Being in college tends to put a strain on the wallet. Many college students have been bringing back older fashion, or “thrift store fashion.” Shopping at a thrift store will save students from breaking the bank but will also gain them style.

In Keene there is an abundance of thrift stores. You can find one around nearly every corner.

Thrift stores are great if you’re on a budget. You can find clothing, accessories and shoes from just a few cents to as much as $30.

You can always find Keene State College senior Angela Scionti in one of the thrift stores around Keene. Scionti started shopping at thrift stores after she got her job at Urban Exchange, a consignment shop right in the heart of downtown Keene.

“I worked downtown at Urban Exchange for a year-and-a-half,” Scionti said. She continued, “I learned a lot about living on my own throughout the summer when I worked there. I didn’t have enough money to buy new clothes anywhere like I did in high school. I had to pay for rent and I had to pay for food, and I figured out another way of sustainable shopping.”

Scionti said she doesn’t particularly like new clothing.

Tim Smith/ Photo Editor

Tim Smith/ Photo Editor

“Just because of the chemicals and a lot of them come from children that are trying to make ends meet and trying to support their families in these developing countries. It just breaks my heart; it’s not like I’m a saint or anything, but even if I just get an old L.L. Bean jacket even though it was probably made in a third world country it’s better to think that I’m not supporting these new textiles that are being produced,” Scionti said.

Scionti isn’t the only KSC student that likes to shop at thrift stores.

“Also, a lot of my friends do the same thing, because you know we’re all in the same age group, totally relatable,” Scionti said.

KSC senior Olivia Schiaffo has been thrifting since she was 13 years old. Schiaffo grew up in western Massachusetts where shopping at thrifts stores was part of the culture.

“I like to buy thrift shop clothing because it’s unique and cheap. I definitely think it’s the way to buy clothes,” Schiaffo said.

She continued, “The fact that our society supports the behavior of people paying more than most make in a day of a minimum wage job for one shirt is weird to me and I don’t agree with it. I’m glad I have other options.”

Like Scionti, Schiaffo said she enjoys the hunt. “It’s really fun! I’m a weirdo that enjoys the hunt of sorting through ten-thousand grandma church dresses to find that one that I’ll hem and wear to a party next weekend,” Schiaffo said.

Schiaffo can always be found at her favorite thrift store Willow Tree Boutique over on West Street in Keene.

“The owner’s name is Willow – classic – and is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met who work in retail. She told me that she believes that clothes should be trendy and affordable. Willow takes consignment and supports local businesses as well as local people by selling local beauty products and art in her store,” Schiaffo said.

“The nineties are coming back,” Scionti said.

TIME Magazine quoted the National Association of Resale Professionals( NARP) when they said that the number of resale stores such as thrift stores and consignment shops have increased.

“They increased seven percent in each of the past two years. Goodwill now operates over 2,500 nonprofit stores in the U.S., while up-and-coming nonprofit resale stores such as Savers are flourishing: The chain has more than 270 locations and has been adding roughly twenty new stores annually,” NARP said.

Many store fronts and boutiques such as Forever 21 and Brandy Melville are trying to keep up with thrift store fashion. Forever 21 has brought back crushed velvet, which was big in the 90s.

“I certainly try to follow the new trends of fashion by trying to go find what’s the closest thing. For example, crushed velvet was big and now it’s coming back,” Scionti said.

She continued, “It’s really catching on with mainstream fashion. In the sense that designers are trying to go Urban Chic with thrifting, but they’ll mark it up.”

Kristen Schmidt who is also a KSC student, has been working for Urban Exchange in Keene for just three weeks now.

“Anyone can bring in merchandise,” Schmidt said. “But we only take designer brands.”

Urban Exchange is more selective than other stores when it comes to their merchandise. “We have items from Banana Republic, Coach and Ralph Lauren, but we don’t take things from Target or Kohl’s,” Schmidt said.

Urban Exchanges Facebook page stated why. “Our Customers want the hottest Brand Names in the latest styles! Our customers are extremely choosey, so we have to be too! Please understand that because of this, we may not be able to accept any or all of your items.”

Their different approach works for them. Schmidt said about 40 percent of their clientele are college students.

When shopping at thrift stores, you never know what you’re going to get. Both Scionti and Schiaffo said they enjoy the thrill and excitement when they shop at these types of stores.

“I really like thrifting because I like the adventure and searching through all the junk,” Scionti said.

Shelby Iava can be contacted at

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