What I love most about thrift shopping is no matter where you are in the world, each secondhand store has something different in it. Thrifting isn’t about laying in bed and ordering the same sweater online as 500 other people. It’s about going out and searching for unique pieces that need new life.
When I moved to Chicago 5 years ago, I made it my mission to find the best thrift stores this city has to offer. This is my Top 5!
A teacher my freshmen year of college recommended this thrift store and it has been a crowd favorite among my friends ever since. This is the thrift store I go to if I need something basic like a gray crew neck sweatshirt or a costume piece that I don’t want to spend a lot of money on. The price tags are stapled to the clothing and there’s constantly sales going on. I mean, what else could you ask for? With multiple locations in Chicago, it’s definitely worth looking into. However, if staples in your clothing isn’t something you could get into, then this store might not be for you. Every time I go into Village Discount Outlet, I go in a with a plan. It’s definitely not the store I’d recommend just going in and “browsing around.” Also, you’re going to want to take a shower after you leave here.
The Edgewater Antique Mall has become one of my favorite places to visit on my day off. The “mall” is broken down into different vendors all with their own style. I started chatting with the two men who work there and they told me how magazines like Pottery Barn will come in and buy merchandise to decorate their photoshoots with. Which makes sense because this thrift store is heavier on the home decor and less on clothing. I found this amazing oil painting portrait of a man signed and dated ’65. I paid $25 for it and I will cherish it forever. I love home furnishings and if you do too, this is the place for you. Every time I’m in here, I think about my future home and how many pieces from this store I would put in it.
Belmont Army Surplus is a Chicago staple. Also with multiple locations- this store has four floors each with a different vibe. There’s Men’s, Women’s, Army and Vintage. The vintage floor has everything from costume pieces to fun graphic throwbacks. Since it is less of a thrift store and more of a vintage store, it is a little more expensive. FYI- The difference between a thrift store and vintage store is a vintage store basically did the work for you. They’re owned by people who know what’s good and what’s garbage. Most shoppers like vintage stores more because they are organized and usually cleaner. If you’re one of those people, than Belmont Army is the way to go. They also have really fun range of accessories.
Buffalo Exchange has been a favorite of mine since high school and it is still at the top of my list. What I like most about it is the fact that you can sell and trade your clothes. Since I am someone with shall I say, too many clothes, this store really comes in handy. I will shop around and if I find something expensive that I really want, I will put it on hold and come back the next day with more things to sell. That way it’s like I am getting the clothes for free! Over the years I have gotten some of my favorite pieces from this place. They’re located in almost every major city and depending what city you’re in, sometimes they carry really high end designers.
Ahhh at last, number 1…Broadway Antique Mall. This is actually a newer find to me and I am so happy I stumbled upon it. It is located down the street from Edgewater Antique Mall and set up similarly. This is definitely the store you want to put aside time in your day to go and visit. It’s the kind of place you need to walk around a few times because it is so big and there are so many things to see. It has everything from old hollywood movie posters to vintage tee’s to fur coats to vintage eye glasses. I bought a navy blue workmen’s jacket that says the man’s name, Claudette Cooper and also the furry hat from my Christmas look from here! As this is a vintage store, the prices are higher but the merchandise is quality and found by people who love to do this. Therefore, I love to support them. 🙂
PHOTOS- IRON AND HONEY, GOOGLE