By Lena Wilson
High-schoolers are always trying to fit in. And what better way to fit in than wear clothes you know for sure other people in town have worn? Used clothing stores offer a selection of new and vintage styles without the waste—both material and monetary—of new clothing. An added bonus: these four stores are local and accessible to the car-less teen by free buses and a short amount of walking.
The Clothing Warehouse (Chapel Hill)
“There’s definitely variety and history.” –junior Fernando Segovia
Situated in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill between UNC’s campus and a variety of popular frozen yogurt vendors, the Clothing Warehouse gets kudos for best location. Although a double-sided sign on the street proclaimed on-sale dresses and tees within, there were surprisingly few other customers inside the shop. The large, uncluttered space displayed clothes, hats, shoes and jewelry all neatly arranged and separated into sections by their type and color. This store was a stockpile of ‘70s-style clothing such as quirky dresses and soft tees printed with cute slogans or advertisements for long-lost events. However, the prices were startling. Clothing cost as much as it would if purchased new from an upscale boutique. The store had a nice, open atmosphere and a decent collection of vintage clothing and accessories, but the exorbitant pricing made any purchase an uncomfortably weighty decision.
Time After Time (Chapel Hill)
“All their stuff is really cool and they have snap bracelets that grow in the dark. And their boots!” –junior Kate Hudnal
“My favorite is Time After Time, simply because they have lots of stuff there. They have the perfect stuff for costumes and props.” –junior Naya Guthrie
Located near a few cafes and restaurants, Time After Time smelled oddly but pleasantly of spicy food. This store had about the same amount of merchandise as The Clothing Warehouse except packed into a much smaller space. The narrow aisles were crowded with other customers, but everyone was polite and willing to share the elbowroom. Although the clothes and accessories overflowed the racks and shelves, making each item harder for the eye to find given the lack of empty space, items were still organized by type. Many of the same styles were offered here as in the Clothing Warehouse, but the items from Time After Time were about half the price. The cramped space required a short visit for purposes of sanity, but the selection and price tag of vintage pieces made the store a worthwhile stop.
Club Nova (Carrboro)
“Club Nova had a shopkeeper who looked a little like Paula Dean. She was really helpful and held the door for us and told us about her phone.” –junior Julia Snyder
Club Nova was a true thrift shop, containing all types of things a person could find in a family garage, excluding theToyota. There was a modest collection each of books, CDs, houseware and games in addition to clothing. The amount of clothing was limited but it varied in size and style. This place also had the sweetest bargains, with one-dollar blouses and two-dollar jeans. Although the shop was a little on the dusty side, the dirt-cheap deals and friendly staff more than compensated.
PTA Thrift Store (Carrboro)
“They had a lot of knick-knacks. One of the few places that still sells VHS and casette tapes.” –junior Logan Sit
“It had this big cut-out of Obama peeking out from behind a bookcase.” –junior Anna Dallara
This shop is the biggest of all four stores. The downstairs houses a bookstore-worthy collection of used volumes while the main floor contains one room for clothes and a few other rooms with a huge collection of housewares. Each section of clothing—for example, Men’s Pants, Women’s Shirts or Baby Clothes—was distinct and well-labeled in both English and Spanish. However, the collection had a stubbornly seasonal quality. Despite the hot sun shining over Carrboro, the shirt selection was limited to thick, long-sleeved pieces. Trench coats and sweaters abounded. In addition, clothing from this shop is not likely washed by the store, so items smelled like the closet of whoever donated them. To make up for this, pricing was at a level similar to Club Nova’s. Overall, the size and organization of this thrift store were impressive, but it lacked clothing appropriate for fast-approaching springtime.
Photos Courtesy of Lena Wilson