Students find cool clothes at cool prices in thrift stores

By Amy Corbett
Port Hardy Secondary School
Port Hardy, British Columbia

When you walk down the halls of at our school, it is amazing to see how diverse some of the fashion is despite the lack of teen-oriented stores in Port Hardy.

The problem that many young people face when clothes shopping in Port Hardy (and small or isolated communities) is the chance of becoming a clone. If you buy a brand name article of clothing from any of the retail stores, there is a pretty good chance that somebody else at school will have that same item.

But brand name clothes are not the only way to get a good outfit -- there is also the option of thrift and vintage shopping.

"I know that if I buy something, not everybody will have it. They [the thrift stores] have interesting and cheap clothes," explained Kyla Prince.

Shopping on a budget! Brittany Unwin
and Mallory Hauer explore the local thrift
store and look for some good Christmas buys. (Photo by: Amy Corbett)

In Port Hardy, there are only two small thrift stores, but if you're lucky you may find an article of clothing that reflects your own individual style. Many people may argue the fact that cheap prices equal cheap quality, but that is not always the case. Also, thrift store shopping is not just for girls. There is a selection of guys clothing, including khakis, sweaters and some great work shirts.

"I like thrift store clothes better," said John Kennedy, a Grade 12 student. "They have more soul than retail clothes."

Just like retail stores, thrift stores have sales, too! For example, on certain days you may find bargains such as $4 bag day, where you stuff as many items of clothing as you can into a bag for only $4, or dime day, where every item of clothing you purchase costs only a dime. Another bonus to thrift shopping is that the profits usually go to a charity or good cause.

To get a better idea of the quality and prices of the clothes in Port Hardy, a few members of the
staff of the student newspaper, "The Wailer", did a little investigating. First, we visited a thrift store to check out prices and quality of the clothes and then we visited some retail stores to compare. Philip Martin and I volunteered to test the buys.

At the thrift store, we didn't find much in the way of guys' clothes. There were a few sweaters and tee shirts, but nothing that caught our eye. We did, however, find some cool girls clothes, of fairly good quality that reflected the styles we'd been seeing on teens. The V-neck striped sweater, knit striped scarf and touque that I purchased came to a grand total of one dollar -- not a bad price for a student who has her busy, expensive social life on the go.

After our little expedition to the thrift store, we explored the mall. The retail stores that we browsed through had a much larger selection of clothing. At Reitmans, we found about thirty
different patterns of soft fluffy scarves for about ten dollars each. Here, I tried on a fuzzy striped sweater, which was much softer than the knit one I bought from the thrift store. The sweater was on sale for twenty dollars. Next we looked around Rascals where Phil tried on some winter clothes.

"They were nice and comfy and clean," said Phil.

His outfit, a soft black striped sweater and a pair of khakis cost about $140. Phil went on to explain that he wouldn't shop at the stores, "You never know where they [the clothes) have been," he explained.

Retail shopping offers more of a selection of new popular fashions, but it can be expensive. Also, some people object to seeing the same outfit they are wearing on somebody else. Thrift shopping is good idea if you're on a budget because you can find some unique and inexpensive clothing. Although it takes a while to find the perfect item, thrift shopping can be worth the effort.


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