Looking for new duds to wear when school starts but lack cash to splurge?
Many Augusta-area thrift stores carry secondhand clothes that can keep you stylin' without breaking the bank.
Xtreme sent two teen shoppers with 40 bucks between them to spend on back-to-school worthy styles at the Goodwill Emporium on Wylds Road.
It was the first time Jimmy Newlin, 17, and Tiffany Folger, 16, had shopped secondhand.
Jimmy, a rising senior at Lakeside High School, compared shopping for clothes in thrift stores to visiting used record stores - the fun is in seeing what's out there.
"You don't go in looking for the latest music," he said. "I wouldn't come in here with something in mind. I'd come just to browse."
Despite being more interested in the music (in addition to clothes, most second-hand stores carry books, records and other goods) Jimmy managed to find khaki cargo pants for $4.99. He also got a basic V-neck T-shirt and lightweight sweater vest (both for $4.99).
Rather than looking for newer clothes, Jimmy searched for clothes with a retro look, like the 1970s-style red soccer shirt he got for $3.99.
Tiffany, who'll be a junior at Evans High School this year, said she found thrift-store shopping somewhat easier than full-price retail stores.
"You don't have to dress up or look nice," she said. "You can just roll out of bed to go shopping there."
There's also less pressure from overzealous sales associates trying to meet a monthly sales quota.
On the recent shopping trip, Tiffany found a Ü-sleeve stretch twill shirt for $5.99 and a black denim skirt with apron pockets on sale for $2. To complete the look, she purchased an embroidered gray silk handbag, which at $7.99 was the most expensive item purchased. She also found a white stretchy cotton shell ($3.99) and a pair of gray pants ($7.99) that she bought with her own money.
Tiffany said she'll return to thrift stores because of the deals.
"You get name-brand clothes for three-fourths (off retail). Sure, you have to look around, but you can find what you like," she said.
Teens noted that thrift-store shopping isn't for everyone - some people prefer new stuff. Period.
"People either think it's really hip or really dirty. It really all depends on your particular taste," Jimmy said.
Speaking of dirt, most thrift stores don't require that donations be washed before putting them out for sale. Most people wash or dry clean purchases before they wear them.
Not all merchandise in thrift stores is old or used. Many large retailers donate past-season clothing and new goods to thrift stores.
For example, racks of trendy parachute-type pants and corduroy cargo shorts by Utility were available at Goodwill last week. Other labels include Merona (sold in Target stores), Express and Calvin Klein.
Teens may discover other off-price deals at consignment stores. Consignment shops also sell clothing that has been worn, but they weed out unacceptable items and usually accept only seasonal clothes.
Second Time Around at 1914 Walton Way charges a $5 handling fee when people bring in clothes to sell. The store gives 50 percent of the profit to the original owner.
"People are really looking for the uniforms right now, including khaki and navy blue shorts," said Pat Baxter of Second Time Around.
Consignment stores also sell barely worn formal wear. Many allow customers to place items on layaway.
Brittany Maddox, 12, a rising eighth-grader at Tubman Middle School, said that she and her mother check out consignment and thrift stores before heading to the mall. The two were shopping recently at the Salvation Army on Greene Street.
"I find a lot of stuff like jean shorts and jeans," Brittany said.
It's more difficult to find trendy items like capri pants, she said.
Tiffany agreed that it's hit or miss.
"Don't get discouraged if you don't find what you're looking for," she advised.
"You have to go back on a regular basis because there's always new stuff."
Where to go
Here's a sampling of area thrift stores to check out:
Catholic Social Services: 2569 Central Ave.
Goodwill Emporium (four locations): 2807 Wylds Road (behind Augusta Mall); 4020 Washington Road in Martinez; 3120 Peach Orchard Road; and 14000 Whiskey Road in Aiken. Another retail store is scheduled to open in North Augusta this fall.
Salvation Army (three locations): 1345 Greene St. downtown; 1507 North Leg Road; and 217 Edgefield Road in North Augusta.
Gray Ü-sleeve stretch twill shirt by Merona ($5.99)
Black denim skirt with front apron pockets (no label) ($2 on sale)
Embroidered gray handbag by Liz Claiborne ($7.99)
Tiffany's other purchases (with her own cash):
White stretchy cotton shell by Charlotte Russe ($3.99)
Gray pants by Express ($7.99)
Highland Outfitters cargo khaki pants ($4.99)
Red soccer shirt by Xteriors from J.C. Penney ($3.99)
Merona V-neck T-shirt ($4.99)
Merona cotton sweater vest ($4.99)
TOTAL NUMBER OF ITEMS: Nine
TOTAL OF PURCHASES (WITH TAX): $50.20
Reach Margaret Weston at (706) 823-3340.
|"Don't get discouraged if you don't find what you're looking for. You have to go back on a regular basis because there's always new stuff."|
- Tiffany Folger, on buying clothes from secondhand stores