Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Ah, thrifting. A necessity for some, a hobby for others, and a sustainable way to piece together your dream costume for your upcoming Halloween party! If you’re like me, then you’ve already thought several steps ahead and have been planning on where to get each piece of costume since early September. If not, do not worry! I got you covered. After I’m through with you, you’ll be the best-dressed vampire, zombie, or early 2000s Paris Hilton without spending more than $30.
So, what exactly is thrifting? Thrifting is simply shopping at a thrift store, flea market, or garage sale where you’ll find gently used goods at a discounted price. Now you might be thinking, “Why would I want to buy used items when I can just buy something new at Urban Outfitters or H&M for my costume? I can afford it just fine.” Tsk tsk … Let’s have a chat, shall we? There are PLENTY of reasons to ditch the new items and go thrifting besides the financial benefit. For one, smart shoppers know that you can find many high-quality items with lower price tags at thrift stores which saves you money for other purposes, even if a lack of funds isn’t an issue for you. Secondly (and this is 100% directed towards me), thrifting is a very efficient way for creative dressers and aspiring fashionistas to experiment with their style without breaking their bank accounts. Try grunge one week and ‘80s neon-filled outfits the next! The possibilities are endless, and you won’t have to worry about the apprehension of the bill that comes along with buying new. Last and certainly not least, thrifting helps the beautiful planet which we all love and need. With the constant rise in fast fashion, thrifting has never been more essential in contributing to a world where ethical and sustainable consumption dominates.
Now you know what thrifting is and about its numerous benefits. But where should you go? For my fellow Philadelphians, I got you. Here are my top 5 places to thrift in the City of Brotherly Love!
1. Retrospect Vintage
Home to all your vintage needs, Retrospect Vintage brings the best finds in the Philly area straight to you. Their buyers search every day to keep their stock fresh and diverse with unique pieces most buyers would overlook. The merchandise is then brought back to the shop and is carefully inspected and organized by the Retrospective Vintage staff. From ‘50s dresses to ‘70s suits to ‘80s accessories, you’re bound to find a unique Halloween costume at this shop.
508 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
2. Buffalo Exchange
This iconic Philly thrift store, Buffalo Exchange, is part of the trendy chain that sells, buys, and trades men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. Located in Center City, Buffalo Exchange includes designer, vintage, basics, one-of-a-kind, and everyday styles to amp up both your wardrobe and your Halloween Instagram picture! Buffalo Exchange is getting into the Halloween spirit with their “Costume of the Day” series, where they will be posting daily to inspire your look this year. Check out their latest story, “Five Freakily Easy Last Minute Halloween Costumes” on their site for thrifting inspiration!
1520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
3. Circle Thrift
In addition to clothes, Circle thrift resells books, art, electronics, rugs, furniture, and more! They even take online orders with same-day pick up. They currently have loads of Halloween items, so this is a must-see spot. Circle Thrift is also a great place to donate all your plastic bags instead of throwing them away! Follow @circlethrift on Instagram for in-stock info and updates!
2233 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
4. Second Mile Center
Located in University City, the Second Mile Center is a faith-based nonprofit thrift store that provides clothing, linens, shoes, and furniture. Their electronics department provides computers, TVs, DVDs and DVD players, CDs, hardware, sporting goods, and more! This large store started out as a non profit organization dedicated towards providing employment and help for those trapped by poverty. This is apparent now, as much of their employment includes ex-offenders, parolees, recovering addicts, the homeless, and few immigrants from the Middle East who come needing work and a place to learn English.
214 S 45th St, Philadelphia, PA 1910
5. Philly AIDS Thrift
Lastly, Philly AIDS Thrift is a staple of the city of Philadelphia. Buy used clothing, furniture, art, and home decor and this spacious store! They currently have an amazing selection of Halloween costumes and accessories. Proceeds are distributed to local organizations involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. They have now surpassed $2.5 million in donations to date. Philly AIDS Thrift is proud to announce their drop in HIV testing center on the second floor of their store! Services are offered in a private and confidential space in partnership with five local HIV/AIDS service organizations.
710 S Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147