Thrifting: Why it’s awesome and you should try it

By The Beacon | August 23, 2013 2:46pm

By Amanda Munro

Portlanders obsess over it. Hipsters rave about it. Even Macklemore wrote a song about it. What is it that people love so much about thrifting? And more importantly, where are the best places to go? Luckily, Portland is home to amazing thrift stores, some of which are surprisingly close to campus.

Why thrift?

Firstly, thrift store shopping saves a lot of money. At a thrift store, you can find all kinds of unique, stylish clothes for less than half the price you would pay if they were new. Secondly, each find at a thrift store is completely different; you’ll never be faced with wearing the same item as someone else at a party. Some may balk at the idea of wearing used clothes, but each and every item has a story, like an old house. Usually older clothes are also better quality because they’ve stood the test of time, wear and tear. But the type of clothes you’ll find at thrift shops varies depending on the type of store. Sophomore Katherine Maus is a frequent thrift store shopper.

“Almost all my clothes come from thrift stores,” Maus said. “My favorite article of clothing I found at a thrift store; it’s a fleece with howling wolves on it.”

Thrift Stores

These stores are packed from floor to ceiling with everything from clothes and CD’s to lamps and furniture. Although it requires a bit more effort to sort through all the clutter, these stores are best for scoring cheap and unique items at a great price. Plus, it’s like going on a treasure hunt! You never know when you’ll stumble across something you can’t live without (and it’s only five dollars, too!). These stores are always changing making every visit an opportunity for new and exciting discoveries. You never know what you’ll find!

My favorite store of this type in St. John’s is Captain Fishhead across from Safeway. Sophomore Shannon Hotchkiss is a regular thrifter in St. John’s.

“That place is amazing. They have the most eclectic variety,” Hotchkiss said. “It’s always so colorful and interesting in there.”

Consignment Stores

Consignment stores carry more new and gently-used clothing. A consignment store is where you’re more likely to find basics like pants and tees for reduced prices, almost like a department store where everything is on sale and not everything will be in your size. Although you’ll pay more than you would at a thrift store, clothes are easier to find and still affordable. A good consignment store in St. John’s is Consign Couture by the Farmer’s Market.

Vintage Stores

Vintage stores are the priciest resale stores, but they carry clothing from past decades and generally have the best quality. Although clothes in a vintage store may be on the pricey side, they’re still affordable in that they’re cheaper than you would find them if they were new. Also, it’s fun to be able say your jacket came from the 50s.

The best vintage store near University of Portland is St. John’s Vintage. They have men’s and women’s vintage clothing from dresses and shoes to vests and ties, and even have a back room with vintage furniture.

Who should thrift?

Everyone! Men and women can both find fantastic clothing at these kinds of stores, and the prices are unbeatable. Resale stores offer a wide variety of styles for every taste. And it’s fun! Take a couple friends and hit up the nearest thrift shop. And when someone gives you a compliment on your new-to-you sweater, you can have the satisfaction of saying you discovered it yourself.

Christa Holden works at Captain Fishhead in St. Johns and loves seeing shoppers discover unique wardrobe pieces.

“It’s fun to see old stuff find new homes,” Holden said.

St. John’s is awesome!

Portlanders tend to rank St. John’s fairly low on their list of cool places to go thrift store shopping, but it’s really Portland’s best-kept secret.

“St. John’s is an underrated town. There are so many amazing thrift stores and other kinds of specialty stores,” Hotchkiss said. “But no one goes to St. John’s really besides local, North Portland people.”

Nearby places to check out:


6517 N Interstate Ave.

Portland, OR 97217

Consign Couture

7400 N Lombard Street

Portland, OR 97203

Give and Take Resale

8128 N Denver Ave.

Portland, OR 97217

Salty Teacup

7315 N Alta Ave.

Portland, OR 97203

St. John’s Vintage

8416 N Lombard St.

Portland, OR 97203


3134 N. Lombard St.

Portland, OR 97217