Thrift stores, we hear about them and are fascinated by them, but are they just as good as they sound?

For the most part, my clothes are passed down or I buy them. Even so, I have always come across videos and TikToks of people doing thrift shop hauls that I wanted to give thrifting a try. Thus, this weekend I decided to explore the numerous thrift shops that are not that far from the UC Berkeley campus and share my thoughts on my observations and experiences, especially as someone that hasn’t gone thrift shopping before. 

Anastasia’s Vintage:

The first shop was Anastasia’s New and Vintage Clothing, located right outside the south side of campus on Telegraph Ave. The store feels like it was from my Pinterest feed because of the super cute outfits on display. The store has both new and used clothing. The clothes are organized by decades, brands, and general categories (shirts, skirts, pants, etc.), making browsing very easy and fun! The prices for both new and used clothing are also affordable and reasonable, perfect for a college student on a budget!

Now, keep in mind that because of Covid-19 the fitting rooms are closed, you can’t try on items. However, you are able to return the items, but make sure to check out their website for the return policy. Also, when you enter the shop, you will be asked to leave your bags at the checkout area by checking them in. Lastly, if you have clothes you don’t want, the store buys used clothes for resale purposes.

Instagram: @anastasiasvintage

Mars Mercantile:

A few steps away from Anastasia’s Vintage you will find Mars Mercantile (also on Telegraph Ave). The shop is a two-story building and has a retro vibe. The women’s section is at the top and the men’s is on the bottom floor.  There is more of an equal amount of clothing for both women and men in comparison to all the other thrift shops I visited. 

I also wanted to mention that if you watched the Queen’s Gambit, it reminded me of the store Beth visits with her mother to buy new clothes with similar 1960’s decor and style. 

Similar to Anastasia, the clothing is separated by decades and each section is organized by colors which makes it easy to browse if you are looking for a specific color clothing piece. The decade pieces in my opinion seemed more unique and retro compared to Anastasia’s. Currently, the store’s fitting rooms are open and if you buy something you no longer want, you can return it.

Price-wise, there were more items that were a little more expensive, but the items were more unique and vintage. 

Instagram: @marmercantile 

2nd Street 

The third shop is 2nd Street on Telegraph, which is further away from campus. This thrift store is reminiscent of a Marshalls or Nordstrom Rack but instead, it’s a thrift shop because it carries a selection of designer clothes and non-designer clothes. The secondhand clothes are curated and the store is also organized by categories (shirts, sweaters, y2k, punk, etc.).  Out of all the thrift shops I visited, 2nd Street has the largest section of shoes and accessories. You will find more modern and street style apparel rather than vintage apparel like the previous shops.

Price-wise, it depends on the type of clothes you’re looking to buy. Obviously, designer clothes are more expensive compared to non-designer items, but cheaper than their original price. I would suppose the price ranges were from $10- $100. Also, everything is ‘final sale,’ so no returns! However, their fitting rooms are open so you can try on items and make sure they fit perfectly before purchasing.

In addition, they have an online shop where you can purchase items and have them shipped out. Also, if you have clothes you no longer want, they buy clothes, but you need to go to their website to find out which brands they accept. 

Instagram: @2ndstreetusa 

Indigo Vintage 

Along the way back to campus I noticed a small store that was also a thrift shop. Indigo vintage has a cute selection of vintage clothes that are unique and of great quality. The atmosphere is funky and fun. Also, the employees were super friendly! 

I actually bought something from here, a pair of vintage Levi Bermuda shorts (and I was tempted to buy more sweaters that I do not need). Also, I think it was easier and more comfortable to shop here because I wasn’t overwhelmed with numerous sections of clothing. I would say the clothing styles I saw were mainly Y2K and retro street styles. Also, their fitting rooms were open and I am not sure what their return policy is but it’s great that you are able to try on the clothes before purchasing.

Compared to the other thrift store the prices were on the high side, but it is justified by the curated unique and good condition of the pieces. The prices you should expect are similar to the prices you find at Urban Outfitters. So if you have money to splurge, then this would be your place. Also, the clothes are from local vintage curators and independent designers! 

Instagram: @indigovtg 

Crossroads Trading 

My final stop was supposed to be crossroads trading, but unfortunately, I didn’t have sufficient time to go. However, I nevertheless wanted to mention it as it is another option that you can check out! 

Here is the website to learn more about the store and selling and buying process!

Soso Market

Recently Soso Market opened but because my thrifting visits happened prior to the grand opening, I couldn’t visit it. However, I wanted to mention it as it is closer to the south side of the UC Berkeley campus and it is well-known for gathering vintage items from small businesses. 

Instagram: @thesosomarket 

Although I only thrifted one item because it was my first time and I wasn’t sure what I was looking to buy, it was an amazing experience! I am certain I will be back at some of these stores soon and I hope you have the chance to stop by and support some of these local small businesses.

Lastly, I made a vlog on TikTok showing each thrift shop I visited to provide a more visual experience! Check out the TikTok of my experiences at @hercampusberkeley

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