Thrifting isn’t for everyone, but with his hit song “Thrift Shop,” rapper Macklemore has transformed the stigma of used clothing from gross to glamorous. The Tampa Bay area offers loads of thrift shops where anyone on a tight budget can indulge. Sure, you might have to sift through some Cosby sweaters and faded AC/DC T-shirts, but finding gems from designer brands like J. Crew, Michael Kors, The Limited, Banana Republic, Tory Burch and Juicy for less than you paid for your coffee this morning is well worth the search. CL interns put together the following guide to their favorite cheap shopping spots.
The Life’s Path Hospice Life’s Treasures Thrift Store. This store is clean and well-organized with lots of options, including designer and regular non-brand items. Prices are reasonable, with T-shirts ranging from $4-$10 depending on the brand and condition. The best deal, however, is the sale offered every Friday, when all clothes and shoes are 50 percent off. The shop also has a well-stocked used book closet in the back. 1918 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa.
Sunshine Thrift Store. If you’re looking for name brand clothing and shoes, this is not the place. However, this shop is heaven for those seeking cool vintage pieces. Prices seem to be the cheapest around, but if you’re looking for a real steal, find anything with an orange or red tag on it, indicating a 50 percent markdown. Though the hunt will be a bit more involved, the treasure is definitely here. 4304 S. Dale Mabry., Tampa.
Hope Thrift Store. This place has plenty of things for USF students and benefits the Hope Children’s Home. The store is stuffed with clothes for all ages, as well as appliances, furniture and a variety of books and other nifty things. Bonus points for the super-friendly staff who are always willing to help you find what you may be looking for. 702 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa.
Hut No. 8. This shop does not look like an ordinary thrift store on the inside. Instead, it presents itself like a clothing store you would find in a mall and offers the same kind of items. Don’t let that fool you, though, because the designer clothes on the racks have prices low enough to impress the average student shopper. You can also sell your unwanted clothes to the store. 2720 University Square, Tampa.
• Look at everything, hanger by hanger, and don’t waste your time grabbing something that you know deep down will be too big, too small, or that you’ll never wear.
• Carefully inspect clothing for rips or stains.
• Do a smell test. Funky smells might not come out, even after you wash something.
• If you see something you like, grab it! Otherwise someone else might snatch it up. Or, to avoid the fight altogether, go in the middle of a weekday when less people are shopping.
• If you’re a germaphobe, wear tights or leggings and a thin tank top when you thrift. That way you can try on clothes without having them actually touch your body.
• If you need cheap furniture, thrift stores are always a great place to start. You can find furniture in a thrift store for a cheaper price than a piece from Ikea (and probably better quality).
• Thrift store items are excellent for personalization. Like a dress that needs some sprucing up? Find a coffee table that would be perfect in your apartment but needs a new paint job? Apply a little DIY and make it yours.
A 28-year-old writing major with a minor in communication, Amina Jackson attends the University of Tampa. Her goals are to live happily and fully — and to travel all of Asia. She can be found working with glass fusion or attending pottery classes, and loves cooking, road trips, and late-night trips to Clearwater. Above all, Amina wants her family to be proud of the life she’s living, and to be proud of herself for the path she chose. —Davis Johnson
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