In recent years, the thrifting trend has exploded in popularity as vintage styles have slowly made a return, and teens across America are opting for a more classic, old-school look that can only be acquired by sorting through heaps of second-hand clothes. Luckily enough, this practice of buying previously worn clothes that have already been a part of the fashion cycle helps create an objective of sustainability. By shopping at thrift shops rather than massive retail stores like Forever 21 and Zara, consumers are combatting one of the biggest issues in the fashion industry: fast fashion. Fast fashion applies to stores such as these which produce mass amounts of clothing throughout the year that cost very little. Besides being quite detrimental to the environment, the clothes produced by fast fashion are often made by young, underage workers that receive little pay and are living in poverty. It is for these reasons that shopping second-hand clothing is so beneficial, and so, I have compiled a short list of consignment and thrift shops around Sarasota so Torch readers may have the best thrifting experience possible. Happy shopping!
Goodwill Manasota: There are many Goodwill Manasota’s around Sarasota, but for this review, I will be discussing the alpha Goodwill — the giant one located on Honore. As with any Goodwill, it’s important to walk in there with low expectations. It is quite rare that you’ll find those perfectly-vintage, three-dollar Levi jeans that will fit you like a glove. However, this Goodwill is so large that it’s hard not to find at least one unique or funky thing that catches your eye, even if it’s an orange turtleneck that definitely used to belong to an old lady. I would highly recommend checking out the men’s graphic t-shirt section before you leave. The shirts always have really weird and funny sayings or images on them and they’re like two dollars anyway, so why not. As always, remember to wash your purchased items at home before wearing them…you don’t really know where they’ve been.
Rate: 4/5 Torches
World’s Attic Thrift Shop: World’s Attic Thrift Shop is split into two different stores — one that sells furniture and another one a couple of feet away that sells clothes. I can’t speak for their furniture options, but as for their clothes, I can attest that the store offers some very viable options. World’s Attic does carry some name brands and offers a nice selection of actually decent skirts and shorts, which is a huge plus. The staff is incredibly nice, and although the store is rather small, I find things that I like much faster in comparison to a place like Goodwill Manasota, where you really have to hunt around for a while to find something good.
Rate: 4.5/5 Torches
SPARCC Treasure Chest: SPARCC was one of the very first thrifting locations I’ve ever been to, and since then I’ve been repeatedly impressed by their amazing customer service and quality clothing options. One of my favorite parts about SPARCC is that it donates all of its proceeds to help fund SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center) programs and services, and all SPARCC participants receive vouchers to shop for free for items they need. At SPARCC, customers can find quality clothing at a very low cost and shop in good conscious knowing that all the funds they generate will be donated to a great cause. It’s genuinely rewarding to shop there, and that makes the experience that much better. Another upside to SPARCC Treasure Chest is its location — SPARCC is conveniently situated downtown and is an easy 3-minute walk from Kahwa or Whole Foods Market, so next time you’re spending a day downtown, make sure to add SPARCC Treasure Chest to your route.
Rate: 5/5 Torches
Episcopal Thrift House- I had heard a lot of good things about Episcopal Thrift House, but when I finally went I was honestly underwhelmed. I think the reason I was so unimpressed was that the array of clothes did not really cater to my age group. Although this is to be expected, I can usually find some shirt or other that I can see pairing well with shorts or jeans, but everything at episcopal thrift house left me quite uninspired, to say the least. Even though I had a bad experience at the Thrift House, I must acknowledge the extremely friendly staff, and the prime location of the store, which is downtown as well. Although I can’t see myself purchasing anything from Episcopal Thrift House, I could see how someone in an older age group might enjoy their selection.
Rate: 3/5 Torches
St. Vincent de Paul Society: I decided to stop by St. Vincent de Paul Society on my way to Clever Cup last year, and was quite disappointed with the overall aura of the store. The clothes weren’t too bad, although I didn’t find anything that I liked enough to purchase, it was just the atmosphere that drove me out of the store. As a young person, I felt like I was being stared at for shopping amongst the more “adult” clothing, so I decided to just leave without purchasing anything. The array of clothes is not that big, and if you’re planning to go thrifting I would advise that you pick a different location; however, I may have gone on an off day, so if you’re really curious about their selection, peeking your head in wouldn’t hurt.
Rate: 2/5 Torches
Plato’s Closet: Plato’s closet is really considered a consignment shop, but I wanted to include it because they have some really great options and quality brands. The store is incredibly organized, so if you know what you want to find it is really easy to track it down. I personally think the best items in the store are the shorts, dresses, and jeans, and I can usually find actually cute items that are from brands like American Eagle and Hollister that are in good shape and are significantly cheaper than their original price.
Rate: 4.5/5 Torches
Photo provided by fashionz.co.nz