Where did he get those shoes? His jeans are so skinny; they look so old, he’s probably had them forever -swoon-. All walks of life congregate on EC’s Brune Patio, so run-ins with the ultra-hip draped languidly over more than their fair share of patio chairs, suffocating fellow students with clouds of cigarette smoke, are bound to occur. Want to look just as great without begging Mom and Dad for suspicious amounts of money that they start hassling you about whether or not you’ve acquired an expensive drug habit? Thrifting is the answer! Like any good college town, Elmhurst is rife with thrift/used clothing stores (kind of) with two within walking distance of campus and many more just a short drive away. Style changes a lot in college, and thrift stores allow for the transition into the hippest person you never wanted to be at half the price. But be careful. After a few successful thrift experiences, you’ll have trouble paying retail ever again. They want fifteen bucks for this shirt??? This dress is $60??? -faints-
240 W Lake St., Addison
Incredibly overwhelming, Village Discount is the Walmart of thrift stores. Sheer numbers mean you’ll walk away with at least one item, but realistically the supplied shopping carts will be full of crop tops, dresses that need to be hemmed, and kitten ashtrays. And the prices! Most things don’t surpass $5, with 90 cents the average. Every day, certain colored price tags are 50 percent off, but everything’s half off on holiday weekends. It’s a bit of a drive, but there’s a bet going around that you can replace your entire wardrobe for under 20 bucks. Tip: there are no changing rooms, so wear clothes that are thin or can be easily (and demurely) removed.
Best finds: Knick-knacks, grandpa sweaters, and the ubiquitous Liz Claiborne button- down.
Pink Elephant Resale Shop
121 W First St., Elmhurst
Pink Elephant is a hospital guild shop, meaning it supports Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, so the egotistical philanthropic karma bonus will most likely fill your nights with sated slumber. While prices may be a little on the high-end, the clothes are quality, and they have some really beautiful furniture. Pink Elephant is the type of place you can find an ancient, wooden writing desk just waiting to inspire the next Great American Novel, a tweed business blazer and skirt that helps convince your parents you’re on your way to the career of their dreams, or that unattainable copy of Mary Kate and Ashley’s Sleepover. The employees are old as shit and have a hard time understanding the mechanics of the cash register, but they treat college customers like their grandchildren, and you half expect them to pop a few fresh-baked oatmeal raisin cookies into the reused Nordstrom bag.
Best finds: Earrings and brooches.
106 W Third St., Elmhurst
Kind of resembling a teenage girl’s bedroom (if that teenage girl has enough clothes to clothe her entire high school), customers have to pick their way through mountains of second-hand and vintage clothing. But real treasures can be found buried under trash bags full of sweaters and… is that a cat? (yes, it is). But despite it’s flaws, Elm Classics is the most exciting thrift store around. Genuine vintage items are collected by the owner from various estate sales in the area, meaning much of the clothing comes directly from it’s original owner in just as good condition as when it was bought in the 1950s. The prices are almost always negotiable, and the more personal nature of the shop means you can always ask for help.
Best finds: Vintage dresses and pins for your denim vest.
675 W North Ave., Elmhurst
Remember your younger days when your parents would drag you to Goodwill and your face flamed red as you ducked in and out of clothes racks because you didn’t want anyone to see you at -ugh- Goodwill? How interesting is it that now as “adults” we wouldn’t be caught dead at a mall, but rather find our best, most charming outfits from an exclusively second-hand store? The nice thing about Goodwill: it’s a not- for-profit organization that provides job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs for people who have a disability, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges (at least that’s what Wikipedia says). On the more superficial side, prices are low, and there’s no better place to find a Ralph Lauren dress from 1996.
Best finds: Shoes and paperback/hardcover books.