By: Lauren Crupi
During my childhood, shopping at thrift stores was a regular occurrence. I often reminisce about the days I would spend at my grandparents’ house, which were filled with Salvation Army trips and lunch stops at McDonalds. My parents are both hardworking individuals who never failed to provide for our family. They have always shopped smart and instilled the value of a dollar into my life at a very young age.
I have always had a love for clothing. For me, fashion is a way with words. I was a bit introverted and quiet, but I found that my outfits could speak for me. At first when I began thrifting, I was on the lookout for brands such as PINK, Hollister and Abercrombie (since I was a middle schooler struggling to fit in and could not persuade my mom to purchase a hoodie for $60). Sooner or later I was sick of seeing every girl wear the same thing and decided to start shopping for “myself”.Thrifting allowed me to try out new styles that I never would have before since the price was right. Thrifting allowed me to develop a sense of style that I never had before.
I believe that highschool was my breakthrough for style. Although everyone’s highschool experience was different, I believe that my choice in attending a vocational school greatly influenced the way that I began to view myself and others. I never had a huge group of friends until I was accepted into the health assisting shop, which is basically pre-nursing. I was surrounded with 26 hardworking and bright women who empowered me and others everyday at school. Simple compliments about my outfits and just compliments in general allowed me to feel acceptance that I had never felt before. Although I am not continuing my career path in the health field, I credit my health assisting girls for instilling me with confidence that I still try to carry with me today.
The number one thing thrifting has taught me to not care about is size. For years I have struggled with body dysmorphia. I would panic when I would have to take pictures at an outing with my friends or family because I was ashamed with what I saw in the mirror everyday. It wasn’t until I looked at those photos that I appeared totally different from what I saw in my reflection. Thrifting has allowed me to focus on the piece, not the size. With vintage pieces especially, I’ve had to size up with most items and it has made me not worry as much about the size I am, as long as it fits and makes me feel good. I discovered that it was easy to personalize a piece to my liking, whether it was cropping a shirt or cutting jeans into shorts. These simple adjustments have not only helped me keep fashion fresh, but they allowed me to finally accept myself the way that I was. Thrifting has made me embrace and love the body I was given.
I believe that everyone should try to thrift something once in their lifetime. Thrifting gives back to the community and prevents waste that accumulates from fast fashion retailers. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been on the hunt for a certain item and ended up finding it or something extremely similar at the thrift. I remember when I thrifted my favorite pair of vintage Levi’s for five dollars and felt this rush that I soon knew I wanted to reach again. Thrifting fashion is one of the ways that I try to reduce waste and help the environment. I know thrifting isn’t for everyone, but I recommend everyone to try it. Whether you attend a yard sale, flea market, or thrift store, you are impacting the world and community in a sustainable way. Thrifting has changed my life and it could definitely change yours too.