Story by Hayleigh Syens
It seems that Macklemore’s hit song “Thirft Shop” is on the radio every five minutes. While some may think of this as just a catchy tune, others, including Drake University students, actually live the life of a thrifter.
First-year classical guitar and creative writing major Ian “Fritz” Wolfe estimated that 80 percent of his wardrobe is from various thrift shops, many from around the Des Moines area.
“My favorite thrift shop of all time is the Goodwill in Urbandale,” Wolfe said. “That place has always been true to me. They’re always stocked up with really nice stuff.”
He started thrifting after his older brother started, and hasn’t stopped. Wolfe is responsible for buying his own clothes, and has found it easier to shop at thrift stores.
“You can spend $3 on a T-shirt as opposed to $20 on a T-shirt and to me, that just seems so much more convenient. You just have to look a little harder,” Wolfe said, adding his main thrifting strategy is to look for interesting colors and patterns.
First-year secondary education and English major Jordan Toschak said to be successful, you have to go into a thrift store with the right frame of mind.
“You just can’t look for anything specific,” Toschak said. “If you go and you’re looking for a green dress, you’re not going to find it. You have to go and look through all the crazy, ridiculous stuff and see what you get.”
Toschak learned the art of thrifting from her mother. Her favorite local thrift shop is the Des Moines Salvation Army. According to Toschak, there is a certain etiquette that comes with thrifting.
“One time we went thrifting and (my friend) broke the cardinal rule of thrifting, which is talking about how much money you have in your pocket, because then you just look entitled,” Toschak said. “Just have fun while you’re shopping, but don’t be insulting to
Wolfe said people sometimes forget to treat thrift shops, and the people who shop for more than costumes for theme parties, respectfully.
“Personally, I love going to the thrift stores and finding all this stuff, but some people will go there and buy just a bunch of wacky stuff. That’s just kind of degrading to me. It doesn’t make it seem as appealing anymore,” Wolfe said.
On top of being respectful in a thrift shop, Wolfe said that there are a few more qualities a thrifter must possess in order to be successful while shopping.
“You’ve got to have patience, you’ve got to have integrity and you’ve got to have a good set of eyes,” Wolfe said. “On your way to the thrift store, you’ve just got to have the mindset that you’re going to find something awesome.”
For shoppers who want prime choice of the latest thrift store merchandise, Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa President Marlyn McKeen said clothing is rotated off the sales floor every four weeks. In between donation and hitting the sales floor, clothing goes through a quality check.
“Once we have received the clothing donation, it is inspected for quality, no stains, tears, buttons missing or excessive wear. The good items are then hung on hangers and then put out on racks in the store,” McKeen said. She encouraged students to shop at Goodwill, emphasizing that any purchases made help to support Goodwill training programs
in the community.
So for students on a budget or simply looking for unique pieces, give shopping at thrift stores a try. Just remember to be patient and respectful, and then let the thrifting begin.