By Brahmjot Kaur
The following article was featured in the December 2019 edition of The Campus.
Shopping for clothes can become a large expense. While fast fashion is more economically beneficial and gives us the low prices we desire, its production is not ethical nor environmentally friendly. However, not everyone can afford a new wardrobe from Reformation or Eileen Fisher, two known sustainable brands, which makes thrifting the next best option. You will not have to shop less because the clothes are affordable and environmentally sustainable. Here are a few spots I visited at multiple different locations in the city. I recommend the locations in Brooklyn because they have a larger selection! This one’s for you, Macklemore.
23 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY
The Bogart location has the biggest selection that is accessible to people coming from Manhattan (their biggest store is in Greenpoint, but the only train near it is the G). The store categorizes its merchandise by gender, type of clothing, and then by color. However, none of the clothes are organized by size. Shoes are displayed on top of the racks, as well as on a wall by the pick-up/drop-off area. They have a huge selection of earrings, purses, and hats. If you are looking for a Halloween costume or something in a particular color, this place will probably be your best bet.
BEST FOR: earrings, purses, hats, formal wear.
L Train Vintage
120 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY
This L Train Vintage is only a five-minute walk from Beacon’s Closet! The store has a promising selection of different coats, including leather jackets, fur coats, denim jackets, jackets from combat uniforms, and varsity jackets. There is also a good selection of button-up shirts and jeans. They categorize by gender and type of clothing, but not by color. They do not have many shoes and their selection of formal wear is scarce.
BEST FOR: everyday clothes, coats, jeans.
118 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Urban Jungle is right next to the L Train Vintage on Knickerbocker Avenue. It is definitely the biggest from the thrift stores mentioned in this article and had the most variety. Urban Jungle also categorizes by gender and type of clothing, but not color. They have a huge selection of unisex t-shirts and sweatshirts. While they do have a large selection of jeans, they fold them instead of hanging them, which makes it tedious to unfold and check the size. It’s especially nerve-wracking if you worry about folding it properly. I’d go to L Train for jeans over Urban Jungle. However, they have an incredible selection of everyday shoes and jackets. Their formal wear section is larger than the one in L Train Vintage but not as big or diverse as Beacon’s Closet.
BEST FOR: shoes, t-shirts, sweatshirts.
504 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY Buffalo Exchange is definitely the busiest. It is a tighter space than the other stores, but the line of people waiting to drop off clothes makes the selection promising. The clothes are categorized by gender, type of clothing, then size! While the selection is not as abundant as the one in Urban Jungle or Beacon’s Closet, the categories for size make finding something that fits you more likely. Their everyday shoe collection is smaller compared to the other stores, but they sell an incredible selection of eclectic shoes, like neon flame heels! Also, their earrings and sunglasses are just as cool as Beacon’s Closet but cheaper!
BEST FOR: eclectic shoes, casual clothes, earrings, and sunglasses.
TIPS FOR PLUS SIZE PEEPS!
1. Vintage sizes are different than modern sizes! Vintage sizes are about four to six sizes smaller than modern sizes. A size 14 from 1960 will most likely be a size 8 now. So, be mindful of that.
2. Ladies, consider looking for things in the men’s section! If you’re into streetwear, it is especially helpful to look there! Men’s t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants are so easy to find in thrift stores and because men’s sizes run bigger, it’ll be much easier to find those.
3. Talk to an employee! While I didn’t see a dedicated space for plus-size clothes, all the employees were friendly and more than happy to help. Ask if they saw any clothes that you might feel comfortable wearing. They might even tell you they know there aren’t many pieces and that could save you the frustration of not finding anything in your size.
4. Try everything on! Even things that aren’t vintage-sized can fit strangely. Companies have their own standards for measurements in sizes and that can make it difficult to know from a glance. Try on the clothes and accessories!