n the weeks leading up to spring break, few things were on my mind other than the thought of coming back home to NYC. I love Ithaca, but I was excited to spend some time with my family and some of my closest friends. Towards the end of my break, I got a chance to catch up with one of my most treasured friends, Sarah. Growing up, we spent a lot of time together. However, it was in high school that we really grew close and I have been so blessed to have her as one of my best friends. When we found out that our breaks overlapped, it was basically guaranteed that we would spend time together. Sarah expressed that she really wanted to go thrift shopping so I came up with a plan and we spent the day hitting three major thrift stores on the Upper West Side.
Pros: Right upon walking in, it was very apparent that Buffalo Exchange isn’t your average thrift shop. I especially loved how everything was organized by sizes and not colors. Additionally, unlike most thrift stores, there weren’t many things that seemed to have been sitting there for five years. Everything was in good condition and there was a really nice variety of high end brands.
Cons: Because there were so many designer labels, prices were generally higher. If you’re looking to score pieces under $5, this probably isn’t the place for you. However, if you take into consideration the level of clothing quality and the brand, prices make a little more sense. If I wasn’t on a college student budget, I definitely would have purchased this $22 burgundy lace top from Topshop that was in great condition.
Finds: Although I went into the dressing room with seven things, I ended up only purchasing a black and gold Pins and Needles top for 10.50. My greatest find, however, was a stunning red Calvin Klein gown for $45. The dress was in impeccable condition and was probably worn only once or twice. Even though I had no place to wear it to, I was in love. My obsession with this dress came to a point where I was standing in the middle of the store thinking of people who had an upcoming occasion that they could wear it to. I went through a list of high school seniors who could wear it to prom, but all of them had already bought dresses. Despite my aggressive attempts (more like begging), I was unable to convince Sarah, who looked absolutely gorgeous in it, to purchase the dress. I sadly had to leave it behind.
Pro: Similarly to Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads felt very clean and looked pretty organized. Prices, however, were slightly lower. The store also put their higher end items up on their walls so that they were easier to distinguish from other items.
Con: Unlike Buffalo Exchange, clothing was not organized by sizes but by color. I’ve learned that I have a much harder time shopping this way because things don’t stick out as easily to me. Additionally, there seemed to be a large amount of clothes from Forever 21. Because Forever 21 is already generally inexpensive, I’d prefer to get new clothes from their store directly.
Finds: Sadly, Sarah and I didn’t find anything here. Overall, we both felt very indifferent about what the store was carrying and so we moved on to the next store!
Pros: Out of the three stores that we visited, Goodwill was the only one with a section for furniture and books. I love buying used books so it was nice to see that they had a decent selection. In terms of price, Goodwill also had the cheapest prices and the biggest selection.
Cons: Goodwill definitely isn’t as polished and trendy as Buffalo Exchange. Additionally, it’s also not as selective about what clothing it takes so there is a pretty huge variety in terms of quality and brands. There is definitely a good number of clothes that look like they’ve been sitting there for quite some time. However, Goodwill is perfect for anyone who loves to dig and search for gems.
Finds: Sarah was successful in her to mission to find an oversize sweater! She came out of Goodwill with one from the men’s section that will go perfectly with a pair of leggings and some boots. The best part was that it only cost her $3.
Overall, I think it was clear that Buffalo Exchange was a favorite for both Sarah and I. It had a great atmosphere and a variety of interesting things to choose from. The most heartbreaking moment of the day was having to part with the beautiful red dress. Even though it’s been over a week, I don’t think I’ve fully gotten over it. If you’re in the area, go visit Buffalo Exchange and hopefully it’ll still be there for you to buy! I know that I will definitely be coming back again in the future.Let me know in the comments below if you’ve had any recent thrift shop adventures!
I would love to hear them!