Long before Macklemore started popping tags in 2012 and hipsters emerged in recycled ’90s plaid, thrift stores were a must for anyone searching for good deals and the potential for big buys on a budget. While the University is not the first place that comes to mind when looking for a good secondhand find, there are three consignment stores within walking distance from campus. Senior Writer Margot Yale took her artistic flair and penchant for discount fashion to Nearly New, Greene Street Consignment and Jane Consignment to get a feel for each store and determine what she could buy with a budget of $20.
Located farther down Nassau Street, Nearly New is a bit of a hike. I found myself passing Hoagie Haven and following a series of signs into a parking lot. Needless to say, I was skeptical. A poorly marked door on the side of the building and a creaky staircase led me to the shop on the second floor. Once I stepped in, however, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. My first thought was that Nearly New was an excellent place to throw together a last minute Princetoween costume. The store was fairly small but stuffed with racks of clothing lining the walls and creating makeshift aisles in the cramped space. The clothes themselves were all fairly reasonably priced. Most items were priced between $5-20 and many items were 50 percent off. A con to the vast array of clothes was that shopping took some digging through shoulder-padded garb and other outdated attire. Committed to my mission, I persevered and was rewarded with two patterned discoveries. For $21 total (oops, I went a dollar over), I selected a long-sleeved, silky floral blouse from J. Crew for $12 and a fun, patterned black and white blazer for $9.
Pros: Reasonable pricing, wide variety ideal for theme pieces.
Cons: Closed on Sunday, $20 minimum on credit card purchases, some outdated pieces.
Thriftiness: 4 out of 5 tags.
Greene Street Consignment
Greene Street’s store windows featured outfits befitting the oncoming fall season. After my time in Nearly New, Greene Street seemed to belong to an entirely different category of clothing store. It presents itself with a more boutique feel, which is paired with more of a boutique price. Most items on the first floor started at about $25 and prices climbed from there. Although many of the pieces were nice, they did not seem to be worth the money, as I was in a bargain state of mind. I headed toward the stairs and began the climb to the second floor — the clearance section. I was relieved to discover a treasure trove of more reasonable prices. Sorting through the clearance racks was certainly a hit-or-miss endeavor. I found a stained gray cowl-neck velour Juicy Couture dress still priced at $17.50 amid some other slightly damaged pieces. After some scavenging, I decided on a long-sleeved lacy peplum top marked down from $28.95 to $10 and a chiffon shirt with an abstract chevron pattern on sale for $10 from $26.95.
Pros: Neater organization of clothes, respectable clearance section.
Cons: Higher prices, clearance section takes some perseverance.
Thriftiness: 3.5 out of 5 tags.
The phrase "reuse, rethink, revitalize" lines the awning of Jane Consignment, which is located next to Tico’s Eatery and Juice Bar on Spring St. Upon opening the door, I was greeted by the waft of a scented candle and carefully arranged displays. Although it was a nice touch and contributed to a luxurious but still bohemian ambiance, it indicated that I was, once again, in a boutique and not a thrift store. If the prices at Greene Street were bad, the prices at Jane were outrageous. The clothing selection was more limited than at Nearly New and Greene Street and was housed in two smaller rooms in the back. The shirts and sweaters in the back room were on average $40 and up. The shoe section was filled with heavily worn, expensive shoes. Even the discounted rack was relatively pricey—most items were $30 and above. I wandered back to the front of the store, which features Princeton-themed stationary, jewelry and scented candles. They were selling a small, vintage Princeton pennant no bigger than the size of my fist for $15. I decided this purchase was not an acceptable allocation of the majority of my $20 dollar budget. I left Jane with nothing but the scent of lavender lingering on my clothes.
Pros: Stylish boutique selection and appearance, “one of a kind” and nostalgic Princeton items.
Cons: Pricey, narrow selection.
Thriftiness: 2 out of 5 tags.