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Mia Steben

Although the Bellis Fair Mall is a tempting place to shop, thrift stores are not only a cheaper alternative but one that can result in some great looks, as well. Thrift shopping can also help the community and recycle clothing.

For a majority of college students, finding extra cash to spend on clothing can be difficult, but that’s when secondhand stores come in. Thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill can provide better deals and brand names for students, plus shopping locally also brings money back into the local economy.

A $20 bill might not get you much at a department store, but at a thrift store in Bellingham that bill can buy an entire outfit.

Following the budget, each person chose an outfit that fit their personal style--and wallet.


Sophomore Laura Martin  is wearing an American Eagle dress and a Victoria’s Secret satchel. At Buffalo Exchange, the dress cost $8.50 and the bag cost $12.

Totaling $20.50 without tax, the outfit was ever-so-slightly over budget. However, Martin said she was fine with that.

“It was a nice material, decent price and you could pair it with anything,” Martin said.

Buffalo Exchange had a quick turnover from winter to spring items, showcasing many springy dresses and lighter colors.

“It was bit of a treasure hunt. It was quite fun,” Martin said. “If you’re looking for your own unique style, thrift shopping is the way to go.”

Sophomore Kaili Laakso found a pair of comfy kick-back jeans and a Hawaiian t-shirt, a casual spring look.

Excluding tax, Laasko paid $20 total for both items. She said she loved the top and bought it for an upcoming event.

“I’m going to wear it for a concert,” Laasko said. “I saw some of those shirts in Forever 21, like that style, for $20-$30, and I found that for like $10.”

After spending time in both thrift shops, both Western students were satisfied and excited about their findings.

Both Western students were surprised and excited about their findings

“At first I was a little unsure because I wasn’t really into thrift shopping,” Laasko said. “I don’t really like using used items, but I was actually pretty surprised [with] what I found.”


Laura’s simple outfit of a white T-shirt and back shorts cost a low of $2.99 and $2.99. Martin said, “I like the shirt because it was a nice quality and thick material. It was casual but wasn’t torn apart or worn out. ”It wasn’t an extravagant look, but for just one for walking around campus kind of day.”

Kaili is wearing a bomber jacket, black cropped t-shirt, and high-waisted jeans, totaling to be around $18.97 without tax. In fact, Kali also went and bought the pants. Laakso was excited about her purchase. She said, “They felt like they were pretty brand new, they didn’t seem very wore.” They were well-maintained Ralph Lauren blue jeans, which retail over $50 or more.  Goodwill was also gearing up for the springtime with a huge selection of shorts and T-shirts.

Both Western students were surprised and excited about their findings. Laakso said, “At first I was little unsure because I wasn’t really into thrift shopping. I don’t really like using used items, but I was actually pretty surprised what I found.”

Laura Martin's new sundress was only $8.50 at Buffalo Exchange // Photo by Mia Steben
Kaili Laasko's new floral shirt is perfect for spring // Photo by Mia Steben
Laura Martin rocks her new white tee and shorts from Goodwill // Photo by Mia Steben
Kaili Laasko poses in her bomber jacket and jeans // Photo by Mia Steben

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