$50 is too much for a t-shirt

There are countless numbers of vintage shops in the greater Los Angeles area. Thrifting has shifted in price, so what’s the true cost of second-hand shopping?

I am a huge thrifting advocate for a number of reasons. I know how and where to thrift. Trust me when I say that the future of thrifting is concerning.The thrifting world has shifted even since my high school years when I first discovered the hype. What was once an affordable option for students, has spiked in prices because of the buzzword “vintage.” 

An old mens t-shirt found in a traditional thrift store used to cost around $3. The exact same shirt could be sitting in a shop deemed as vintage in Los Angeles for $30. The differences between a thrift store or vintage are few and far between. Mainly, vintage stores have done a lot of sifting and collecting for you. After years of scouring stores I came to a realization – the same clothes can be found at both vintage stores and thrift stores. 

When I was younger I would dread being forced to go thrifting with my sister. The weird smells and items were off putting to a middle schooler. The general mindset started to shift once I started creating a more unique style. I realized places like American Eagle and Holister wouldn’t make the style cut anymore. Then, the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis came out and persuaded me to make the leap into second-hand world. 

I finally understood the draw of second-hand shopping as what it truly is – a treasure hunt for something unique. In the Azusa area, there are a few set thrift stores that Azusa Pacific students flock to. If a school event is coming up, like a dance or sports game, thrift stores are the first place to look for the proper outfit that will stand out. Valley Thrift is known for being semi-overwhelming, but with patience, there are many gems hidden among the racks. 

Thrift stores are slowly being replaced by consignment stores – the true culprit of labeling clothes as vintage. These store owners are capitalizing on the current market because thrifting has become more trendy than in the past. Los Angeles is known for having young hipsters that want to stand out, so why not make more money on overpriced clothes? The moment a store classifies a piece as vintage, they can mark up the price – despite the actual history of the clothing. It takes one handmade label created by the store’s owner to double the price. 

The vintage trend goes further than just store fronts. Online resale shops have piqued the interest of anyone who wants to make some extra cash and has an impressive wardrobe. There are different levels of prices and styles for each website. If the vintage style calls your name, then a website like Depop is the perfect fit. The amount of oversized Champion hoodies and graphic tees are endless. It sounds like the perfect website, a thrifting lover’s dream. Most items cost above 20 dollars, much higher than the low prices at thrift stores. 

The market is changing with the target consumers demand. Is there a way to combat the rising prices of the beloved oversized graphic tees? Probably not.

While changing the prices is out of the consumer’s control, there are still small steps that can be taken to avoid being robbed for clothes that are pegged as “vintage.” Take pride in the time it might take to find a special piece. It might take more than one visit and one thrift shop to find the golden item. While combing the racks of clothes, think of the financial benefits of not splurging on a graphic tee because a similar tee can be found somewhere else for more than twice the price. 

We live in the heart of a thrifting lover’s dream, so take advantage of it!