How Thrifting In Ohio Got Me Through College

my life in vintage clothing

Photo by Eve Peyser.

I grew up in Manhattan, one of the fashion capitals of the world, but believe it or not, the best shopping I’ve ever done happened in Ohio, where I went to college.

New York is great for a million and a half reasons, but one thing we lack is good thrift shops. Of course, there are tons of well-curated (and thus very marked-up) vintage clothes for sale at boutiques, but the beauty of going to school in Ohio was that I could walk into a warehouse-sized thrift shop and find the most wonderful and weird pieces of clothing—things I couldn’t even imagine I wanted. There was the additional bonus that any given piece was seldom over $10, and in fact, most were below $5.

I didn’t have the easiest time at school, struggling with depression and a host of substance abuse issues in a toxic social climate, but I treasured the time I spent at those thrift shops. Getting away from the stress and drama of campus and having fun playing dress up was the best escape.

I like Midwestern thrift shops. The way they’re organized and priced is a great equalizer. You can find an '80s Calvin Klein peacoat next to a beat up Old Navy jacket from 2003, and they both cost $8. Going to the stores is tiring and fun—picking through a mess of trash to find the weirdest treasures. Ahead are the things I dug out of the piles, and how they got me through that rough period of time.