McFarland in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Isabella Dudley-Flores, Staff Writer

Racks full of old man sweaters, shelves of trinkets, whole wall of dresses and a stuffed animal section overwhelmed with creepy dolls from the 90s (I gave in and bought one for myself). 

Welcome to my favorite local Goodwill located on McFarland Parkway in Alpharetta, Georgia. 

My creepy doll, Anne, from Goodwill’s stuffed animal section. (Isabella Dudley-Flores)

Thrifting is overwhelming the first few times you give it a shot, but it’s so much fun after you get past the feeling of intimidation at the sight of thousands of used, scattered clothes. 

Finding interesting items at a second-hand store definitely takes some patience and searching, but it’s so worth it.  

“You’re looking for unique pieces you can’t find at a chain store,” sophomore Payton Key said.  

While on a thrifting excursion in MichiganKey found dangly keyboard earrings which she now often wears. 

One of freshman Kailee Fuller’s pastimes is cosplaying, where she puts together costumes of her favorite fictional characters and dresses up in them. She often thrifts pieces for her cosplays. 

She buys jackets from second-hand stores for her main wardrobe, as well. She said “a good 90%” of her clothes are thrifted. 

I estimate 95% of my clothes are second-hand. It’s always satisfying to discover a specialstriking piece among a sea of clothing. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.  

My tip to finding cool clothes? Sift through every. Single. Rack. 

I know, I know, this takes a lot of patience. But if you only take a peek, you may miss a hidden gem. 

“I recommend looking for something that’s fun and catches your eye,” Key said. 

One of my first times thrifting, I found a vintage Levi’s corduroy jacket. It’s by far my best thrift find, and I cringe when I wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t look at the jackets section that day. 

My trusty Levi’s corduroy jacket from Goodwill. (Isabella Dudley-Flores)

Freshman Giuliana Meese, Fuller and I love the men’s section, so we may spend some extra time there. 

“Don’t just look in your own gender,” Meese said. “There’s a lot of good finds – especially if you like oversized stuff — in the men’s.” 

“Their blazers are great,” said Fuller. 

The men’s section has the best sweaters, t-shirts and pants. 

The sweaters are great within this section because they’re worn-in and ginormous, which adds to the cozy factor.  

The T-shirts are neat because they can have neat graphics on themor be an unexpected dumb saying that adds stupid pizazz to a boring outfit.  

On my most recent trip, I picked up a shirt which pictures zombie news anchors. I also, however, have a shirt which says “I [Heart] My Geek.” 

The women’s tees, on the other hand, are early 2000s Britney Spears vibes: just, no. 

The pants in the men’s section don’t have bejeweled early 2000s skinny jeans, unlike the women’s section, but rather huge, wide-leg pieces, where belts will most likely be necessary (they often fit well on the legs but poorly at the waist). 

Speaking of belts, these staples at second-hand stores are plain cool. They often have neat hardware. If you’re more of a gold hardware person, they have those too, which are usually a challenge to find elsewhere. 

I didn’t really start thrifting on my own and accumulating a bunch of secondhand pieces until a few summers ago. 

I often thrift with my best friends. It’s fun to hold up a really odd shirt to your friend a few aisles down and laugh about it. 

My friend and I once challenged ourselves to find the dumbest shirts in the store and we took a picture in them. I chose one saying, “I love my boyfriend” (I did not have a boyfriend), and my friend chose one which depicted Kris Jenner in a photoshopped Santa hat that said “Merry Krismas.” 

Meese also thrifts with her friends most of the time. It’s a new hobby of hers. 

She would go more often, but since she can’t drive, she can’t go as much as she’d like. 

Thrifting is a more exciting version of regular shopping, because it can be challenging to come across things you actually like, since these stores have absolutely everything, ranging from “Merry Krismas” shirts to vintage Levi’s corduroy jackets.