As high fashion continues to evolve and push boundaries, thrift stores remain firmly—yet stylishly—in the past. While Kylie Jenner shocks the fashion world with jeans sliced opened over her butt, some toddler’s creation already beat her to the punch, with a pair of safety scissor-mauled boyfriend jeans sitting resolutely on the clearance rack. After all, one person’s trash is another one’s treasure.
And trash, there is. To the unobserving eye, thrift stores tend to showcase a chaotic pit of shirts advertising long-finished family reunions and mom jeans—and not the flattering kind. This reputation makes thrifting—the act of shopping at thrift stores—seem like the poor man’s option. Some view these establishments as pitiful—if not occasionally handy for tax returns—and last resorts for those who couldn’t afford the mall.
As time changes, so do attitudes. As wide-eyed millennials, we have begun to stare longingly back at the 90s, even if some of us don’t necessarily remember them. We watched reruns of “Clarissa Explains it All” or “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”; we felt at home with the slightly fuzzy lull that VHS tapes and outdated filming equipment in tandem brought to older television shows.
In these 90s sitcoms, the clothes remain as some of the most noteworthy aspects. Fashion felt more loud and outrageous, whether it was with Clarissa Darling’s overlapping patterns and ridiculous hats or Will Smith’s iconic oversized brightly colored shirts and pants.
Even the subtler style of clean shirts and high rise jeans worn in other 90s television hits such as “Beverly Hills 90210” appeals to millennials. These understated trends have a certain look that millennials who spent the 90s sucking on their pacifiers instantly feel drawn to. Fashion seemed to be based more around layering cool brands and styles rather than focusing your outfit on one or two, as we do today.
Entering the thrift store world, one doesn’t exactly go looking for brands like Versace. The one thing that thrifting does, however, is act like a sand trap for the times of yore. If VHS tapes and wired phones can find their way to the thrifting complex every day, it should be no surprise that the clothing racks haven’t escaped the same fate.
Thrifting has thus made its way into the mainstream millennial’s shopping circuit. The same fascination that was popular in the 90s era has infected our fashion taste, too. From crop tops and scrunchies to gel shoes and color-blocked windbreakers, many different styles from the 90s are fair game for today’s current fashion trends. Clothing stores such as Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 tried imitating these styles, but nothing quite lives up to the original—which you can get for a mere $5 at Goodwill.
The treasure hunting aspect absent from most mainstream department stores plays a role in the fun of searching for the perfect look, as well. Perhaps you may even have the same luck in Geneseo’s very own Goodwill—it’s certainly worth a shot.