College couture can be tough. Let’s be honest, kiddies. You may look really great in the dress you just spent $300 on, but you can’t guarantee that some Mad Hatter won’t spill their sweet tea vodka on you. Or it could get all wet from swimming in your own tears with a bunch of talking animals. Or let’s say that a hookah smoking caterpillar spills something on it during a trip to Mellow Mushroom. Chances are you won’t face all of this, but college has been known to expand minds and ruin clothing.
Your best insurance (aside from one of those nifty little stain removers you should always carry on you) is just not to spend so damn much on your outfits. Easier said than done, I know. Unless you know where to shop. And I’m telling you, the thrift stores are where it’s at.
Charleston has a good selection of thrift stores, and it can be a little confusing telling which ones are best. I’ll admit that I haven’t gone to each and every shop in the town, but that’s because there are two that stand out and pretty much have anything you could want. You could call these places a thrifter’s wonderland.
Let’s start with my old favorite. The Children’s Cancer Society Thrift Store (835 Savannah Hwy. 843-766-8303) is the first thrift store I stopped in when I moved to Charleston. The large warehouse in West Ashley’s Avondale neighborhood is a quick hop, skip, and a jump from the peninsula. If you have a party to go to, this place is a great stopping point to find some random-ass clothing. From beaded cocktail dresses to Christmas sweaters to camo, they’ve got an extraordinary range of fashions. Throw in some shoes, funky jewelry, home furnishings, and even a few wedding dresses and you’ve got the store I’ve grown to love. There’s almost always some kind of sale going on so prices remain fair while you get unique items.
And then there’s the community thrift store in North Charleston (5300 Rivers Ave. 843-554-3733). While it can be a bit of a hike to get out there, it is so worth it. One day, as an experiment, I went into the store with a $20 budget. I came out with seven shirts, three belts, a dress, and a skirt. And I loved them all (still do). A friend got her beloved bike from the place and I’ve found some great picture frames in the 50 cent range. There’s really not a lot that you can’t get at Community Thrift, though the massive selection can seem a little intimidating at first. Plan to spend a good chunk of your day thrifting if you make the trip out there.
Just because these are my favorites doesn’t mean that there aren’t other great shops in town. There are Goodwill stores all over full of clothing steals. Your best bet it just to stop in, whether you’re on Folly Road or Rivers Ave. — there are bound to be magical deals at your fingertips. You really never know what you’ll come out loving.
So jump into the rabbit hole of thrifting. Charleston’s got a great selection, and we bet you’ll love it.